03-22-2012, 01:58 PM
  • Johnny
  • Emeritus
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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The Decline and Resurgence of Wet Shaving

Awhile back, I found myself in the position of trying to explain my interest in traditional wet shaving to my 27 and 34-year old sons. They are modern men and they use modern shaving tools because, well...it's what modern guys do.

As I described the process to them, the pleasure, and the advantages.... one item provoked the strongest reaction. They were dismayed that I took 20 minutes to shave in the morning and that's really when it hit me. When you look at the rise of technology and the decline of manly rituals, inevitably the clock is to blame. We have sacrificed a whole host of pleasures on the altar of time and we are ultimately the poorer for it.

The pipe gives way to the cigarette. The ocean liner gives way to the airplane. The restaurant becomes the drive-through and the conversation becomes the text message...and all because we, as men, continue to believe that if we could just save a bit more time in our day we'd be able to really get to the things we wanted to do. Ironically, in the pursuit of having enough time to do what we want we are forced to dilute or discard the very things we wanted in the first place...and so our vitality dwindles away with every tick of the relentless clock.

Perhaps that is why in some sense we're all here at The Shave Nook. We want to recapture a forgotten pleasure. We want to revel in the luxury of choosing what we do with our morning routine and most of all, we want to remember the simple joy of not taking the quickest or most expedient road, but the sweet meandering path of our own curiosity.

This past weekend as I was rushing through a morning shave I thought about all of this. I took a breath, and remembered that there was nothing on the agenda that couldn't wait just a few minutes more. In the moment of that realization, I became once again the master of the clock instead of its servant and my little daily ritual took on an added sweetness that hadn't been there just a moment before.

I wish for everyone here a similar moment of timeless indulgence. In the day-to-day flow of obligation and expectation, I encourage you to find a moment to ignore the demands of the clock and take pleasure in this mutual interest we all share. Gentlemen, I wish for you all a truly excellent shave.

- Johnny -

189 26,353
 03-22-2012, 02:05 PM
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
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Great article Johnny! Thank you for sharing.

54 22,554
 03-22-2012, 02:27 PM
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Beautiful sentiments and words, Johnny - so true! Well done!! Smile

73 4,356
 03-22-2012, 05:05 PM
  • Manticore
  • Old And In The Way
  • Manchester, New Hampshire
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I have to say Johnny, you have an outstanding way of putting things into perspective. Simply outstanding!

0 137
 03-22-2012, 05:27 PM
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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Thumbup Very! well said Johnny, I look forward to my 20 to 30 minutes of me time every 36 hours. Thumbup

23 1,872
 03-22-2012, 06:17 PM
  • wingdo
  • The Dude Abides
  • Florida
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Very well said Johnny. As someone who's livelihood is technology, I appreciate the ability to save time on things. The problem I see with (god I hate to say this as it makes me sound so damned old (49)) is that it seems that most of the youngest generations seem content on shaving time (no pun intended) from EVERYTHING. The idea is to save time on items you do not enjoy to make time for those which you do.

I am delighted that last year a co-worker talked me into going back to true wet shaving, the way I learned to shave. Now I do take my time enjoying an item which was once a chore. The most interesting part to me is that when it was a chore I was done in 2-3 minutes (electric), and now that I am enjoying the task it is taking me 20.

129 4,001
 03-22-2012, 07:14 PM
  • freddy
  • Banned
  • San Diego, California, U.S.A.
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I actually put out my shaving gear the night before so I can take my time deciding what I want to use for the next morning's shave. It just extends the pleasure. Smile

2 5,000
 03-22-2012, 09:28 PM
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I'm retired, so maybe I'm not typical.

When I had a 9-5 I basically woke before my shift, did everything else other than shave, and got to work. If I shaved it was on "their " time. If I didn't shave for days on end I didn't care. It was eat, sleep, dump, go to work, repeat for the shift schedule.

Most end of shift cycle I could find time to shave for my off days and I shave before shift change on my last day. I'd look like crap for "them" but I wanted to look better for me on my time.

Today it's all "me" . I shave everyday, and frankly I enjoy it, so Aaaaa I do it for me. I don't give a rats patoot about time except when it calls me right there front and center, so I want an efficient shave for then.

32 6,609
 03-22-2012, 09:34 PM
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Beautiful piece, Johnny - thanks for all you do for the wet shaving community! Smile

0 1,377
 03-22-2012, 09:46 PM
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That is an excellent article. It makes one pause and reflect, and remember that even a short bit of time can still bring a fellow some peace and contentment.

0 308
 03-23-2012, 01:19 AM
  • Colcurinho
  • Member
  • From the land of Semogue, Musgo Real, ..
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Beautiful words Johnny.

