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There has been resurgence recently in the popularity of ballroom dancing.  I am interested in this as I myself did ballroom dancing from the age of 3.  When I started dancing the dresses were made of satin with layers of net underneath.  In fact there were so many layers of net that the dresses flared out at right angles from the waist.  The styling of the hair was equally important.  The trend was for long hair styled into elaborate upswept designs with tiaras and diamante shimmering.

Everything continued much the same until just after I had turned 10.  My hair like all of my dancing contempories was long.  In fact I could sit on it.  However, my Mother hated it and used to constantly say it would be better if it was short.  At the next competition we went to there was a surprise as one of the girls had had her long hair cut short.  It suited her.  Within a few months several girls had copied the style.  My Mother had even spoken to my partner’s Mother about it, but was advised against getting my hair cut as it would not suit me.  My partner’s Mother thought the conversation had ended the discussion, but this was not so.  My Mother was determined to get my hair cut.

To this end one Friday she rang and arranged an appointment for the following Tuesday afternoon once school was over for the day.  At this point I was unaware of what was going to happen.

Tuesday morning Mother said I must hurry home from school that evening as I was to go out with her.  Accordingly, I hurried home from school to find Mother waiting alone as my sister had been palmed off to friends.

We left the house and travelled by bus to the next town, getting of at a parade of shops outside the town centre.  The parade curved round and we headed towards the far end.  I suddenly stopped as the final shop was a seedy hairdressing salon.  My Mother turned towards me and said, “You are getting it cut”.  “No”, I replied.  My Mother grabbed my arm and before I knew it I was inside the salon and my Mother had unzipped and removed my anorak. “Tracy has an appointment”.

“I am ready for Tracy now. Come here please”.  This was said by a woman in her 50’s.  Mother pushed me towards her.  The woman took a large flowery plastic drape and closed it tight around my neck ensuring my ponytail was free.  I was then taken to the basin and made to kneel forward with my head over the basin.  A towel was placed around my neck and the ponytail band removed and thrown in a bin.  My hair was washed and within minutes I was being transferred to the cutting station.

The chair faced a large mirror and in its reflection another mirror on the opposite wall was visible.  Across the arms of the chair was a wooden plank and I was instructed to climb up onto it.  I reluctantly did so knowing that to disobey would be futile and only make my Mother worse.

The woman placed a shaving collar around my neck and then briskly towelled my hair. She then ran a comb through its length until it lay neatly down my back.  She then turned to Mother and asked, “How short are we cutting it?”

Mother rose and came over.  She put her hand high on my head. “Below or above the ears?” “Above”, and she smirked at me in the mirror.  

I cried out, “No! I don’t want it cut!”

“You will have it cut! I am the parent here and I want it cut short NOW!”

The woman picked up 2 clips and quickly sectioned off my hair with clips so that the first section at the back was ready.  She then leaned past me and picked a pair of scissors.

The next thing was I felt a steely coldness against my head and then a loud `SNIP’.  The first of hair had been cut.  Before long all my hair had been cut short.  By now I was crying.

The collar was removed and I was moved back to the wash basin and again made to kneel so my head was over the basin.  My shorn hair was washed and conditioned this time.  Then it was back to the chair for the cut to be shaped.  Again the scissors attacked my hair and when I thought it was nearly finished I was horrified to hear my Mother say it was still too long.

The woman said she would have to use the clippers to cut it shorter and my Mother said that that it would be perfect.  The clippers ran quickly over my head and nape until I could see that I had a crew-cut.

Mother was delighted and whilst she paid and tipped the woman I put on my anorak and pulled up the hood.  Having put her own coat on she pulled the hood down on my anorak and then pushed me out of the salon.  

Once home I cried in my Father’s arms.  He was disgusted at what Mother had done, but she was unrepentant.  

The next day at school I stood in the playground with the anorak’s hood up.  <y dancing partner came over and ask to see the haircut as his Mother had told him that I had had it cut.  I said,” No”.  However he leant over and yanked it off my head.  He gasped and said, “You look like a boy”.  My humiliation was complete.

My Mother had to buy a wig for me to wear for dancing, but everyone knew I had a boy’s cut underneath it.  Every 6 weeks I had to go back to the same salon and get the crew-cut renewed.  So every 6 weeks I was humiliated again.

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