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KDaddy’s General Observations: Shaving

10 Apr

Ah… I remember that I couldn’t wait to be grown up enough to shave! I’d watch my father shave with great curiosity as he’d lather up and put razor to face – those double-edge chumps that came in a thingy you needed to slide out with your thumb and into the razor that then needed to be adjusted to a number. I didn’t know why he used that kind of razor since I knew his father had a collection of straight razors that were works of art and granddad always used a straight razor to shave.

I remember my father changing to Magic Shaving Powder… and, oh, my god, did that stuff stink! It would smell up the whole apartment! I found it weird that instead of using one of the many – and different – razors he had, he shaved with a butter knife! Weird, stinky, but oddly cool. One day, I stood off to the side and watched him use a new kind of Magic Shaving Powder – it said, “Hot” on the label. Dad mixed it up – stank even worse than the other stuff did – and he pasted it on his face…

And started whooping and hollering and dancing around like he was on fire! I was laughing my ass off at my cool-assed dad not being so cool. I later learned that the hot shaving powder contained an exothermic chemical that got hot when exposed to water; you need heat to not only soften the skin but to “tenderize” facial hair to get a smooth and cut-free shave.

Dad didn’t like the fact I found his antics amusing. Still, man – I couldn’t wait to shave! Puberty hit me really early and I was growing hair everywhere; I went from having peach fuzz on my face to having a very noticeable mustache and sideburn and by the time I turned 13, yeah – I needed to shave and with great anticipation and a bit of trepidation, I got geared up to shave…

And learned to hate shaving. I’d learned that a styptic pencil wasn’t the kind of pencil you could write with – and that lesson came with a sore backside, by the way. I used to think it was funny to see my father walking around after shaving with little pieces of toilet paper stuck to his face…

That shit ain’t even funny. What made shit worse for me was that getting my beard to fully grow in was taking its own sweet time and, as I was told, the more I shaved, the more the hair would eventually grow in… but, yeah, it really doesn’t work like that – but that’s not the point. I was shaving so I could have those porkchop sideburns that were all the rage in the 70’s and I’ll even admit that I thought they looked good on me although, when I saw an old picture of myself sporting those sideburns, I found myself rolling my eyes and laughing at myself.

I really hated shaving. I hated nicking myself, feeling my face on fire afterward – then making it worse slapping on aftershave which I learned – the hard way – was more alcohol than anything else. My senior picture is one that shows me totally shaved… and thanks to a visit to my grandfather in Virginia who gave me a raft of shit for having the nerve to show up at his home and not be cleanly shaved – and made me shave and, believe me, that was a man you did not ever want to get on his wrong side.

I didn’t like my senior picture then… still don’t like it. Joined the service… had to shave; got into the workforce… had to shave. Tried using an electric shaver once… and my face looked and felt like someone had taken a cheese grater to my face and to make matters worse, I was one of those Black men who suffered from ingrown hairs and I learned quickly how to take a needle and ease the hairs out before they turned into cysts that I’d often wind up having surgically removed.

Did I mention how much I fucking hate shaving? Being the rather analytical critter I tend to be, I wondered why shaving was so much of a problem – was it the shaving cream or the razor… or a combination of both? Over the intervening years, I’d tried all sorts of creams and gels, just about every razor that existed – except straight razors because those fuckers scared the shit out of me – and while I would have good, clean, and cut-free shaves, eh, that wasn’t always the case. One “advantage” I had was that I didn’t get that five o’clock shadow thing; it still takes a few days after shaving before my shadow shows up so my saving grace was that unlike a lot of men, I didn’t have to shave every day or, as some guys had to, twice a day.

I’ve been told that I look kinda nice with a full beard and I’d probably stick with it… if it didn’t make my face itch and get so unruly that I look like a wild man. I’d trim it down to get that five o’clock shadow look that, on some men, looks really sexy and once I started shaving my head – funny story about that – well, made sense to shave both head and face.

Still didn’t change the fact that I hate shaving… but, yeah, I still shave because in the summer, well, for me, being all hairy like that isn’t fun to sweat and get all itchy and the like. I’d gone with Shick’s five-bladed razor and Gillette’s gel shaving stuff but, damn it, I’d still get irritation, ingrown hairs, some cysts that were a bitch to get rid of and nicks galore, which gets interesting because I take Plavix – a blood thinner. Sometimes I’d cut myself and didn’t even know it and look in the mirror and, yep and oh, shit – I’m bleeding! Or my baby will tell me that I was or I’d go to rub my face and feel crusty blood on my face.