But this is not an article only for young people. For old people too. My father should read this article as well, like many fathers worldwide.

0 106
 03-23-2012, 04:40 AM
  • ben74
  • Senior Member
  • Perth, Australia
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Well said!

101 18,026
 03-23-2012, 06:28 AM
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Well said johnny, that's the perfect attitude to life in genral, I also have two sons of a simular age to yourself, and fully understand where you are comming from, shaving is something that cannot or should not be rushed, no time scale it's your little moment enjoy it.


17 2,183
 03-23-2012, 06:30 AM
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Nice article. I do have to say it is not the equipment that makes the experience though. I have always used a straight or DE my whole life. The lesson my father taught me was about personal grooming and part of being a man was to take the time to look your best so you feel your best before you walked out the door in the morning. It was more about ethic, then technique or equipment. I taught my nephews the same way. Two of them have switched to carts and one uses an electric now. They still take the time in the morning to prepare and groom themselves for the day. So the lesson has stuck with them like it stuck with me when my Dad showed me.

4 854
 03-23-2012, 07:48 AM
  • Java
  • Active Member
  • Cartersville, Georgia, USA
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(03-22-2012, 01:58 PM)Johnny Wrote: ......and all because we, as men, continue to believe that if we could just save a bit more time in our day we'd be able to really get to the things we wanted to do..........

There it is right there. For most of us, what really happens is the time we've sacrificed more often than not gets used up accomplishing even more of the things that make us crazy, rather than what we want to do.

I just returned from a conference of Salvation Army officers (pastors). The Christmas season (around here known as "Red Kettle" season) is our busiest time of year, and it's followed by the "weather" season (floods, tornados, soon to include hurricanes, etc) which we feel it's our duty to respond to. Every man and woman in the room admitted they could count their days off since November on one hand. The speaker spent quite a while trying to get through our heads that no matter how much you enjoy your job, the way we are "wired" as human beings requires that we take some time to ourselves once in a while even if it's just a few minutes a day. Then of course the light bulb lit up for me. That's why I've been in a much better mood all day for the last couple of months. Because of my little 15 minute break from the world every morning. Better mental health through shaving......who'd have thunk it.

Great article, Johnny.

0 273
 03-23-2012, 11:30 PM
  • CMur12
  • Semogueiro de Coração
  • Moses Lake, Washington State, USA
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I'm really impressed with the thoughts, the organization, and the language that make up this article, Johnny. Good points typically forgotten and very masterfully presented.

- Murray

4 1,150
 03-24-2012, 04:43 AM
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That was great Johnny. I am in total agreement with you. I think we might be making some progress. Slowly but surely guys will realize how great real wet shaving is.

149 14,591
 03-24-2012, 07:36 AM
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Extremely well said, Johnny. When my nephew gets his first hint of peach fuzz, I intend to have the shaving talk with him. When it's time for him to shave, he'll be starting with a '40s Super Speed and a Simpson brush. I'd like to be the Johnny Appleseed of proper razors, handing them out to every 14-year-old I meet to engender a generation of thoughtful, deep-living men.

9 165
 03-24-2012, 08:30 AM
  • Leon
  • Active Member
  • Porto, Portugal
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(03-22-2012, 01:58 PM)Johnny Wrote: I wish for everyone here a similar moment of timeless indulgence. In the day-to-day flow of obligation and expectation, I encourage you to find a moment to ignore the demands of the clock and take pleasure in this mutual interest we all share. Gentlemen, I wish for you all a truly excellent shave.

(03-23-2012, 07:48 AM)Java Wrote: Better mental health through shaving......who'd have thunk it.

Very well written, gentlemen.

I think that we are all busy human beings, but one has to try to get the most of every minute of the day. And when I say "to get the most" I don't mean to do it the fastest way possible, but the most enjoyable way possible.

There are many small examples.

Just like it's better to eat a nice homecook meal with a valuable companion than a tasteless frozen meal alone, it's also better to enjoy a nice shave using real products that provide a comfortable experience, than a modern and quick shave.

4 318
 03-25-2012, 07:26 AM
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Very well put. I'm curious myself as to the "resurgence" in wet shaving popularity. Perhaps it just seems like a resurgence to me because I'm new to the process, experiencing it all for the first time, and projecting that onto everyone else. Even if the increase in numbers isn't rapid, I imagine sometime in the future you might see a small spike in interest in the traditional methods. With a lot of people tightening their belts these days, I can imagine it's only a matter of time before $3 a cartridge for a Gillete Mach 9 fails to seem attractive to anyone. Shaving is pretty much a necessity for most. After being cornered and gouged for so long I can imagine the financial climate might cause many people to put their feet down and look into more cost effective alternatives. Great article!

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