top of page

Cheese slices

The barbers that we go to in town charge £3.50 per haircut (I know, cheap right?) and do a satisfactory job for the ridiculous 1980 price tag.

But they’re restricted to the one style, which is essentially a WW1 soldier’s short back and sides with a side parting and a tidy little shaved line to assist with parting-location. Actually they also once did a rather special short front and longer back buzz-cut on Lyall, but we don’t tend to talk about that.

The vintage style looks adorable on Richard, whose hair naturally falls to one side with a nice shine. Lyall on the other hand boasts what we affectionately describe as a shoe brush on his head; upward spiked thick blonde hair which can only be tamed by 1990s special wet-look gel or a vigorous salt-spray hair drying regime that we can only be arsed with for special occasions.

Speaking of wet-look gel, my friend Sue once told me an excellent anecdote about her grandma who inadvertently bought a tub of wet-look gel, thinking it was a modern configuration of gelatine and made a disgusting bitter aqua-blue trifle for her WI group with it.

It was our monthly haircut day yesterday (I say ‘our’ meaning just the boys obviously as I have zero hair). I decided that it was time to upgrade Lyall’s hair with an expensive proper hairstyle courtesy of the trendy barbers in town. It’s where all the boys’ favourite footballers have their show-pony manes done and they charge a princely £20 for the privilege of the latest London style. If anyone can tame Lyall’s mane, it’s them I thought.

Googling ‘men’s 2017 short hairstyles’ before we set off, Lyall asked me for every mohican and swirly tram-lined style possible, poking his grubby finger onto my laptop screen with every inappropriate search result. “Get your greasy fingers off my screen, babe”, I said before eventually settling on this beauty of a hairstyle picture. I swiftly saved and Whatsapped it to myself for reference later. “He’s got kind of shoe brush hair” I thought, smirking to myself.

At the trendy city suburb barbers with Richard and Lyall, we were treated to full-blast Craig David while waiting for 25 minutes for our delayed appointment. Naturally I felt extremely old (and more conscious than usual about my pasty bald bonce), watching three handsome twenty-somethings having their hair meticulously trimmed by three preened, muscly barbers in matching stripy t-shirts. Their customer’s new styles looked very similar to the usual £3.50 WW1 cut that we usually get, I thought.

After a delicious snack of a cracker biscuit and a cheese slice each it was time for Lyall to take his throne in front of the mirror closest to the waiting settee. As Lyall took his seat, I stood up only to realise that we had collectively left an extensive sprinkling of cracker biscuit crumbs all over their black velvet settee and black carpet and with horror I noticed a cheese slice stuck to the arm of the settee where Richard had been sitting. I mean, who the hell chooses a black carpet and black velvet settee in a barbers’ shop anyway? The ‘no food or drink’ sign on the coffee table had been obscured by a pile of trendy magazines.

Before I had a chance to attempt a futile clear up, one of the young barbers appeared from the office behind us with a handheld Dyson and cleared up around us. I muttered a half-hearted embarrassed apology and moved quickly over to stand behind Lyall, now sat up high in a barbers’ chair, sporting a huge black robe that engulfed him completely, leaving only his grinning little head poking out the top.

Finding the picture of the shoe brush haired model on my Whatsapp, I showed the barber, who, looking confused, took my phone and called across to his two colleagues. The three of them gathered around the phone. They tutted and shook their heads and one of them put his hand on his chin as though he was considering something complex.

“Right!” said the chin one, swiftly moving over to take the place of Lyall’s original barber. He stood behind Lyall and measured the sides of Lyall’s head with his hands flat on either side of Lyall’s ears. I looked up at the now worried looking Lyall in the mirror and put the palm of my hands up – the universal gesture for ‘who knows’.

Using only scissors and a very sharp old-fashioned razor blade, Lyall’s hair was precisely and meticulously trimmed into the style of the photo. It took 45 minutes, during which time Lyall sat still and cheerfully discussed the benefits of waiting a year to buy a copy of the latest Fifa Playstation game after its release.

The resulting hairstyle was a marvellous success, with the impressed barber snapping photos of Lyall’s new do for the business’ Instagram account.

Walking down the street back towards the bus stop, we walked past a ladies’ hairdressers with a lady having her highlights done by the window, her hair layered with square metallic sheets.

“Why’s that lady got cheese slices in her hair?” asked Richard. “That’s how ladies have their hair cheesed, babe.” I replied, to a look of mesmerised awe from Richard.

Here’s an excellent illustration of Lyall’s new style, by Richard.


bottom of page