This is a true story about my first ever haircut, when I became a teenager. It is quite a “long” story about a big event that happened all the way back in 1966. I am now 67 years old and I still remember every moment of that day in early September. From the day I was born, (June 29, 1953) I have never had my hair cut until I turned 13. As I got older, my hair grew longer and longer. In grade 1, it was half way down my back. By grade 4, it was waist length. In grade 6, it was down to my bum. All the while, I wore it in a single pigtail, down my back. By the time I was 13 in the summer of 1966, my dark brown hair (Almost black) was very long, and in a single braid most of the time. I never wore bangs and my hair was parted in the middle. This, along with my being taller than most of the girls in my class, made me stand out. (Along with my big nose!) When I turned 13 in 1966 and was about to enter high school, I told my parents I wanted to have my hair cut short. I didn’t want to look like a little kid, especially at my height! (I was just over 5′ 4″) My mother didn’t want me to do it, because she thought it was so beautiful. (Mom always had waist-length hair and also wore it in a pigtail) Right up until that time, she would brush and braid my long hair to get me ready for school the night before. This went on twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays like clockwork, just before my bedtime. I would wash and dry my hair and put it in a ponytail. My mother would remove the elastic and start brushing. She so loved doing this, as well as brushing and braiding her own hair. Sometimes when I came home from school, I would love to stand in front of the mirror in my room, undo my single braid of long, dark hair and brush it from top to bottom. Then I would put it into a ponytail before I went out to play with my friends.
All of my closest girl friends had their haircuts before I did. Nicole had her virgin hair clipped during the school year. Rita had her pigtails cut off soon after. Julie got her bright, bum length red hair cut short in May, while on vacation in Europe. That left Betty, my friend next door, and me. I liked Betty because we had one thing in common, besides long hair. We both had big noses! Betty’s turn for “The Big Snip”, as she called it, was at the end of the school year, a day after her 13th birthday. That’s a story in itself! Now I was the only one of our group left with long hair. I held out through the summer, all the while badgering my parents to cut my hair.
So after much persistence on my part, mom finally (And reluctantly) gave in and made an appointment at the Topaz beauty salon for Friday of next week. That was the big day, Friday September 2, 1966. The next day, I told my cousin Robbie about it and he looked at me with consternation on his face. I told my friends what I was going to do and soon, word spread very quickly around the neigbourhood: Karla Liebrandt was getting her hair cut! This was big news all around our block. The two British twin brothers in my class, Paul and Terry Martin, were telling everyone that “Karla is having her plait clipped.” Some of my girl friends were shocked when they heard the news. Most of them knew me from grade one, so they always saw me with long hair. Some of the guys who used to yank my pigtail for fun would soon have to look elsewhere. Even the people who didn’t know me were talking about it. They would inquire “Who is Karla Liebrandt?” The response was usually “You know, tall, skinny girl, big nose. Always wears her hair in a braid.” Everywhere I went, the shopping mall, the grocery store, even at the Sunday church service, folks were asking me if it was true. Was I really going to have my hair cut? The reaction was quite mixed. Some were surprised and a little sad, still others were saying it was about time and overdue. About a dozen ot my classmates and close friends wanted to know when and where, so they could witness the big event. I told them on September 2 at 1.30, at the Topaz beauty salon. They marked it on their calendars. My friend next door wrote the word “Karla” on her parents’ calendar, under September 2nd. When they asked her why, she said: “Oh, that’s the day she’s getting her hair cut.” While she wasn’t in favour of it, she wanted to see it happen. Her mom and dad were on the “Overdue” side. I also invited my cousin Robbie to come and watch me have my hair cut, because I wanted to see how he would react. Allow me to explain the reaction part.
