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THE JOYS OF SHAVING

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 15, 2012

– The burden of grooming one’s face repetitively.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I do not believe there are too many men out there who honestly enjoy shaving. It’s not the act itself that bothers us, as much as it is the repetition, day after day, month after month, year after year. Not surprising we relish the occasional day off where we neglect to shave thereby allowing the stubble to grow which may be fine for a day or two, but becomes rather irritating if allowed to persist. I don’t care what Hollywood thinks, wearing stubble makes you look like a bum, which is fine if you’re retired or unemployed, but looks bad in the workplace. Let me be clear, I have no problem with facial hair. I have seen just about every kind of mustache, beard, goatee, and sideburn imaginable, and they can look very professional if properly groomed, but also very haggard if not.

As teenagers, men relish their first set of whiskers which denotes passage into adulthood. Not surprising, we proudly display the sparce facial hair every chance we get, particularly to the opposite sex. It’s like saying, “Hey, I’m masculine, here I am” (like that is the only indicator women notice). After the facial hair has finally grown out though, we discover shaving has gone from being an amusing curiosity to an obnoxious routine.

Over the years, I think I have tried just about every razor imaginable, from blades to electric. I once tried a straight razor (with leather strap) but quickly discovered it was not as convenient as the modern razor blade. I originally started out with a double-edged safety razor, but eventually graduated to the cartridges featuring multiple blades. I always thought the ads for such blades were amusing; originally, they showed a graphic demonstrating how two blades could outperform a single blade by cutting the individual hair down to its roots, but I guess this wasn’t good enough as they next came up with a three blade cartridge outperforming the two blades, then a four blade cartridge outperforming the three. Five over four, and now six over five. That’s right, a six blade cartridge. Does this mean the razor companies were deceiving us about the effectiveness of the two blade cartridge? Or three? Somehow I suspect the old double-edge safety razor is just as effective as today’s multi-blade cartridge. By the way, there is nothing wrong with the inexpensive plastic disposable razors which seemed revolutionary when they were first introduced.

I never had much luck with electric razors; I simply could not get as close a shave as with a blade, but that happens to be my preference. I know plenty of men who are perfectly happy with electric razors, including my father who used them for years. As for me, I’ll typically use an electric only if I need a quick shave at the end of the day before going out for the evening. Surprisingly, the best electric razor I ever used was a small inexpensive portable from Panasonic which I obtained in Japan. I’ve tried the big razors, but this tiny unit simply outperformed them.

I’ve also been known to dry shave now and then, particularly if I’m out in the wilderness when soap and water are not readily available, but I try to avoid it as it feels like you’re ripping the flesh off of your face. Yes, it is very tingling and not for the lighthearted as you are likely to get a nick or cut thereby requiring you to put wads of toilet paper on your face to stop the bleeding; a very attractive feature I might add. Fortunately, somebody thought of shaving soap thereby simplifying the shave and minimizing the scaring of your face. I began with a simple cup with shaving soap which I would whip into a frothy lather using a badger hair brush. I believe I still have that brush buried somewhere in a bathroom closet which is probably now a collector’s item.

Which brings us to the matter of shaving creams versus gels, and I have tried both. Although I prefer shave creams, one seems as good as another to me. For some reason, gels remind me of smearing petroleum jelly on my face. Both the creams and the gels are normally applied cold on your face, which is useful for waking you up in the morning but bothersome otherwise. As an aside, perhaps the best father’s day gift I ever received from my kids was a hot lather dispenser which preheats the shaving cream.

It appears aftershave lotions are also something from a bygone era as few people seem to use them anymore. Somehow, the application of a cold alcohol-based lotion to recently scraped skin can invigorate any of us, not to mention making us smell a little better.

Perhaps the best place to get a shave though is the local barber shop or hair salon. It’s not something I do often, but now and then, a good shave by a trained professional using all of the accoutrements at his disposal is worthwhile. It’s always a pleasure to watch somebody who knows what they are doing regardless of the job. Interestingly, years ago most barber shops used hot towels from a steam table to moisten your beard as opposed to shaving cream, and it worked remarkably well.

Facial hair is not so much about masculinity, as it is about an annoying habit we have to live with, whether we like it or not. We can elect to either pay attention to it and practice good grooming, or neglect it thereby making us look like a bum. Either way, shaving affects our lives both personally and professionally.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
HOW WELL ARE WE PREPARING THE NEXT GENERATION? – Not as well as we might think.

