May 13, 2009

I Must Be Missing Something About Shaving

The Wife likes it when I'm clean-shaven. I kind of enjoyed having a mustache and goatee, but she's the one who has to kiss me so I scrape off the facial hair and almost every day. It grows in pretty good during the day; I can notice the stubble emerging fom my cheeks about ten hours after a morning shave.

Now, some men get really particular about their shave. Perhaps none more so than Vodkapundit, who -- despite being only a few years older than me -- has apparently used a substantial fraction of his life experimenting with a variety of products, blades, and techniques to get the shave he likes. He starts with a steam, then a pre-shave oil, then Taylor's cream soap lather made in a small bowl spread on the beard with a badger-hair brush, and then either a straight razor or a Merkur brand double-edged razor manufactured in Solignen, Germany used slowly to slice the hairs, followed by a careful face-washing after the shave is done.

Me, when I'm not in a hurry, I do use a brush and bowl to generate lather. Trader Joe's makes a perfectly fine liquid shave soap. My Gillette Fusion five-blade cartridge head lasts me about two weeks; I'm not particularly loyal to that brand, I just like a razor blade with a swivelling head.

And when I was in a hurry yesterday morning so I gave myself a dry shave before my morning shower. Didn't notice any significant difference in the result. No hot water? That sucks, but it doesn't make that much of a difference to me, in terms of discomfort or result.

This leaves me thinking that Vodkapundit, despite being an incisive and well-connected blog writer, is something of a wimp when it comes to chin-cleaning.

But then I remembered two things. First, maybe my whiskers are just plain not as thick or stubborn as Vodkapundit's, and second, other men seem to be shaving wimps too. One of my buddies out here complains that if he uses an electric razor, his face is red and bumpy for days and the pain of using the device is almost more than he can bear. Whenever I've used an electric on a day's worth of growth, I've barely noticed any sensation at all; my complaint is generally that the stubble starts growing in only a few hours later. But there's no pain in the act of rubbing the device all over my face.

So is my friend, like Vodkapundit, just a shaving wimp? Or do I just have an extraordinary tolerance for razor burn on my face? I doubt it; I've not noticed that my pain tolerance is particularly high in other arenas of life. Do I have unusually slender whiskers? Shaving seems pretty easy and painless to me without that big elaborate ritual.

And a cursory survey of the Intertubes reveals that I seem to be in the distinct minority here. So fellahs, tell me what I'm missing here -- why is this shaving thing such a big deal to you all?

(Images shamelessly hotlinked from Free the Gnomes. I've no idea where he got them.)

1 comment:

Daryl said...

I'm not any sort of shaving snob or anything (I use the same cheap Gillette razor my dad presented me with 17 or 18 years ago when I first started shaving and a tube of Edge gel), but I can corroborate reports of pain when shaving under some circumstances. Electric razors tend to pull and not give a very long-lasting shave (as you note). Dry shaving is sufficiently painful that I simply won't do it. Even shaving with soap or just water is no picnic, and I'll avoid it if possible. I think I have fairly thick whiskers, so maybe that is a factor.