05-20-2012, 09:06 AM
#1
  • Notary
  • Member
  • Montreal, Quebec
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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF A SHAVE AND MY SEVEN REASONS FOR WET SHAVING

Well hello again everyone. I decided it is time for another post because whether I am using a Double Edged Safety Razor or an Injector system razor, words cannot explain the pleasure that is derived from the shaving experience. I have given up on shaving with those crude plastic apparatuses that look like oversized garden rakes. Wet shaving is an experience like any other, for instance: would we have a steak dinner without wine, friendship without conversation or sex without romance, probably not. For this reason one who has not afforded himself the pleasures of traditional wet shaving, with all the accoutrements, is living an existence which is all fizz and no gin. Shaving is the only sublime un-sublime pleasure. Anyways, I would like to begin my commentary with the following quote:

“Winning is like shaving - you do it every day or you wind up looking like a bum.” Jack Kemp

Consequently, if you want to look and feel like a debonair and distinguished gentleman, you must strive for the ultimate shave, by applying correct technique (practice) coupled with quality implements (does not mean breaking the bank); any beginner can get started by expending a few extra minutes per day and an approximate initial investment of 100$ which shall be out shadowed by the savings in razor blades. The only requirement is your desire to seek perfection in your wet shave quest and this for the following reasons.

1. COOL

It is cool. One cannot deny the impressions we have when we see a man wet shaving in the traditional old school fashion. Visualize Clint Eastwood with a straight razor in High plains Drifter, well let’s just say that epitomizes cool. Perhaps, Sean Connery using a Gillette Slim in Goldfinger, and who would not want to look and feel like James Bond. And for you lounge lizards the cool suave look of Frank Sinatra seated back and having his faced shaved by the lovely Anita Ekberg. Or you can imagine the flip side: How cool would Telly Savalas look shaving his head or face with one of today’s awkwardly colored, multi-bladed, vibrating plastic monsters, not! Want to make a bold statement, shock and awe baby; pull out a chrome/stainless steel double edged safety razor or a straight blade behemoth in a locker room with your golf or training buddies, and start shaving after you have lathered up nice and rich, with a British lavender scent shave cream, WHAM- BAM, talk about wow factor!

2. NOSTALGIA

My father was a life long traditional wet shaver and Aqua Velva user. I remember him introducing me to the Gillette Company’s razors and going on about their superior quality. However, like most teens of the era (late 70s and early 80s) we were enthralled by the plethora of plastic multi-colored monsters that were appearing on the market, making outrageous claims of providing the best shave. So I succumbed until recently, when I made the switch to traditional wet shaving. I guess the switch to traditional wet shaving was the outlet for my mid life crisis. As age started to creep up on me, I was looking for something that would make me feel younger, and stir up pleasant thoughts of a more relaxed, by-gone era. My current shaving regimen reminds me of my late father. I remember his morning ritual would consist of turning on the radio, lighting a cigarette and heading to the bathroom for the “Shave”, which consisted of lather derived from a regular bar of soap through use of a boar hair brush and those short, effortless strokes of the razor that resulted in an orderly near perfect shave. I say near because the occasional nick would require the application of an absorbent piece of Kleenex, to prevent further bleeding. And finally there were the strategic splashes of the Aqua Velva, for post-shave fragrance and disinfecting. It was these moments that made me yearn for adulthood of my own to arrive, so as I could start shaving and be like my father. The following image is permanently engrained in my mind and arouses overall feelings of joy happiness and content: I think of Cape Cod on a crisp summer morning, with the salty air and sea mist gently caressing my face, the theme from a “Summer Place” is playing in the background and tell myself that this is what heaven must feel like. I can not believe that this experience is unique to me, anyone of you guys know what I mean?

3. OLD SCHOOL

I believe in tradition. Marketers have transformed us into Pavlov’s dogs and conditioned us to believe that the fancy multi-blade is better. When and where will this insanity end, how many blades will be required for a closer shave 15 years from now and or how many blades will be required to quench the thirst of the multi-nationals producing these razors? And we sit back and take it; how many people have actually tried wet-shaving with a traditional razor? My guess is not many because the modern razors would not be out selling the traditional ones. It does not need fixing, if it is not broken. The traditional razors have stood the test of time and their renaissance proves that they are the harbingers of much better shaves in the future. We need to slow down and smell the roses; life is short and should be savored at every level, including the simple pleasure of shaving every morning. In taking an old school approach to shaving, we would see a greatly needed improvement to the start of our days and the condition of our skin. I must say, that I know I have. I think our desire for quick and easy fixes has led us astray. It’s our appreciation of life’s simple pleasures that allows us to face up to our problems and endows us with the fortitude required to meet challenges head on. You might laugh, however I have noticed a remarkable difference in my morning routine since I started traditional wet shaving; I feel like a better person. While shaving is not going to solve the world’s ills, even a slight improvement in each individual’s temperament would most definitely direct us towards a better and nicer society. If everyone feels better on an individual level we are much more likely to shift towards an improved social dynamic, where we will treat each other more justly, friendly and respectfully. Shaving is the little sprinkle of happiness in each man’s life that goes along way in the amelioration of human relationships.

