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Old 05-07-2008, 08:24 AM   #1
Cheesebeast
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Default Safety Razors Are A Dirty Lie

In an effort to conceal my true nature I shave every damn day.

A couple of decades ago my tool of choice was a "safety" razor. Choice really didn't have much to do with it, as a "safety" razor was what my old man used. My brother and I dutifully tried our best with the Gillette Slice & Dice Specials he bestowed upon us. I suspect "Safety" razors were given their name by the same marketing company that termed the Titanic to be !Unsinkable! and large warehouses to be !Fireproof!.

Time heals all wounds, but I had plenty to heal. Technique was the big problem- being impatient and youthful and frankly grossly incompetent I took short cuts. Blade not cutting? Bear down on it. Face drying out? Speed up the process. Change the blade? Why bother! The razor I had also had an adjustable head on it. You could change the angle of the blade and I think I changed it every time I shaved. I never could find a "magic" setting for that razor. In other words, I was young.

I will cut things short and not outline all of the salty blood spurting Errol Flynn slashing mistakes of my youth. Suffice to say when I was done slicing and dicing it would have been faster to wrap my entire head like a mummy in toilet paper and rip the mask off- leaving the dozen or so wounds covered with paper.

My girlfriends at the time found my shaving habits "quaint". They used disposable razors and foofoo shaving gels and all kinds of frippery. Frippery being for chicks, I soldiered on with my toilet paper and rusty blades of GLORY. My aftershave was made out of pure alcohol stained blue and putting it on felt like slapping my face with a electrified flaming porcupine.

Eventually, though, I got tired of blood stains on the collars of my shirts. I went the disposable route, and found they were inadequate for the job of shaving, and instead of cutting the hair (and my nose) off they instead just burned the hair off via friction. The blades actually felt hot on my face due to the fact they were dull when they were factory fresh.

I think I read that the blades of disposable razors were made out of surplus submarines. I don't know if that was true or not, but I think there is a reason no one ever tried to sharpen a submarine.

In an effort to mask inadequacy, the Gillette company decided to start adding blades to disposable razors at about the same time McDonalds started to stack hamburger patties. The multi-bladed jobs provided a leap in product efficiency from inadequate to barely marginal. The price ballooned up into the stratosphere. The television commercials were pretty convincing, though.

Some fella was shaving with such devil-may-care on the TV screen it made you wince. Try that with ye old Safety Razor, Mr. Shaving Model- I DARE YOU. Round the chin he would go at Mach 3 Turbo Speed, and you could just envision him hacking off the cleft in his chin like the slicer they use at the deli counter. No amount of toilet paper in the world would staunch that flow!

The product appealed to my youthful lack of time management skills. I could bear down on my face. I could get away (for a while) with a dullish razor. I could let my face dry out during shaving...

What I didn't realize is that I was accepting a marginal product at a premium price. I had become accustomed to a disposable razor at that time.

Fast forward to today. When my grandfather passed away he left several arcane possessions behind. One was a ceramic mug with a dried up piece of soap (?) in it. Also there was an odd brush that was made in England out of "100% badger hair". I treated these artifacts with the same regard as you would treat a mammoth that defrosted its way out of a glacier. I did wonder if there were a lot of hairless badgers staggering about Britain.

Naturally, there was a "safety" razor and a selection of double edged razor blades. The safety razor was ancient but the blades were not. Coming from a long line of Scots, I checked the price tag. Whoa there! They were "cheap" compared to the Mach 3 Highway Robbery models I was using.

Maybe it was false nostalgia, maybe it was siren song of Thrift, I dunno. I bought a new safety razor and a selection of blades. I even bought a ceramic mug, a badger hair brush, and a piece of shaving soap.

This morning I assembled my tools of self-destruction. I had forgotten how thin double edged safety razor blades are- they flex easily. I was nervous putting the blade into the head of the razor. I chose a model that was not adjustable, so at least I eliminated one variable.

Wet shaving is no slap dash affair. You have to get your face wet and keep it wet. I had never used shaving soap before, or a shaving brush for that matter. Reading the instructions, it told me to wet the brush. Once I had that done I lathered up the soap and spread it all over my face. Normally I use crappy cheap shaving cream that comes in a can. I buy whatever is on sale and my only loyalty is to my stash of filthy lucre.

The shaving soap didn't leave much of a lather on my face. At this point I was interrupted. My daughter burst in to tell me something critical about a stolen poptart or other breakfast treat. Ignoring the poptart affair I told her to stick around and catch the carnage. I told her I was going to defy death and dismemberment and use something I was convinced would cut me open. All in the name of "saving" money, of course. A healthy wad of toilet paper was readied and I prepared to resurrect the good old days.

She told me with a healthy "no way!" was she going to witness my foolishness. She left intent on pounding on her little brother for his poptart thievery. I would have to intervene downstairs at any moment, so I got down to business.

The key to these razors is to use no pressure. You just slide it down the face. It takes some getting used to- particularly trying to follow the path of hair growth. I reapplied more soap during the process. The result? It was the closest shave I think I have ever had. Literally, not figuratively- and no TP needed. My face felt tight- like a drum. My wife was unimpressed, but knowing her she sure would have enjoyed seeing me covered in little bits of toilet paper. Later, baby. Later...

