1 week, 5 days ago

How I ended Freshers Week with the worst haircut on campus...

I wasn't always the guerrilla mercenary on crack that my passport photo suggests. Before it happened, I would have told you how something that ridiculous could never possibly happen to me. So find a comfortable seat as I take you through every painful step of my journey from luscious locks to bordering on bald...

Full disclosure: this happened in Freshers Week but was in fact in my second year - if you think that makes it less embarrassing, think again. Had I been a First Year, this could have been the quirky act of personal rebellion that cemented my position as the slightly edgy, unpredictable one that everyone secretly admires. In reality, it was seen by all my friends as nothing more nor less than what it was: an act of pure stupidity and bad fortune.

In my first year of Uni, I was the proud owner of a particularly full head of hair, fashioned into what was affectionately known as 'the flop'. By second year it had grown out into something of a fringe-heavy mullet-esque mess. It may sound ridiculous (and it was), but I'll tell you one thing: if there was anyone in my circle of friends who could headbang effectively, it was me.

As I started my second year, I took on the role of Head Coach for the Kayaking society. This made me quite a figurehead personality, particularly among the new Freshers entering the club. Specifically, it meant that I was the person to organise the two weekly pool sessions.

On this particular week, under slight pressure from my (more conservative) housemates, I had been persuaded that it was finally time to grow up and cut off the mess. "You're 21 now, Matt," was the refrain. Bowing to the truth of this statement, I made mistake number one: I decided to save myself some cash and act as my own hairdresser.

Proceeding rapidly from mistake one to mistakes two, three and four, I then asked a friend if I could borrow his hair clippers to complete the task, which I decided would be done on that very Wednesday evening, directly before I went to the first Freshers taster session at the pool...

These hair clippers, as I found out after the event, were, in reality, beard-trimmers - not at all up to the task of taming the mane I was sporting. So there I was at 7.30pm on a Wednesday, with an hour to go before the pool.

The clippers had been on charge all day, but unbeknownst to me (my friend had neglected to tell me), they did not hold charge very well at all. I began by shaving the sides of my head. Only a few strokes in did I realise the inadequacy of the clippers - these poor shears weren't made for the task of tackling so thick and untamed a mass of hair. Every other trim, I had to remove the spacer and clear the hair jamming the blades.

My progress was pitifully slow. After 15 minutes, however, I was entirely shaven on the right side and made a start on the left. Here, the power-deficiency of the clippers began to become apparent. They continued to make gradual inroads on my locks, until eventually, with a spluttering cough of indignation, they abandoned the task and died.

With half an hour until the pool session, of which 20 minutes would be required to get there, I knew the battle was lost. From the mirror staring back, my reflection told me that I was a laughing stock. But there was nothing to be done about it.

Sure enough, the conversation of the evening revolved almost exclusively around my disastrous hair-do. I'm certain that several Freshers never returned to kayaking purely on the basis of my looks. Several others, however, (including, to my eternal gratitude, my current housemates) cite my unique styling as a significant reason for their remaining.

What's your embarrassing Freshers story? Share it in the comments below.

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