4. DESIGN AND CRAFTMANSHIP

Form and functionality culminate in the creation of a precision hygiene and grooming instrument. When you look at a stainless steel or nickel double edged razor the first thing that comes to mind are its prominently striking qualities: the same lines, the crispness of the corners, the smoothness of curves, the brilliant lustrous and strength of the metal, all similar attributes to the tools of a surgeon. Although beautiful, it looks like an instrument that, if not delicately handled, can cut through skin with the finesse of a fin in water. Furthermore, it is perfectly balanced in your hand and is made to cut through the tough and stubborn hair on your face as it glides effortlessly over the skin. Let us not forget about quality and craftsmanship. These babies were produced in a time when the MADE IN THE USA and MADE IN CANADA inscriptions were actually synonymous with innovative, highly desirable and quality products. Today German products are revered as being the best and the standard by which all competitors are judged against. Well let’s wake up; there was a time when we North Americans and the products we produced were the envy of the free world.

5. RESULTS AND BEST SHAVE

I am easily satisfied with the very best. Winston Churchill

As Mr. Churchill says we should all be satisfied with the very best. Life does not reward second place finishes, but because of our society’s complacency and our individual sense of entitlement, we constantly settle for second best. Some of the greatest discoveries and advances known to man were made in post World War Two North America, by people from all walks of life with one common denominator, the collective desire for individual success; to be able to say I made it or I will die trying. We have lost that and I believe we should get it back. Some of you might say I digress but how can we be enthusiastic about our life’s success, if we do not properly attend to our personal needs first. We must give more care to our appearance, as it is this appearance that serves as the mirror to our sole and gages our individual levels of confidence and tenacity. I understand that nature has not endowed all of us equally, but we must act like it has; we need to eliminate the defeatist predispositions which have been enshrined in our psyches, forgetting the person we wish we could become, by focusing on becoming the best of who we are. We must become masters of our own destiny, focusing on the individual attributes as opposes to individual weaknesses. Consequently, if you do not want look like a cooked red beet or a freshly plucked chicken after your shave, use a razor with a blade, meaning a single or straight blade. Bang for the buck you cannot beat the results of traditional wet shaving. You will look and feel terrific, ready to take on the world.

6. ASSERTIVE ZEN

A daily injection of Zen-style self-awareness, hydrating, lathering, shaving and compelling the individual to slide his fingers over a freshly shaven face, in satisfaction; feel good internally and look good externally. Zen centers on an individual achieving enlightenment. Traditional wet shaving every morning is Zen like, in that it requires complete concentration and focus failing which you risk slicing your face, in exchange providing the shaver with a pleasing soothing experience. Again, I find most men ignore their spiritual and grooming needs in their quest to deal with life’s everyday stresses, not realizing that spending a few extra minutes a day can go a long way in helping them cope. Which scenario is more appealing to you: securing your tie as you are running for your car while dodging the dog, juggling the brief case-coffee mug, sitting in the car and then arriving at the office only to realize that you have a huge coffee stain on the button line of your favorite shirt worn to bring you luck during a career-making presentation, OR, making time to start the day of with a good shave and leaving the breakfast table after you have good-bye kissed your significant other and kids, arriving to work in a timely manner, in dapper form, ready for anything….I believe the answer is obvious, you will chose the latter; starting your workday in charge, without being overwhelmed; to quote one of Sting’s songs, Gentleman will walk but never run. Do not get me wrong, traditional wet shaving will not mysteriously transform you into someone you are not or cannot be, however it can go along way in making you the best person you are or that you can be.

One might ask, why do you waste your time using, an archaic safety razor and brush? Think of your response carefully. Mine would be “Because I can”. And I believe this to be answer enough.

7. IMAGINATION

To those of you that use vintage shaving equipment, have you ever thought of who owned the razor before you? I have purchased some old razors dating back to the 30s all the way until the early 80s. Many times as I interchangeably use the razors I cannot stop thinking about who owned the razor, what were their motives for using it and what were their overall impressions of shaving with it so many years before me. Who was the owner an average middle-aged guy like me or was he: young, old, poor, rich, good, bad, married, single, what kind of job did he have, was the razor a luxury or a necessity to him? etc.; as you can see the list of potential questions is infinite. To some extent it is like establishing a psychological provenance of the origins of your razor. All the while wondering how many more smooth faces this razor will help create after I have passed, and in whose hands will it end up in after mine. And by the way, how many original items that we use today, will be in regular use 60 years from now. I bet very few, if any at all.

