February 17, 2009

How I learned to Shave

It is an apparent tradition that from father to son, that the father would pass on some sort of tradition. Something that the son can do as part of his daily, manly ritual. I never went through such a thing. My father refused to teach me how to shave and the only things he handed me was a Mach 3 disposable safety razor and a can of colgate aresol shaving cream. I gave myself my first shave under no supervision and as luck would have it, I didn't cut myself. But still, I feel at a loss, deprived of this time honored ritual. In college, I allowed myself to begin to get into the traditions, the lore of true wet shaving.

Lets back up for a moment. My first year in college, I had received an electric dry shaver for christmas from my aunt and uncle. Not from my own dad as you would expect. My dad even went as far to comment: Oh! Now I dont even have to buy you one.

That's something I dont want to pass onto my boy if and when I have a child. If its a girl, completely different story.

I started with the mach 4 still. I had received one on my birthday from Gillette. Nice of them. But one thing I did do differently was drop the aerosol. I went to my local chemist's and purchased soap, a mug and a brush. Now, its just an ordinary drinking mug, but it suffices. I still use it to this day. I swirled my cheap boar brush in the ceramic mug against the soap. But nothing really came up other than a pathetic looking pile of bubbles. I tried again, this time, really getting into it. That didn't work. So I proceeded to shave with this sloppy wet concoction. It felt nice, it was a lot closer than I had expected, but it was nice.

My friend Robin told me of the land of badger brushes and I was enthralled. Completely taken in by the idea of luxury shaving, I proceeded to amazon.com and found myself a cheap, low grade badger brush. It really was low grade, when It came in the mail, it had a split handle. But I figured it wouldn't be too much of a problem so I proceeded to use it. Besides, I had waited all that time for it, and I certainly did not want to waste it waiting for the brush all over again. The lather was richer, the aroma of the soap stronger and shave cleaner.

My razor by now was no longer suffeicient for my everyday burden so I turned to an antique store in Alameda for the solution. I had seen the cabinet many times before on my once a month junking adventures. Here, there was a cabinet. One that was completely filled with everything essentially "MAN" Safety razors, old razor blades, pocket knives, pocket watches, fishing lures and fly wheels, hat pins and feathers, cuff links, old fashioned pocket cameras, you name it. I picked out a small travel razor set. Later I would learn it is a Gillette 1960s traveler. It doesn't have much weight, but it still does a dandy shave. Someday, I may find a new razor.

I hope to pass on my tradition. I guess they have started started somewhere when man learned to shave. But when man first learned, he learned well. Soaps, creams and brushes galore!

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