Sunday, February 04, 2007

Shaving it close...

Wow! It's been awhile since I posted. There are some big changes coming in my life and the life of my family in the next few months that I can't quite share publicly yet, and they've been so much on my mind that I haven't had much to say here. Look for a post in the next week or so to find out more.

However, in the meantime it occurred to me that I DO have one thing to talk about: Shaving. Specifically, wet shaving. I'm talking about returning to the ART of shaving. Ever since I was taught to shave it has been a simple procedure: Wet my face. Turn some gel into lather in my hand and then lather my face. Scrape everything off with the latest multiple blade razor (a Mach 3 for as long as I can remember). Rinse my face. I rarely used aftershave of any kind.

But recently in a forum I frequent someone brought up the subject of wet shaving. This is a shaving technique whereby you subdivide your shave into a pre-shave, a shave, and a post shave ritual. You use shaving soap or cream and create lather using a shaving brush. You shave with a double edge (DE) razor or straight razor. Instead of a single pass, you shave in one direction, then re-lather your face and shave in a different direction, removing your beard in stages. There is more to it than this...warm towels and aftershave, etc. But in the end I have to say, it is quite a treat. It takes MUCH more time than my old method. And getting into it can cost a bit...probably $150-$200 when all is said and done (although I had most of mine gifted to me). But you sure feel good when you're done. And 'm not just talking about my face. The ritualistic aspect (there are about 20 steps in my routine and I follow them to the letter) is very satisfying and is good exercise in focusing for an extended period. I've heard it compared to a Japanese Tea ceremony.

I'm still getting used to it all. My shaves aren't as close as they were with the Mach 3 (although that will change as I get the hang of it). But so far I am hooked. It helps me focus and ties me to the past (I'm using a razor that is probably 40 years old or more) in a way that little else does outside of my faith and spiritual practice. And perhaps that is part of the attraction. I wouldn't say there is something religious about it. But there is something healthy in the order and attention to detail...something healthy in the determination to tell "old man Time" to sit back and chill out...I'll get to him in a moment.

Above is a picture of the razor I'm using. Below is a picture of my setup. Anyone else out there doing this or interested in doing it?

5 comments:

M. Jay Bennett said...

Matt . . . you're psychotic! I think the army must have brainwashed you back in boot camp. Do you count the squares when you pull the TP off the roll? ;-)

MJB

Matt said...

Count the squares? Doesn't everybody?

Yeah...I suppose the army fostered a certain appreciation for order. I remember the first time I unpacked into an army locker and learned about rolling socks. You have to make them smile (the socks)!

I try to find a messy balance in my life, but at heart I prefer unmitigated order. :^)

sirshavesalot said...

Nice Digs. The only thing missing is Nature Calls and Razor Rinse. If only the Barracks had Nature Calls back in the day. I think the website is ritual.com or yourritual.com or something. Changed my life!

Thom said...

Matt, this is like a practical expression of your bit on liturgical time awhile ago.

GUNNY said...

Don't you wish we could go back in time to the days when a man could get a shave and a haircut and his shoes shined all in the same place?

Back in my day ...