Give it to me straight!

I’ve always hated shaving. I grew a beard as soon as I was able to grow one that didn’t look totally pathetic, mostly because I didn’t want to have to shave so much. Then, when I lost weight, I wanted to show off my slimmer jaw line, so I switched from a full beard to a “hockey puck”. Of course, after my car accident the weight came rushing back, but I’ve been persuaded to not go back to the full beard.

Then I had a change of position at work, and spent more time on the factory floor than in the office, so I more or less quit shaving except for once a week. Sometimes twice, if I got complaints on the home front.

And then something happened. I’m not sure what, exactly. Something got me interested in straight razors. I started reading about them online. They are supposedly a better shave, smoother, no razor burn, won’t have to shave as often, and so on. One article pointed out the cost savings, since a single straight edge can last multiple lifetimes if properly cared for, not to mention the eco-friendliness of not putting disposables and/or cartridges (and shaving cream cans!) into landfills.  I started looking at the razors themselves, some of which are very sexy blades, and I always like things that double as weapons in a pinch. Can you scare an intruder with a Mach 3? I don’t think so…

So I set my mind on wanting a straight razor, and for Christmas that’s what I got. It was rough at first. I needed to learn how to lather up my face with shaving soap properly (you should hear some of the nasty things straight razor people say about canned shaving creams, and I absolutely love my brush and soap!), how to strop the razor properly, and most importantly how to hold the razor and how to get at some problem areas. A week or so later, and only one major cut (never press your finger onto the corner of a razor… you won’t like it), and I’m loving it. I shave every day now, with rare exceptions. I’ve even decided to go bald again, shaving my head along with my beard. I can’t really say *why* I love shaving now, but I do. Even though it takes longer than it used to. It’s like a meditative ritual. I’ll be hunting yard sales this summer, looking for more straights at bargain prices.
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  • limey  On January 11, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    I just sent you a message about this on Facebook. I was wondering how it was going. I still love mine even after a year. For me it forces me to slow down and focus on one thing even if only for a few minutes a day. If I can be any help just let me know.

  • Richard  On January 12, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    if you come across one, let me know. got any good links to buy one? I have been wanting to do this for so long, it is painful having to buy more razors, when I know a perfectly good blade will do it just as well/better.

  • corenominal  On January 23, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    I stopped shaving a few years ago, mainly for the same reasons you stated. I do not miss the razor burns, but I do miss the routine. As mentioned by Limey, it forces you to slow down and for me it was a perfect time to contemplate my day, etc. I have never considered using a straight razor, but your post has definitely sparked an interest. My only concern would be in how I would keep the razor sharp. Hmm, food for thought, thank you. 🙂

    • wolfger  On January 23, 2010 at 9:57 pm

      Well, you need at least a leather strop. I have a linen and a leather which I use before every shave. It doesn’t sharpen the razor, exactly, but it smooths the edge for a better shave. It’s also the first part of the ritual, and gets my mind focused on the shave. I have not had to sharpen my razor yet, despite a month’s worth of near-daily shaving, face and head. Some folks like to buy one or more wet stones and do their own honing, others go for a professional hone job. I think I’ll pay a pro when I need it done, but some day I want to sharpen my own razor too.

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