Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Lost Art of a Great Shave

5 April 2012

Yesterday I found an outstanding blog/website called “The Art of Manliness”. Most “man-themed” sites are done tongue in cheek or hardly serve a purpose other than to highlight our base needs and tendencies. This site is chock full of great ideas and thoughts about all things manly. The first thing I read was the article in todays “related links” section “How to Shave Like Your Grandpa” by Brett McKay.

This article is absolute great stuff! He describes pricing of materials as well as providing a great descriptive on how to shave properly with the equipment he recommends. He is so right, shaving is a lost art. In today’s world we have to hurry and everything is disposable. Our economy is largely based on providing us with disposable goods that we have to keep replacing. There is no regard today in crafting a good razor, a quality razor blade that will last or a shaving cream that is both natural and worth the money you spend on it. Or is there? If you read that article you find that there are indeed quality shaving materials out there but you do have to pay for them. But here’s the catch, you spend a fair penny for it and, used properly, it will far outlast anything you can buy at your local grocery supermarts! Going to the store today in search of shaving equipment, to include some good after shave, can run you upwards of 30 plus dollars! And, again, the blades won’t last and the can of shaving cream might last a month. I pay more than 15 dollars on blades alone and one blade does not last more than two weeks on me. To me, that’s unsatisfactory. I remember a time when I would buy the Gillette Atra blades, a pack of 10 for maybe 5 bucks and one blade would last several weeks of every day shaving. Not anymore. It is a disposable economy, a disposable world and manufacturers concern for making top quality products that last went out the door a long time ago.

So, I’m reading the article and I reminisce about the days when shaving was a comfort. It was an art that you learned from your father and he learned from your Grandfather. It is something to be enjoyed. Shaving is not something that should be done in a few quick strokes. My wife is always telling me to slow down when I shave, I shave too fast. She’s right, I do. One should relax and enjoy the moment. Get the “Zen” of it. It is a time to reflect, a time to pamper yourself and a time to allow yourself a long moments peace before or after the trials of every man’s day. After all, shaving with a straight edge or double edge safety razor can be dangerous, caution is advised!  Proper shaving takes a lot of time. If you are thinking about going with a straight edge razor, you may want to remember that you are going to have to sharpen and hone your blade. You sharpen it with a wet stone and you refine, or hone, the edge with a leather stropping pad. It’s something to consider when making your decision. Safety edge razors and blades don’t require a lot of time in regards to sharpening or honing but if you want the blade to last, you have to clean and dry it after each use. The blades last a lot longer if kept clean and dry. With either style of razor, a proper shave takes practice and you are going to hack your face a few times so again, be careful. It takes time but in the end you are rewarded with the pleasure and feel of a well shaved face and you save money as well. My fondest shaving memory was when I was stationed in Japan and going off base to get a shave and a haircut. In Japan, they still do things the old fashioned way, at least they did as of the 90’s. You got a good haircut complete with a razor shave of your face and neck (and the back of the neck), a quick shoulder rubdown and a good dose of some Aqua Velva type stuff before they sent you on your way. Tops I paid was 15 bucks but it was well worth it. You left their barber shop feeling like a million bucks!

I refuse to pay the prices for these disposable blades and razors any longer. It’s ridiculous.  I found a straight razor, a stropping belt and some shaving cream that I can buy for 30-40 dollars. It’s a steep start-up price for shaving equipment but this razor and belt will last for an eternity, the cream will last much longer than a can of goop. I can also buy a safety razor and blades at the starting cost of about 50 bucks but the blades will last much longer and are much cheaper to replace. So I figure after a year, I will have more than doubled my money in savings and regained an appreciation of a lost art.  I think its high time we men started doing some things the way Grandpa did and we can start by getting in a good old fashioned shave!

Have a Blessed Day ya’ll!

Today’s “Did Ya Know?” It is “School Librarian” Day!!!! We can’t raise too much hoopla for them because they like it quiet and we’ll just get “Shhhush’ed” anyway. Even if you get shushed you should spend some time today at your local library and say thanks to those guardians of good reading, those disciples of the Dewey decibel system!!! Just do it softly.

Related Links:

Brett McKay’s article on the “Art of Manliness” website:

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