I rinsed out my prized 100% pure badger hair brush and then hung it properly (bristles down) for it to air dry (they make a special rack for the purpose).

It is rare that I can honestly say that the products available today for any task may not be as good as what was available decades ago. This may be the exception to that "rule".

Next up? Straight razors. It was nice getting to know all of you.

Smooches,
Cheesebeast

Last edited by Cheesebeast : 05-07-2008 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:46 AM   #2
sarnali2
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Excellent writing Cheese-o, worth a Pulitzer at least!

I went through about a year of shaving my head recently being too cheap to keep paying for haircuts and too thin on top to let it grow out. However shaving my bean every few days was an even bigger pain in the ass than shaving my cheeks and neck everyday so I guess I'll just grow a Skullet, buy a b*tchin' Camaro and rock on dude !
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Old 05-07-2008, 09:14 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by sarnali2 View Post
Excellent writing Cheese-o, worth a Pulitzer at least!

I went through about a year of shaving my head recently being too cheap to keep paying for haircuts and too thin on top to let it grow out. However shaving my bean every few days was an even bigger pain in the ass than shaving my cheeks and neck everyday so I guess I'll just grow a Skullet, buy a b*tchin' Camaro and rock on dude !
That first time shaving the dome is an experiance. The vibrations from shaving go all the way down your spine. I gave up on shaving quick and just used the clippers with no attachement. More like a 5 o'clock shadow but cleaner, quicker and easier. With no freaky vibes down the spine...
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Old 05-07-2008, 09:39 AM   #4
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Yo Sarnali.

A skullet AND a hi-viz 'Stitch?

That could represent thin ice- history is littered with sad tales of mortals who raised the jealousy of the gods.

Do you really think the world is ready for a Hi-Viz Skullet Sex Machine? Sometimes a man has to do what a man has to do, but DAMN.

As an aside does anyone know why hair migrates as we get older? Why did my body think it would be a good idea to sprout hair out of my ears and on my back? Why are those areas suddenly so darn important?
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Old 05-07-2008, 12:10 PM   #5
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I have two words for you: Rolls Razor.

This handy little device is designed to fall somewhere between the typical "straight razor" and the "safety razor". Infinitely more-dangerous than the safety, marginally less-lethal than handing the straight to a pyssed-off chimpanzee. Comes in its own silver metal case that's well-crafted cleverly into the sharpener and hone. looks something like a large, expensive PDA at first blush.

If I can locate the one I inherited from Dad, I'll post a pic or three.
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Old 05-07-2008, 12:20 PM   #6
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Rolls Razor? Never heard of it. Sounds dangerous, yet simultaneously luxurious.

Like storing arsenic in fine Baccarat crystal...
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Old 05-07-2008, 12:47 PM   #7
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Yo Sarnali.

A skullet AND a hi-viz 'Stitch?

That could represent thin ice- history is littered with sad tales of mortals who raised the jealousy of the gods.

Do you really think the world is ready for a Hi-Viz Skullet Sex Machine? Sometimes a man has to do what a man has to do, but DAMN.

True, true, I had thought of that. The mullet and Camaro worked pretty well when I was in my 20's, having the Sportster was overkill actually but a mans gotta spread his oats as it were. Alas, the years have been less than kind and I do like my beer.... The beer belly and skullet might be more than the poor things can stand, it's so embarressing when they just throw themselves at you...

I suppose I could double up on the Viagra and do appointments only...... the target demographic tend to be more understanding (though no saner) than their younger sisters. ......
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Last edited by sarnali2 : 05-07-2008 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 05-07-2008, 02:17 PM   #8
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Ah, Wikipedia; how thou art always one-step beyond mere-mortals such as myself:

Rolls Razor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ignore the "Washing Machine" paragraphs.

I'm surprised Rolls Razor Ltd. wasn't a Lucas subsidiary.

I did try shaving with this handy little device once - never made it to my face, the scar is still on my thumb from "testing" the edge (yes it was damn sharp!).

My Dad claimed to have used it during his first active-duty stint in the Navy in the early '60s; I believe he picked it up in the Phillipines. However, the absence of any dried blood and chunks of flesh in the casing when I first examined it belie such stories.
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Old 05-07-2008, 05:33 PM   #9
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Electric razer every few days.
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Old 05-07-2008, 06:21 PM   #10
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I used to keep a straight razor in my boot when I was in Nam. Never shaved with it though. I did learn that if you spent your spare time stropping it people would generally leave you alone. Which can be a good thing when you are in the rear with the gear. For some reason you seldom get picked for the shyt details.

To shave (occasionally) I used a Gillette safety razor and the blue blades 'cause they were the cheapest. Smoked a lot of Kool's too... and other things.

After I seperated form the Nav I just said f*** it and grew a beard. After the beard turned mostly white a few years back I got rid of it. Now I use one of those 3 bladed contraptions every few days. My boss doesn't complain. Might have something to do with that staight razor I carry in my boot. I call her "Catherine".

Excuse me but I got the idea that this is a free association thread. Am I wrong?
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