I fucking hate shaving… but I also don’t like looking scruffy. I decided that something had to change so I switched from the Gillette gel I’d been using for years to something new: Cremo. I mean, this stuff couldn’t be any worse than everything else I’ve tried and the biggest draw for me was that the tube had a 90-day supply and it actually costs less than the gel I was buying. The first time I shaved with Cremo – and the sandalwood scented one, I noticed two things.

One was that shit smelled really good… and the other was that it made sliding the razor over my face damned near effortless – and that was using a blade that, admittedly, I’d been using way past it’s “sharpness date” because those things are prohibitively expensive. I’d seen stuff about the Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s and while even my son-in-law put in a few good words about… one of them – I forget which one – I was on the fence about joining one even though I kept telling myself that it would probably be more cost effective.

So I broke down and, thanks to an ad I saw on Facebook, hooked myself up with a razor named Defender – and because they had a nice introductory price and, compared to other new-age razors I’d been seeing, a different approach to blade spacing – and the makers of this razor highly recommended Cremo as the shaving medium of choice. So, as much as I hate shaving, I gave this razor a shot – even bought some extra blades for it, you know, just in case it did live up to the advertised hype.

I, um, I kinda like shaving now… and I really do think the Cremo is the real reason why. It comes in different scents and I had the sandalwood scent… then turned around and order more sandalwood and their sage and citrus scented stuff which gives me 270 days of stuff to shave with because you really don’t need to slather on a whole lot of it. And then got “pissed” because when my shipment arrived, I discovered they have one they call Bourbon and Oak… and my, does it smell heavenly and, yeah, even though I don’t – and won’t – need more any time soon, I’m gonna get that bourbon and oak one anyway.

The new razor is actually nice because it doesn’t clog up and rinses clean and, yeah, I’ve let my beard grow out some so I can make it get clogged up – and it hasn’t. The Cremo? I don’t know what to tell you about it but its maker says it’s impossibly slick – and it is and the cool thing about it is that if I need to go over a spot I think I missed, all I have to do is wet my fingers a little and rub – and “like magic” there’s more slick stuff between my face and the razor.

With this new combination, I’ve only nicked myself once – and that was my fault all the way. I have not had a single ingrown hair and I can shave every other day instead of maybe once or twice a week because it’s really comfortable; no nicks, no tugging or scraping to irritate my skin. I actually find myself waking up and hoping that I have to shave! Okay, even though I knew what the sage and citrus smelled like – definitely took a whiff of it when I got it – I switched from the sandalwood I had originally bought at the supermarket (which gives me about two and a half tubes of it) to the sage and citrus, not because it was going to make shaving any different… but I love the way it smells on me.

I’ve found myself wishing that I had learned about this Cremo stuff before I actually did. I’m not gonna say that the new razor doesn’t also make a difference but, again, outside of that one nick, no cuts, no scrapes; no tugging, no irritation; no ingrown hairs… and Cremo just smells heavenly and isn’t as messy as using a foam or gel. The makers say a little goes a long way and they weren’t lying about that. They say you only need about an almond-size amount… and I use less than that.

The only thing that would make this better would be someone coming up with a razor blade that stayed sharp longer. I haven’t tried shaving my head with this new combo – that’ll be the real test and especially for the razor since I learned that because the texture of the hair on my head – and what hair I have left – is very different from the hair on my face and, as such, using other razors were only good for one or two good shaves before giving up the ghost. I haven’t shaved my head yet… because it’s fucking cold outside but come the summer heat, oh, yeah, it’ll get done and I’m hoping it’s going to keep being a good experience and the new razor will be equal to the task.

This might sound like a rousing testimony for Cremo and the Defender razor… and it really isn’t. It’s just something that crossed my mind… after I shaved today and because I can still smell sage and citrus on me… but I’m sure as fuck gonna get that bourbon and oak and as soon as I can make it happen.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on 10 April 2020 in KDaddy's General Observations

 

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2 responses to “KDaddy’s General Observations: Shaving

  1. LarryArcher

    10 April 2020 at 21:30

    I agree shaving is a bitch. Now that I’m working from home, I can skip a day but it’s not worth the effort as it takes more than twice as long to shave but I’m using an electric, which is not as efficient as a blade. Wifey is lasered and never has to shave, she’s bald from the eyebrows down. It’s kind of cool as she always slick and you never get a hair in your mouth!

    Like

     

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