You may have noticed the title of today’s post and thought this little article might be about a narrow escape from a frightful situation. It isn’t.
If you love animated short features like Nick Park’s series of the “Wallace and Gromit” stories that I adore, it’s not those either. Although, if you have not seen Wallace and Gromit in “A Close Shave”, I highly recommend that you watch it.
The close shave I’m thinking about today is the one that the shaving industry sells to us each day. It’s a lucrative market that theoretically grows each year as the number of adolescent males reaches face shaving age. There are billion-dollar companies selling us razors, replacement cartridges, shaving creams, foams, and lotions. Then there are the corporations offering electric shavers, trimmers, and accessories.
Many young human males regard starting to shave nearly as important as acquiring our first motor vehicle driving license. Some of us start shaving before the age of 16 and others don’t need to shave until several years later.
My friend Marc didn’t start shaving until the age of 21. Even then he shaved only once per week in order to manage a little bit of “peach fuzz” on his upper lip and his jaw line. Marc often told me he wanted to grow a beard like mine. He’s now 63-years-old and still only has to manage a little bit of wispy facial hair.
Although my father was a dedicated blade razor shaving fanatic, I wasn’t socialized to follow in his footsteps. Dad gave me his father’s electric shaver after I turned 14. I used grandpa J’s trusty Norelco twin rotor corded shaver every day until it finally bit the dust four or five years later. It was replaced with a newer version that ran for about a decade.
I did experiment with blade shaving off and on several times, but I didn’t enjoy the long, drawn-out process of blade shaving. Dealing with cuts, nicks, and razor burn was a turn-off. In my opinion, there’s not enough bang for the buck doing shaving that way.
That said, I’ve had a full beard ever since the age of 23 with brief periods of clean-shaved face with only a mustache for a few summers, in the 1980s. The electric shavers have been used every day to clean up the growth on my neck and upper cheeks. Once per week the beard and mustache get trimmed very short with a Remington home hair trimmer because a wild beard doesn’t fit my style.
There are times when I feel like using the blade method to trim the neck and upper cheeks. I use a “Harry’s” razor that my BF gave me a couple of Christmases ago. I lather up with some Barbasol foam and shave away. Sometimes the razor doesn’t do a thorough job. That means a quick touch up with an electric shaver is necessary.
Here is the short list of electric shavers I’ve enjoyed using: In the mid to late 1980s the Panasonic Wet/Dry cordless was my favorite. In the 1990s the go-to was a Braun corded mesh-screen that I alternated with a similar cordless model used mostly when traveling. In the 2000s, a Braun cordless wet/dry shaver has been the main one for neck and cheeks. Sometimes I use the old corded shaver just as a change of pace.
Ideally, the ritual of blade shaving seems like it should be wonderful. There is a whole subculture of men who use straight razors, safety razors, and niche cartridge razors. They have special brushes and shaving soaps, lotions, and after-shave creams. This type of devotion to shaving is appealing, but I don’t have the time for another hobby. I’m happy with my short beard and the convenience of electric shavers.
I’m sure the default shaving tools for me will probably always be electric shavers.