Nearly 800 new members of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, who arrived on campus Wednesday, were escorted by upperclassmen Friday to barbershops around town, where they received their first "fish cut."
"I've seen lots come and go. It's ... nice, especially when our upperclassmen always come in and they bring their fish. It's like a reward," said Sue Casares, who has worked at the Northgate Barbershop for 17 years and has been owner and operator since 2016. "We get to see the new guys come in as fish and then come in as upperclassmen later with their freshmen. Being here as long as I have, I have seen a lot of them go away and come back. It's always sad to see them go, but they always come back."
The male cadets are given the smallest amount of leeway on the length of their hair, and most of the freshmen get their hair cut at least once a week. The official standard for freshmen is fuzz in the space above their ears and a maximum of quarter-inch long hair on the top.
All 44 outfits in the Corps took freshmen who were not otherwise occupied on a trip to get their cuts together, scheduling their appointments in hourlong blocks. At Northgate Barbershop, the stylists gather the outfits out front to take before-and-after photos and still manage to get each unit in and out of the shop within 30 minutes.
"I give credit to my crew," Casares noted between appointments. "Some have been here for a short while, but a lot of them have been here for a long time and know exactly what to do."