Two weeks before my appointment with the scissors, My aunt and uncle were over for one of their Sunday visits with my cousin. My brother Eric was at a girlfriend’s house. Robbie was 12, a year younger than I and still in primary school. We were always good friends. So after supper was cleared and the dishes done, I took my bath, washed and dried my hair. I put my hair in a ponytail as always for my mother. Everyone was in the living room watching Ed Sullivan when I walked in. I was wearing my pj’s. My mom was waiting for me, sitting on the couch, brush in hand as usual. My cousin Robbie sat to my mom’s left, and I was standing in front of her. My parents knew I wanted to have my hair cut, but they never told anyone, because it was not decided yet. As she so often did, my mom gets me ready for school the next day. When my hair was in a braid, it reached down to my bum. I could almost sit on it. But now, because my hair was unbraided and in a ponytail, it was about six inches above my knees. My hair was fairly thick, but as it flowed down, it got thinner. As I turned my back towards my mom, I noticed Robbie looking over at this, so I smiled and winked at him. He had never seen me in anything but a pigtail before, and now my cousin was staring in wide-eyed wonderment at what was a very long ponytail. Mom pulls off the elastic band holding my hair, and it springs loose. She starts brushing my long, dark brown hair, reaching up to the top of my head, where my hair parted in the middle and slowly brushing down my back, past my bum and down to the end, all the while extolling the virtues of my lengthy tresses to my awestruck male cousin. And not just passively, either. She was being a real TEASE! My mom was laying it on! I can still remember what she said to him: “Oh Karla, I think your cousin is watching me brush your hair. It’s nice and long, isn’t it? Look Robbie, doesn’t your cousin Karla have such nice, long, beautiful hair? Nice and long. Have you ever seen such long hair? Bet you never saw hair this long before. Yes, Karla has such long, long hair! Look at all that long, long hair! Don’t you just love Karla’s long, long hair?” (Emphasizing the word “Long” each time, as she slowly pulled the bush downward) I was giggling as I looked over and noticed that Robbie’s pants were literally bulging, and he couldn’t take his eyes off me! I knew he was getting what we call a “Stiffy”. He never saw me with my hair like this, and it was arousing him to no end! I mean, he was pulling a rod! Then mom took my long hair and braided it into a single pigtail. As mom was braiding my hair, I looked over again and blew him a kiss as he was still staring at me. After mom was finished, I sat down next to Robbie and kissed his cheek. Oh wow, was he blushing! Both my dad and his were having a good laugh over this, while the two mothers looked at each other and smiled. To think I had actually aroused someone at my young age! When they left to go home that night, I noticed Robbie was doing his version of the “Blue balls scuttle”. I wondered what he did when he got home? That night, I went to bed with a smile on my face and slept like a log.
That’s why I wanted him to witness my big snip. Finally the big day was at hand. On the Friday morning of September 2, I washed and dried my hair. As I was standing in front of my dresser mirror, brushing my lengthy tresses for the last time, I decided that I would wear my hair up for the big event. So I braided my hair, then twisted it around the top of my head and inserted a big clip (My mother’s) to hold it in place. This was the first time ever that I had worn my hair up. I was now ready for my date with destiny. When my mom saw me, she was surprised to see me with my hair up and asked me why. I told her I was doing this so I could tease Robbie on purpose. She gave me a stern look, as if to say: “You’re not being nice.” After lunch, my mother, cousin and my friend Betty from next door got into the family station wagon and we drove to the shopping mall. My father and brother stayed behind. When we arrived, it was quite a sight! There were at least a dozen of my friends, mostly girls, waiting outside the salon. They were there to witness the huge occasion, to watch me have my hair cut. Before we went in, me my mom asked me if I really wanted to go through with it. There was a sad, almost pleading look in her eyes, as if to say “Please don’t do this, dear.” With just the slightest bit of apprehension in my voice, I told her yes I did. The four of us walked into the salon, followed by all of my friends. There were six chairs in the place and all were occupied. We sat down and waited for my turn, which took about ten minutes. My mother was holding my hand as we waited. On the other side of me, my cousin Robbie was playfully pulling my at my upturned pigtail and as he did, I looked at him in bewilderment. He had a subdued expression on his face. My friends were standing near us in a close group. The hairdresser looked around and called my name, “Karla?” This was it, the big moment. I kissed my mother, then Robbie, got up and unhurriedly walked towards the chair. The hairdresser (Her name tag said Rina) asked me what I wished to have done. I told her “I want to have my hair cut short.” She nodded her head and told me to sit down. Everyone in the salon was watching me, my mother, my cousin, my friends. Even the employees and customers were looking my way! So I got in the chair and the hairdresser caped me. She placed her scissors, comb and brush on a tray beside me. As I stared in the mirror, I was thinking to myself: “It won’t be long now. And soon, neither will my hair.” The lady hairdresser was about in her forties, had short hair and she looked like a Roller Derby queen. When she removed the huge clip, my extra long braided hair tumbled down past my shoulders and on to the back of the chair. After being momentarily surprised, she undid the braid and briefly brushed my hair, first holding the middle of my long mane in a ponytail and brushing the lower part. Then she brushed the upper half, from the top of my head, and went all the way down to the end, getting me ready. As she was brushing it, she said: “You have very long hair. Is this your first time?” I told her yes. When I looked in the mirror, I was a little nervous at first, thinking that this will be the last time my hair touches my back. And I was especially nervous when the hairdresser asked me if I really wanted to do this. But when I saw my cousin in the mirror, I smiled at him and told her yes, I was willing. Again, Robbie was staring at me in wide-eyed wonderment, just like the first time. The hairdresser took my lengthy hair and made it into a ponytail, then put the elastic on. This took quite a while, because it was a big rubber band, so she kept twirling my hair over and over until it was on real high and tight. When she slid the elastic a little bit downward to the nape of my neck, I realized right then and there that it was time. As Betty had told me, this was going to be “The Big Snip”.
