Hi guys,

I need an explanation of the next situation. Context: Military hair-dresser is cutting hairs of the girl who was just admitted to the military school. She was the first girl admitted to that school after 162 years. Commandant of that school is watching it and he's not satisfied with the lenght of her hairs....

Commandant : Major, it is still too long.
Major(hair-dresser): How short do you want it, Commandant ?
Commandant : I have no idea. She still looks like a girl.
Major: With all due respect, sir, she is a girl.
And we don't have a female precedent. (Is he saying....And we don't have a female precedent to follow??? In the other words, can I translate it like: "And we don't have a policy of howto cut the girls hairs????"

Commandant : Well, keep cutting till we find one. (??? Again I'm not sure with this. Is he saying...Well, keep cutting until she's gonna be looking like a boy and then we're gonna have an example of howto cut a girls hairs???)

Best Regards


We always use "hair" as a collective noun in this situation.
The hairdresser is cutting her hair.
A precedent is a prior example to use as a guide. It is usually used for court rulings, interpretations of regulations, etc. It is a funny word to use in this situation.
The military have a rule for everything, in particular the "burr cut" (also called "buzz cut") for men. The hair is so short that the scalp is visible.
So they say that they will kepp cutting her hair shorter and shorter until they are satisfied that it is right.
Hi Alphecca,

thanks for the answer and correction,

but I still didn't get the meaning.
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My explanation for this would be: the commandant, who probably is not too happy about having to admit a girl in the first place, doesn't want to have to make any adjustments in the rules because she is female. So, the point at which they "find the precedent" will be when her hair is as short as the boys' hair.
Great, thx to both of you. It's much more clearer to me now.

Best Regards
Further to the other answers, this is military humour. (US English - humor.)

The officer is reluctant to create a precedent. There are rules against making up new rules. Emotion: smile
He is suggesting, humourously, that if only they get enough hair out of the way they will find the haircutting rule. It's like the judges in the courts: they don't like to admit to making up new rules.
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Thanks Patrick for your additional note.