For many, many years, Jack has shaved his rugged, manly face and chiseled chin with a Gillette Mach3 razor: a system with a cheap handle and expensive three-bladed cartridges. This, along with Edge Shave Gel, gave Jack what he thought was a pretty good shave.
But during conversation over a game of chess a few months ago, the matter of shaving came up, as it does with well-groomed gentlemen. Bruce let on that he used the India-made Parker double-edge razor with Japanese Feather brand blades.
|A double-edge, or safety, razor. The blades are of of honed steel. Multi-bladed injection-molded cartridge razors are to this as Miller Lite is to real beer.|
But like a good aftershave, the idea lingered. It had attraction: it suggested gadgetry (which I love), and connoisseuroisty* (which I also love); it appealed to me and a seed was planted which eventually flowered into curiosity and, shortly thereafter, into acquisition.
For Christmas I asked for a hard rubber shaving mug, the kind you could rattle a shaving brush around in without fear of breaking or loud rattly noises. My admirable daughter obliged.
And once that thing was in my hands, I was hooked.
Within a week, I had ordered an Edwin Jagger DE87 safety razor, a puck of Mitchell's Wool Fat shaving soap, a Simpson badger shaving brush, a bespoke Dirty Bird pottery scuttle,** an assortment of blades, a styptic pencil to quench the newbie hemorrhaging, other necessary accouterments such as lotions, aftershaves and balms, and cheerfully embarked on the quest for a manly man's Damn Fine Shave.
At time of writing, I've only been shaving with the razor for a few weeks. I am but a tyro, a newbie. It is harder than shaving with a cartridge razor. It requires practice and skillfulness. One must proceed mindfully.
I nicked myself a lot at the beginning.
Some brands of blades are sharper than others and beginners need to be careful. After trying several blades, I've settled on Gillette 7 O' Clock "Yellow" blades as a comfortable and effective blade to use while I develop my skill.
I'm getting better; my shaves are becoming dependably baby-butt smooth and miles better than anything I ever got from a supermarket blade. I'm glad I switched. Supermarket cartridge razors are clearly the Two Buck Chuck of shaving.
I'm enjoying, as Bruce says, "[...] the ancient and manly ritual of soap, brush and blade." And, like he found, "[...] it gives a better and more comfortable shave."
But is it manly enough? Bob Woodward, former Bend mayor, local mountain biker, Scottish beer afficionado, occasional writer for The Source Weekly, raconteur, and man-about-town tells me that he shaves with a straight razor:
* A neologism a day keeps lazy readers at bay.
** Not yet here; Dirty Bird scuttles are hand-made.