Anyways I have said a lot; take time to read the post and not just the words. I believe that modern man has lost his way, in this era of fast food, fast service, fast everything, we need to slow down. Our lives have become like over simplified television shows hanging on by their one liners, advancing at lightening speeds and eventual cancellation. Have I scared you yet? So seize the day and jump on the traditional shave band wagon and do something for yourself, which I guarantee will make your life a little better. The shaving experience is a small step which can help a man get in touch with his inner self and start (morning shavers) his day off or end (evening shavers) his day off in a more pleasant fashion. Wet-shaving is a timeless ritual that affords practitioners unimaginable benefits and pleasure; hence I am sure the future diehards will still be using vintage safety razors and straight blades from the 19th century.

Happy Shaving and awaiting your comments.

Regards,


Sam

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 05-20-2012, 09:46 AM
#2
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Great post. A treatise that all wet-shavers, new and old alike, should read.

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 05-20-2012, 10:21 AM
#3
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Wonderfull post Sam !

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 05-20-2012, 10:23 AM
#4
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Great article Sam, thanks for the effort.

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 05-20-2012, 11:07 AM
#5
  • Howler
  • A calamophile and vintage razor lover
  • Fort Smith AR
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Sam, great post. Explains my sentiments.

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 05-20-2012, 11:30 AM
#6
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Sam, that was both well thought out and well executed in the style of writing. A+

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 05-20-2012, 11:42 AM
#7
  • Persius
  • On the learning curve
  • Reading, England
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Lovely prose. Speaks to quite a few of my views / motivations. Thanks for posting.

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 05-20-2012, 12:39 PM
#8
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That should be stickied.

A++ for you.

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 05-20-2012, 01:05 PM
#9
  • Harvey
  • Senior Member
  • North Hills CA
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Very excellent thoughts put beautifully !!! Our time in the Cave prepares us to take on the day..we become proud of our grooming and we put on a happy face....again well done ..you write well A++++

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 05-20-2012, 01:24 PM
#10
  • 4711
  • Member
  • England
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Zen and the art shaving !

Superb, well thought out and well written.. Oh to be articulate Cool

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 05-20-2012, 02:39 PM
#11
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Excellent. I still see friends cringe or smirk, when I mention tradition shaving. Now I can show them this article. Thanks!

Do you mind if I post the link to this on my Facebook page?

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 05-20-2012, 02:48 PM
#12
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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Great read, well done sir!

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 05-20-2012, 02:56 PM
#13
  • uncledave
  • Returned to DE Shaving After 40 years
  • Kentucky, USA
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(05-20-2012, 02:48 PM)ben74 Wrote: Great read, well done sir!

EXCELLENT POST. I really enjoy reading the great articles on this forum.

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 05-20-2012, 08:16 PM
#14
  • freddy
  • Senior Member
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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Well done! One of your points is a big one for me. I always wonder what path my vintage razors took before ending up with me. The other day I had a phenomenal shave with my 1907 Ever-Ready lather catcher and I couldn't help but wonder who got this razor more than 100 years ago, when it was new. What roads has it traveled, where has it called home? Of course, I'll never know but the adventures those daydreams take me on are priceless. Smile

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 05-20-2012, 10:27 PM
#15
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Sam, you pretty well summed it up. I say bring back the 50's. Slow down, smell the roses, enjoy life.

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 05-20-2012, 10:27 PM
#16
  • tgutc
  • Senior Member
  • Michigan
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Great post! This should be on the portal page for everyone to read.

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 05-20-2012, 10:29 PM
#17
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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(05-20-2012, 10:27 PM)tgutc Wrote: Great post! This should be on the portal page for everyone to read.

Well, I just made it a sticky for the top of this section. It is a great read.

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 05-20-2012, 10:56 PM
#18
  • tgutc
  • Senior Member
  • Michigan
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Thanks Johnny. Yes it is a great read. Very well written and I'm sure there was a lot of thought put into it.

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 05-21-2012, 02:15 AM
#19
  • Persius
  • On the learning curve
  • Reading, England
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We were sat in my father's back garden over the weekend, chatting after we had given him his 75th birthday presents, and I mentioned this forum because of the whole hosta thread in the Parlour (my father is a mad-keen gardener, and a host addict), which led, in turn, to a bit of discussion on DE shaving. My brother said to me that I have turned a chore into a hobby. He was being sarcastic and derogatory, but he's right. What was a nightmare is now a pleasure. If we could turn everything that we see as a problem into a pleasure, then the world would spin more happily on its axis.

Even washing the dishes can be done as a meditation, and a chance to catch up with a radio show or two ... although it is easier to enjoy shaving!

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 05-22-2012, 08:16 PM
#20
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Wow, that is very eloquently stated, sir! Well done!

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