Posted by Dirck on 20 November, 2014
Man, that’s quite a word, eh? Classy, but absolutely dripping with menace.
…well, I guess it would be dripping, if it hadn’t all run out. Still a wonderful word.
In the very early days of my activity here, I confessed to a youthful indiscretion involving the destruction and loss (not necessarily in that order) of a couple of authentically old pens glommed from an antique store. I was then more given to early adoption of technology, but I was also interested in the ways of days gone past. In addition to those pens, I also looked into…
Straight razors. Scary!
I actually bought one, too. After a couple of attempts to sharpen it without access to any appropriate stropping surfaces, I had a couple of goes at shaving with it.
Very tentative goes. I’d first heard of Sweeney Todd when I was about seven, and the lesson stuck. My youthful beard was somewhat reduced, but between the unstropped blade, the unwillingness to open a vein, and absolutely no sense of which angle to hold the thing at, the results were disappointing. Not “head almost entirely separated from shoulders” disappointing, for which I am grateful, but the straight razor went into a drawer. I’m sure my parents breathed a sigh of relief.
More recently, some correspondents have been talking about their entry into the Magical World of Wet Shaving. Being in the bearded camp, my shaving has long been limited to a small band of neck (because “neck-beard” has troublesome connotations), and I have flitted between disposables and an elderly electric razor. Moved to curiosity by these other chaps, though, I had a look at the site most of them get their stuff from.
I’m moved to give it a try, as I find that neither the blades nor the holder that constitute a safety razor are very expensive. They’re more expensive, as a unit, than disposables, but there’s less wasted plastic involved. The elderly electric razor remains on call, and the cost per use at this point is essentially nil, but it also doesn’t do a lot more to remove hair than that straight razor did, and appears to work mainly by generating enough heat to shrivel the beard it touches.
And now I’ve had a chance to try it. My discoveries over the first couple of uses have been good and bad. On the good side, it does a cracking good job of knocking down the beard, and there’s a lot less fouling of the blade than the disposables suffered which means I use less water in the process. And it remains below 600° at all times, which puts it ahead of the electric.
On the down side… well, something in the difference of blade presentation between the safety razor and disposables means a habit I’ve been in of not applying anything to the skin but a little water is no longer viable. The initial discovery of this was accompanied by a certain amount of yelling, and followed by a great deal of clean-up of the sort that Lady MacBeth would be familiar with.
So, now I have spent the money to get some rather well-smelling shaving soap and a proper brush to apply it (a nail-brush didn’t cut the mustard). I now have a smooth neck without constant threat of beheading, without blistering, without adding unnecessarily to landfills, and without constant soaking of my collars in cold water to keep the stains from setting.
All thanks to a technology that slightly pre-dates fountain pens. I’m pleased, and not very surprised. Which is good– getting surprised by a razor usually ends poorly.
…and because it’s Thursday, there’s a progress report, too: