Not long from now, I will be having my daily bath, and then shaving afterwards. That got me thinking about shaving. As I have never had a beard or moustache, and never been one to go out unshaven, I have spent a lot of time at this daily ritual.
I began shaving regularly around the age of seventeen, when I first started work. I am now sixty-six, so that’s forty-nine years of shaving every day, seven days a week. Allowing for leap years, that means I have shaved 17,885 times. I should deduct some days for when I felt too ill to shave, or couldn’t shave for some logistical reason. I will be generous, and allow 100 days for that. So 17,775 times, at the very least.
When I started out, I used simple soap as lather, and a Gillette Safety Razor, with a real razor blade. Small cuts were commonplace, and I quickly learned that the newer the blade, the better the shave. I later graduated to shaving foam in a can, then called ‘Foamy’. This was much better than ordinary soap, and worked really well. (I still use something similar today.)
I then went through my ‘electric period’. I was bought an electric shaver as a gift, and used it for some years. It worked well-enough, but never quite felt as effective, and didn’t leave my face feeling as ‘fresh’ as a real shave. So once the cartridge style razors became popular, I tried one, and have stuck with those ever since. I now use one that has five small blades in each cartridge, and gives a lovely close shave. But they are notoriously expensive, making shaving something of a luxury.
Over the years, I occasionally treated myself to a real barber shave, when getting a haircut. Nothing compares to the smoothness of a cut-throat razor, in the hands of an expert. With hot towels to follow, and a splash of the barber’s own cologne making my cheeks pucker, it felt as if my entire face had been replenished with brand new skin.
But for many years, I have cut my own hair, (what’s left of it) so wouldn’t consider making a trip into town just for a shave.
In an age where designer stubble is sported by many, and beards are the new fashion accessory, I remain committed to shaving. But of course I have no idea why it should have occupied my thoughts today.