June 12, 2005
I forgot to bring a razor with me on our weekend getaway. I was swapping out the Merkur Progress razor in my dop kit with a Gillette adjustable (this is how bad my sickness has become: I have at least three of every kind of razor that I routinely shave with, so I can have the same razor in both of our bathrooms and my dop kit at all times — which means, of course, that when I decide to use a different razor, I swap out the other two, even if I don’t plan to shave in the upstairs bathroom or go on a trip any time soon), but something must have distracted me in mid-swap, because I removed the Merkur but didn’t replace it with the Gillette.
When I saw the razor was missing this morning, I knew I had two options. I could run out to the drugstore and pick up some Bic disposables, whatever single-blade jobs they had. Or I could use my sister-in-law’s leg shaver, that ubiquitous green oval Gillette with the off-spec men’s Sensor twin-blade cartridges repackaged for fem-gam use that every woman I know has in the corner of her shower stall.
Somehow, my wife convinced me there was a Third Way. Just don’t shave. It’s Sunday, after all, the traditional day of not-shaving that’s practically a universal heterosexual male trend these days with near-total adherence.
Don’t shave? Was she insane? Surely, she above all others knows that if good shave = good day, and bad shave = bad day, then no shave must mean….well, what, exactly? No day? That doesn’t make any sense. All I know is, I look forward to my morning shave like it’s breakfast, coffee, a cigar, and the Sunday Times all wrapped into one. I haven’t skipped a daily shave since I started this whole old-school wetshaving trip. Haven’t wanted to. But even less did I want to cadge a shave off my sister-in-law’s Lady Sensor. So I blew the whole thing off.
My wife tells me she likes me with a day or two’s worth of whiskers. This is the only time I feel she ever lies to me. Why would she want to be married to a hobo? Some guys’ beards grow in evenly, so a day or two’s stubble looks like a continuous layer, like the short fuzz beard on ’70s black G.I. Joes. Same stuff as black light posters. Flocking, I think they call it.
Me, I grow stubble like a hobo, or an escaped mental patient. A thatch here, a patch there, and whole areas of little or no growth which have no complementary partner on the other side of my face. Trust me, I’d be all the way okay to skip shaving every once in awhile if I looked good while doing it. But I don’t. Which is why I’m fanatical about shaving every day, even if it’s a weekend, even if I don’t plan on leaving the house, even if I won’t see another living creature for the next 24 hours. I tell people I live by the adage “A Gentleman shaves every day”, but the truth is, I look like a jackass if I don’t shave. People stare hard when I venture out in public, and god forbid I smile at a small child — the torches and pitchforks come out immediately. Society has made it abundantly clear to me over the years that it wants me to shave, and shave regularly, if I want to be a part of it. So I do. I even love it, now that I’ve found the right way to do it. But I never, ever forget why I do it.
Anyway, I went the whole day stroking my raspy chin until we drove home and I went straight to the bathroom and stole a rewarding, leisurely shave with the most decadent He-Man rig I’ve got — the mighty Merkur Vision razor, Trumper Violet cream, and Vulfix silvertip #2235 brush. Took my time, emerged with a face of pure white alabaster, and felt like a human for the first time all day.
I can’t trust myself to remember to bring a razor when I travel. I should really just keep on on my person at all times, just in case something like this ever happens again. You think I’m joking.