My heart started to beat faster as she took out her scissors and asked me if I was ready. I said I was. She grabbed my ponytail below the elastic and pulled it hard enough that my head jerked back slightly. She was a little on the rough side, I thought. I looked skyward and closed my eyes, as my heart was racing. Just a split second before the scissors touched my hair, my mother said “Stop!” I was so startled that I jumped in the chair and my head snapped back, because the hairdresser was still holding my ponytail in her grip. Mother asked me if she could braid my hair for one more time before I had it cut off. I said yes and the hairdresser removed the elastic and undid my ponytail. My mother brushed my long hair very slowly, for what seemed like hours. It was more like five minutes, or so. Then she lovingly braided it, as she so often did those nights before school. She had a sad look on her face as she did, while Robbie had his hands crossed just below his tummy. I knew darn well he was getting another “Stiffy” over this, and I was thoroughly enjoying it. The hairdresser had also noticed this and she did something really mean. After my mother was finished braiding my hair for the last time, the hairdresser grabbed her scissors, took my pigtail in her left hand and as she did, I tilted my head back, my eyes looking at the ceiling, my big nose up in the air. My heart was pounding as I was thinking to myself: “Oh my, this is it! She’s going to cut off my long hair!” She held my braided hair slightly outward and proceeded to shear off my extra long pigtail in a very slow and deliberate manner, just to tease Robbie! I’m sure his heart was beating as hard as mine was! She had such a grip on my pigtail that my head was moving back and forth every time she used the scissors! I felt as if the hairdresser was cutting my hair in slow motion. The dull, crunching sound of the sharp steel scissors cutting into my long, beautiful hair was frightening. My heart was beating even faster with each clip of the scissors! It took at least 20 snips to cut it off, each time my head was moving back and forth. This was accompanied by collective “Ooohs” and “Ahhhs” from my assembled classmates and friends. When it was all over, they applauded in unison. It was the longest (Pardon the pun) moment of my life! She must have taken at least a minute to do the deed. In a way, I was actually aroused while the hairdresser was ever so slowly cutting off my long, virgin hair for the first time. As my head was still tilted up, I breathed an expanded sigh of relief and lowered my eyes to look at Robbie in the mirror and I smiled, while my mom was crying. It was all over in a matter of minutes. The transformation was complete. I went from very long, almost knee-length hair to short, in just a few moments. I knew it was what I wanted, however I still felt a little twinge of regret when I saw what was once my very long hair on the counter, in a braid. Would you believe my mother kept that braid of hair until she died in 2014? In fact, she kept my room the way it was, even after I had moved out. (She turned Eric’s into a dining room after he left home to get married) Guess what? To this day, I have no idea where the darned thing went! After she died, I looked all over the house, but never found it. Maybe she gave it to Robbie before she passed on.
So there you have it, the true story of my first ever haircut. As you can see, it was quite an exhilarating event, one that will always stay with me. I’m sure a lot of girls went through this experience at least once in their lives. (And even some guys) If I had to do it all over again, I would. Only I would tell my mom to take a movie of it, so I could have shown my classmates and friends. Funny, but none of us thought about it then. She probably couldn’t hold the camera straight, because she was quite emotional, having to watch her daughter getting her long hair cut off. It would have been great if there was a movie of my haircut to watch today. It would have been terrific to show my current friends. Oh well, at least I still have the memories.