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9 Responses to “THE JOYS OF SHAVING”

  1. awriterweavesatale said

    Women don’t relish shaving much either:)

    Like

  2. Tim Bryce said

    An O.B. of Macon, Georgia wrote…

    “Many year ago I got a rash on my face from shaving, I think because I tried to shave too close. So for 35 year I sported a full beard. Then one day, I got the feeling I wanted to shave again and the beard came off for a couple of years, My wife had like my whiskers and had often tried to get me to grow it back. So to please her, I did. I still shave everyday to trim the growth from my face and although it does not make me wiser, the kids I teach seem to have more respect for me with a beard then they did without.

    However there was one time, that I seriously consider shaving it off and leaving it off. A great Aunt came to visit us every year and stayed with us a week. One year when she was visiting my wife asked her how she liked my beard, and she looked over her shoulder at me and simply said ” a beard breeds lice, not wisdom”! But I grinned and bore the shame and did not get lice. But I think in my years that a little wisdom has found it way to me. Shaving has become part of my shower, so it just common and not a chore for me anymore.

    Whiskers don’t make a man wiser, they just make him look older and with age is supposed to come wisdom. So now I am older and somewhat wiser.

    Have a great week, my brother, keep the faith and May God Bless”

    Like

  3. Tim Bryce said

    A J.M. of Chicago, Illinois wrote…

    “Yessir, the best shaves of my life come from a real barber. My skin feels like a baby’s bottom for two, maybe three days…. What a shave.”

    Like

  4. Tim Bryce said

    A J.D. of Tampa, Florida wrote…

    “I had a lengthy blog I wrote about 8 years ago when the vibrating-handled razors hit the market. I am one of those guys with steel wool for whiskers. My 5 o’clock shadow was late for lunch, and , shaving always left me looking like a grenade went off near my neck. Shaving two days in a row was out of the question.

    It did not matter what methods or products I used. Creams, gels, oils, hot fresh blades and neck warm from a hot shower had no effect. So, I sucked it up, dry-shaved after my showers with no expensive lotion products and dealt with the consequences. Cystic pencils helped.

    Then my wife bought me a vibrating razor, and it all changed. It was amazing – clean, comfortable shaves multiple days in a row with little to no cuts and burns. Amazing!

    However, blades are expensive as hell. So, looking for a cheaper alternative, I joined Dollar Shave Club http://www.dollarshaveclub.com/ about 3 months ago mostly on the basis of their promo (on their home page. They were overwhelmed with orders when the promo went viral, but they have since come in and the blades, for whatever reason, work just as good and don’t cut me up. For reference I signed on with the middle ($6) option.”

    Like

  5. Tim Bryce said

    An M.H. of Dunedin, Florida wrote…

    “Hey, Thanks Mr. Bryce for your article. A hot lather and hot steam towel shave would make a great father’s day gift. Anyone can get a certificate at McGuire’s Barbershop in Dunedin. All three barbers specialize in straight razor shaves.”

    Like

  6. Tim Bryce said

    A K.S. of Oklahoma wrote…

    “Ahem. Well Tim, this is a very interesting article and one that I can defintely relate to on a MAJOR scale. I would say however that I probably found one razor blade that you have not likely tried. It is HEADBLADE. As one who sports a smooth dome, the HEADBLADE is an awesome invention. It also allows me to spend much less time with the daily ritual as most. Shave on!”

    Like

  7. Tim Bryce said

    A J.P. of Toronto, Ontario wrote…

    “For decades, now, I have worn a full beard, watching it turn slowly over the years from dark brown to almost silver white. I use throw away straight razors on cheeks, upper lip and neck.”

    Like

  8. Tim Bryce said

    An S.S. of Emmett, Idaho wrote…

    “Sounds crazy but I have always enjoyed watching a man shave with a razor….let me know if u need input on a females perspective on her own facial hair……lol”

    A J.S. of Skidway Lake, Michigan wrote…

    “I don’t care much for the stubbly look of the celebrities. It looks especially ridiculous when one is wearing a tuxedo. The little goatee beards look silly to me. Other than Colonel Sanders, there is no man who looks better with the goatee than without. Just my opinion;)”

    Like

  9. Tim Bryce said

    A J.D. of Dunedin, Florida wrote…

    “Hot steam towell after a shave and haircut is one of life’s simple pleasures.”

    Like

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