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A cutting-edge solution to the beard-growing problem

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 at 04:08AM
Posted by Registered CommenterPolitical Mammal in My personal history

This morning I have decided to tackle a subject designed to appeal to a wide audience – explicating my personal, rather idiosyncratic, stance on facial hair removal.

First, some background. As I child, I remember watching my father lather up with soap and a shaving brush and carefully work over his face with what would now be considered an antique safety razor (a replaceable two-sided blade housed in a metal apparatus.) I remember being fascinated. I tracked his facial gestures as he traversed the always difficult mustache area or stropped under his chin. I memorized the process by which he converted, in a few minutes, a face covered with white soap to one with smooth skin. I think that I viewed shaving as an elemental activity that connected me to generations of male ancestors.

I also distinctly remember my sister’s reaction when it came time for me to start shaving -- “Hee, hee, hee.” I interpreted her words to mean that the adolescent changes that were taking place with her older brother were embarrassing.

For years I failed to contend gracefully with the necessity to slice the hair off my face. I was not static, however. I moved from soap to gel; I followed Gillette down its well-intentioned attempts to provide me suitable products: Trac II, Atra, Atra Plus, Sensor, Sensor Excel, and so on. But I was never consistent enough to be a good patient for their experiments. Too often I would go a week or so without shaving, waiting until itchiness would drive me back to razor. And then I inevitably had an ordeal on my hands; those fancy disposable razors, with their multiple blades and pivoting heads, fill up with long hairs and you are left with a time-consuming and dangerous job.

At times I really tried to have fun with shaving. I experimented a few times, briefly, with the mustache and goatee look, which I thought would limit the shaving area. I also tried stopping mid-shave in a variety of ways, leaving patches on my cheeks, for example. I sought feedback from my girlfriend, but that never went over well. All in all, I facial hair thing was a pain -- I could never get myself past the itchiness of longer hair, or the look of a full beard. (I suppose that vanity can not fully disassociated with the act of shaving, but it has not really been the driving force in my adventures, except that I have concluded that a really ragged beard is not particularly becoming.

But I have solved the facial hair problem for myself, and my wife has been commendably tolerant of that solution. I have not shaved for years; neither have I grown a beard. Instead, I make a pass with a professional quality beard-trimmer from time to time. By doing so, I avoid the itchy phase and the daily lather, the hard work when the beard has gotten long, not to mention the cost in time and money of buying blades. I avoid as well the imperfections of electric shavers and their laughable claims to shave as close as a blade. Furthermore, I dodge the expectations of daily smoothness, difficult for me with my tendency to avoid routine. 

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Reader Comments (1)

I'd just about kill for an easy way to keep the hair from growing in the first place. It's a bloody nuisance to have to go to all that trouble every morning only to look like you need a shave again by six o'clock. With all our modern technology and the ridiculous amounts of money people spend on improving their appearance, how is it that we have not yet solved this problem? ;-)
March 3, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSean Robertson

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