The hairdressing salon was tucked away at the back of a dingy shopping arcade, or perhaps it was a bus station. The room was narrow and low and crowded with people. Staff and customers alike were all middle-aged and overweight.

The receptionist sat at a desk by the door, a large-format appointments book open in front of her. She told me the hairdresser was planning to cut layers into my hair, which sounded just awful.

I explained to her – and then again to the hairdresser when he came over, a short balding man with a North Yorkshire accent – that I knew I should cut my hair, and I indicated a length just above my shoulders. I should do it because it would be practical, and good for the hair, and it would look better too. But, I added, apart from trimming the ends I hadn’t cut my hair in 20 years, up until last week it had been long enough to sit on, and I found the idea of cutting it all off completely terrifying.

Wow, said the hairdresser. I never knew being a father would be this hard.

Take a peek behind the veil.

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