Hand on hip, the elfin creature regarded me sympathetically through the mirror. "Sir would prefer something a little more roguish, perhaps?" Well, no, actually. Sir would prefer the usual short back and sides with a background free of loud metronomic rhythm.
The mind flashed back to school days, when absence of a side parting was a sending home offence. Mother would accept the decision with resigned patience and reached for the pot of Brylcreme. Was Denis Compton plagued with small flies? Did it drip down the back of his neck on hot days? What did he have to smile about -- apart from appearances for England at both football and cricket; an income from adverts in Reynolds News?
Items of furniture incorporated little squares of cloth on their backs, to soak up hair preparation in an attempt to protect from the inevitable and subsequent smear. Hair that was more easily controlled could be laced with Brilliantine, but this was considered rather risqué and exuded an aroma which would linger on the number 20 bus for days. Users of Brilliantine also tended to use cigarette holders and have buckteeth.
Return to school involved the cap being peeled off for inspection by the Headmaster. "Always remember, boy, the Empire was built on standards". Briefly I considered all those lumberjacks and sheep shearers, toiling in the sun with their short back and sides; copious levels of Brylcreme.
We lost the Empire.