Monday, July 28, 2014

The art of the shave

I am a little disturbed to admit how much I enjoyed watching my sweetheart wield a sharp blade across his own skin this weekend.

We were spending some time with friends and it was my job to pick up our takeaway dinner. Upon my return, I found my darling and his male buddy, soaking wet, wrapped in towels in the bathroom, Sweetie getting a lesson in the manly art of shaving, just like every 15 year old boy needs. Except he's not 15; he's rounding the corner toward fifty.

To put it kindly, these two guys are rather hirsute. Less gently, they're hairy. Really freaking hairy and it started early; you can tell from their baby pictures they were going to have five o'clock shadows for much of their lives. Both of them, at some unfortunate time in high school, sported a horrible scraggly moustache that screamed, "I have hair on my lip! Lookit me! I'm a MAN now!"

For reasons lost in the vapor of time, neither of them was ever taught the finer points of gentlemanly grooming. Like most North American men of their vintage, they learned to shave by trial and error or maybe from TV or more likely, from friends. Over the years, they've used cheapy blades from the drug store, whatever was on sale, and somewhere along the line, graduated to the new five, six, and seven blade machines which are quite pricey.

Now, thanks to the miracle of Youtube, Sweetie's friend has become a connoisseur of shaving the old-fashioned way: cup of soap, brush and a single, replaceable blade inside a safety razor. He has not yet graduated to the straightedge but his wife is concerned a strop may be his next purchase.

Last night, my discovery of the two hairy men in towels was Sweetie's introduction to this old-fashioned ritual of manhood, and it's a very involved ritual indeed: at least fifteen minutes of rinsing and soaking and soaping and scraping and alum and pomades and admittedly, some blood. Honestly, I really don't know what all they got up to in there.

Sweetie's not sure he's interested in all the fuss; it seemed to him the cost/benefit of time versus smooth skin might not work out in his favour, and he says his life is not so stressful that he requires a lot of grooming time to get 'centred' at the start of his day. I'll say, though, I've never felt his face any softer and I couldn't keep my sweet lips off it, so maybe that will tip the balance. The question is, which way?

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