Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Scraping Face

Like most young lads, I could not wait (until it was really necessary) to get started with the shaving bit.

I had watched my Daddy shave with his straight-edge razor since I was a mere tadpole, and such a manly thing must be incorporated into my own lifestyle!

I started with a safety razor, Gillette blade, more than sixty years ago. When I ventured out into the world "on my own" at age seventeen, I moved to Wichita and took with me a straight razor. Every young smart aleck, I no exception, has to show off in some way or other. Wow, did I impress people, they knowing I shaved with an open blade! How did they know? I told them, of course. I used that razor until I decided I should give up factory work and go to college. I was smart enough to realize that such an object was not something to take to a college campus. I went back to the safety razor.

Like most of my fellow Americans, I was susceptible to the wiles of advertising, and thus I chose the Wilkinson blade with which to shave. I mean after all, the Wilkinson people had been making swords ever since Arthur pulled Excaliber from the Stone. How could I go wrong? Well, I paid more for my blades than did my peers who used lesser brands.

When I was probably a junior, I found there were a few dollars in my billfold, and I was in the very store that sold the new-fangled electric shaver. I needed one, didn't I? You may see the picture here of the Sunbeam Shavemaster, which I still have and which is more than fifty years old. It sits in its case (isn't that a beauty?) in a drawer, virtually unused throughout its life. It created such a rash on my neck that I was never able to endure it long enough to get past that stage and into a life of electric shaving. (It still runs. Sounds like a tractor.) So it was back to the safety razor. I have gone through several permutations, single double-edge blade, double blade, triple blade, but I drew the line when they went to "quatro," and I think I have recently seen five-bladed shavers advertised.

Ten years ago, I decided to give electric one more try. This does the job, I use it daily, and I am as delighted as it is possible to be with performing a necessary but nasty chore.

I am told that a type-A personality, go-getter, mover-of-the-earth and occupier of the corner office shaves in the morning before facing his world, and that a Lover shaves at night before retiring to bed.

The penultimate chore I perform each day is shaving. Then it's brush the choppers and off to bed!


Anonymous said...

My first razor was a Gilette Trac II. I used it maybe six times. It always tore up the skin on my neck and left me in pain for days. So I went and bought a Remington Micro Screen and never looked back. Since then, I've had a succession of Brauns. Every once in a while I have a romantic notion about blade shaving and try it again. I always come right back to my electric shaver -- after the pain subsides and the wounds heal.

I have thick black hair, so I must shave in the morning. If I shaved at night, I'd awaken with shadow.

Secondary Roads said...

I haven't suffered a single razor nick since I got rid of those horrible things a few decades ago.

Vee said...

I had no idea "designer" razor blades existed. I'll think about your blade splurge the next time I'm comparing Dooney and Bourke or Coach to the K-Mart special or the must have (of course it's the real thing) bag from the street vender in NYC.

vanilla said...

Jim, shaver technology is much advanced over the '50s equipment I first tried. I have a brother-inlaw who, like you, is a "bluebeard." He always had a shaver with him throughout the work day, and he used it at least once mid-day, sometimes more often. Lucky man: his beard is now white; still grows, doesn't show like it once did!

Chuck, clearly you are smarter than the average bear, er, ah, I mean average bare faced gentleman.

Vee, and with all my rambling in this post, I did not mention that I used the generic knock-off of the Bic disposable razor for many years. They were like ten for a buck, and one would last a month!

Sharkbytes said...

those leather cases were nice. hubby has gone with the hairy look for many years, but when he was shaving the only electric he could tolerate was the norelco.

Lin said...

Me and my brother used to lather up our faces and "shave" with our dad in the mornings when we were kids. I think we used a spoon as our blade.

It's sort of like using the plastic lawn mower, I guess.

vanilla said...

Shark, like Chuck, hubby is another smart man! Seventeen years ago, our town had a sesquicentennial celebration. I grew a beard, which a local barber shaved for me-- outdoors, on the square in front of everybody. I was glad to get shed of it.

Lin, LOL. Little Lin and Bro shaving with daddy. Too funny. (Funny, too, you should mention "lawn mower." I have a mowing post coming up later in the week.)