We moved quickly single file into the small wooden building where three middle-aged “barbers”, all civilians, from the looks of them, were administering “haircuts” to the new Defenders of The Constitution.
There were no soft green or red leather chairs with chrome armrests to sit in, no newspapers, or men’s magazines, or comic books to read while waiting. Absent were the little metallic snipping sounds of scissors, and the soft electric hum of clippers being applied gently to the back of someone’s neck. No friendly hello or polite conversation, no hot soapy lather applied with two fingers. No careful shaving with a straight razor around one’s ears, or on the back of one’s neck. No one applied talcum powder or after shave lotion, and no one dusted anyone off afterward with a soft brush. There was no sweeping flourish of any white sheet through the air as one dismounted the barber chair and no dramatic whip-like popping of said sheet, afterward, to remove the freshly-trimmed hair and summon the next king or prince to his manly throne….”
What there was, was a rough 30-second shearing-off of whatever hair was on one’s head– which started in the front– and proceeded very deliberately, straight to the back of one’s neck– and in six or seven passes you were done.
While I stood there waiting my turn, I watched in fascination, as the guy in front of me– a young man with long, curly “hippie-style” red hair was rudely shorn like a sheep– and his beautiful auburn locks dropped to the floor and were promptly stepped on by the “barber”, as he moved around the chair doing his awful work. Suddenly, it was my turn. I had followed a friend’s advice and gotten a haircut the previous day, so in my case, mercifully, it was over soon. I stood back up and went outside into the cool air. My scalp was bleeding in a couple of places. I thought,
“Great! I’ve been in the army for less than an hour and I’ve already shed blood for my country.”