I cannot recall which came first – acne or the urge to shave. I must have been thirteen or fourteen years old. The details of the two events escape me, but I easily recall the outcome. I shaved my nearly non-existent beard every day and every day I ended up looking like a wounded combatant newly back from the front. However, no enemy was responsible for my wounds. They were self-inflicted and my weapon of choice was the Gillette “Safety” razor. I recall the dual edge blade was good for one shave, or so I thought. Shaving, for me, was not an event anticipated with joy. And I did not!
My father shaved every day to look presentable to his customers. Acne for him was a distant memory and he used an electric razor. Shaving every day was no big deal for him. It was something he had to do and he did it. My Father took pity on me and bought me an electric razor in the hope the loss of blood would be less. I suspect he hoped to save some money by eliminating the cost of my one-blade per shave habit. I think it was a Remington shaver. It did not work well for me and I grew to dislike the buzzing in my ear as I shaved. Nothing had changed for me. I still bled and I wanted the buzzing to go away. I returned to the ordeal of the “safety” razor.
Sometime after my return to the razor, I discovered the Gillette “Blue Blade”. This blade was stainless steel and very sharp. It lasted longer. I tried the new blade with some success. My shaving experience became less of an ordeal. I believe several things were responsible for the improvement in my shaving experience. My acne became less severe and I was using the new blade. My Uncle introduced me the concept of the shaving mug, shaving soap, and Badger hair brush. My lifelong shaving ritual was born.
Over the ensuing years, my daily shaving routine evolved into the ritual it is today. My shaving ritual is something savored with a leisurely pace and anticipation of a pleasant experience. The ritual is simple really. Assemble tools – prepare hot lather using mug and brush – wash face – apply lather to face – shave using the Gillette triple blade razor (long live the “safety razor”) – rinse with hot cloth – smile for the mirror. That’s it! Simple and effective in this “Tech Age”. I do not watch Television either and my other car is a steam locomotive. Don’t pity me; I enjoy the simple ways of life.
For many years I have used the same store-bought shaving soap with complete satisfaction. That ended soon after my Son’s wife started a soap factory. I tried a sample of her product for shaving. The soap she sent me turned out the best shaving soap I have ever used. Her soap is now an essential part of my shaving ritual. Custom -made shaving soap. Who would have thought it possible.
After I retired twenty-one years ago, I continued to wear a wrist watch and shave every day after arising at my usual, before I retired, hour. Until, that is, I concluded this behavior was DUMB. Today I am sans wristwatch, arise at whatever hour my wife decides, and shave every four to five days if I (we) so chose. Like my Father, I sometimes shave just to make myself presentable. For instance, when we dine out or something like that. I adapt to the situation as needed. I’m a reasonable person; I know what that “look” means. I’m no dummy.
I tell you if you want a really close shave, go five days without shaving and then use my ritual shaving method. It works and you will be happier if you do. Get rid of the watch, sleep late and take the battery out of the cell phone – live well!
P.S. I can’t help you with the soap – sorry.