Sunday, April 26, 2015

Close Shave

I took a nice hot shower, hotter than normal. I washed my face with a good soap I had bought from Sunrise Soap, a tiny little soap shop on Beaver Street in York. Getting out of the shower, I picked up a package of razor blades, figuring that, if it worked out that it was going to take a bunch of tries to find "my razor blade" that grabbing one randomly was as good a way as any to decide.
I filled the sink with mildly hot water, the steam rising off the surface in light wisps, splashed some water on my face, dipped the shaving brush into the sink and started working up a lather on my face. I used the orange cream and the smell was incredibly good. One of the things I am really coming to enjoy is the smells of my morning routine. In fact, it has expanded to a multi-sensory experience, now, and the brush sweeping back and forth across my face, the feel of the lather building into a thick, creamy texture, and the smell of orange filling the room were a great way to enter into the next chapter of shaving.

I carefully unwrapped the blade and put it into the razor handle.
There was a moment, putting blade to face, where I considered the wisdom of the course of action I was taking. I mean, I am fully competent with the cartridge blades. Did it really make sense to do this?  Well, no guts, no glory. I used the short, abrupt, non-overlapping strokes recommended in the shaving videos and got my upper face done without incident. On to the neck. Dragging the blade across my neck was a little disconcerting, but the blade just glided across the skin.

I repeated the lather and shaved across the grain, using the same small, non-overlapping strokes. I finished with minor nicks and put on the Platinum Aftershave....
OH MY GAWD! I was completely unprepared for the napalm-like experience of putting this on my just-shaved face. Like Gollum with an Elvish rope or Damien with Holy water, all I could think is, "IT BURNS US! IT BURNS US!" And for one minute or so (that's a long time - believe me) it showed NO sign of abating. I actually considered washing it off, but waited it out until it started to calm, and then it was absolute bliss. My shave was complete, and I have to say I really enjoyed it.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Shaving...It's Worth Doing Right

I got this bee in my bonnet a couple of weeks ago, after going to the local store and for the thousandth time in my life, buying a four-pack of razors. I didn't think much about it until I got to checkout and the clerk gave me a dollar and change out of a twenty. At first I thought there was some mistake. Twenty bucks a month seems a little steep, no? Especially for these dinky little things. Cigarettes would have cost less.

So, I gritted my teeth, went home, and shaved (Note to self: Don't Shave Angry. Nothing good can come from that). But I thought there must be a better way, so I hopped on Facebook and asked my friends about their impressions of Dollar Shave Club and they came back favorable. Cheap. Easy. Efficient.

But then my buddy Brad jumped on and said I should consider an old school safety razor. I was, frankly, intrigued. Surely a guy who shaves his face and head with a safety razor must know a thing or two...right? And, I do like the Old School (I wish men still wore hats and stood when a woman entered the room), so I thought I would poke around and see what I could find. One of my favorite things about the Intarwebz (thanks, Al Gore!) is that, for whatever bizarre, obscure information you are looking, there are dozens of sites where people are anonymously clicking and clacking away in conversations.

Enter The Wicked Edge, a chat forum dedicated to wet shaving, safety razors, shaving creams and oils, and the kind of minutiae that will alternately enthrall you and drive you mad. I loved it instantly. Vintage razor discussions. How to strop a straight razor. What does The Kraken Smell like? The place has an almost mentorship mentality, with a lot of guys teaching younger guys and newbies like myself the fine art and science of shaving. I was quickly schooled in the pros, cons, and dangers (that was ultimately, I suspect, what sealed it for me) of wet shaving.

I also found a great video on how to shave. One of the things I learned was that I wasn't building a proper lather. That became abundantly clear after watching this particular video.

I was so excited that I ran upstairs to shave. Mrs. Fishr was sitting in bed reading, and seemed a little confused at my sudden appearance.
She: What are you doing?
Me: Shaving!!!
She: Um. You know it's 11.00, right?
Me: But I just learned something, and now I need to do it!
So, off I flew to the bathroom as she turned back to her book, presumably rolling her eyes at my antics, yet again.

I decided to go with Maggard Shaving, a husband and wife team out of Detroit Michigan who offer, by many accounts, fantastic stuff at great prices. I got a mid-priced beginner's set that I can grow with if I like it, but that won't break the bank if I decide otherwise. Mine came with a Parker 26C Razor, a handmade Italian Boar Bristle Shaving Brush by Omega, two aftershave tonics, a multipak of blades (it takes a bunch of trial and error to find the best blade for your face), a stiptic pen (yeah. you'll want one of those), ad an amazing smelling orange shaving cream. It arrived in a couple of days, easy-peasy, lemon-squeazy.

I opened it up like it was Christmas Day and I was getting my Official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200 shot range, model air rifle. And there it was in all it's glory.