Monogamous Shaving: Day Six
June 6, 2005
Hooray! Huzzah! Excelsior! A mediocre shave! It disproves my entire (feared) theory that shaving with the same razor, blade type, brush, and cream every day, without dicking around all the time with different combos, or moving back and forth between a DE and a straight razor, etc., is the surest route to the Perfect Shave! It’s….it’s….
It’s a lie.
My shave this morning was perfect. Again.
Smooth, effortless, quick. No irritation or red marks on my neck. That Merkur HD zipped across my face like it had wings. Every day since I stopped swapping out razors and creams and decided to try using the same rig for a week straight to see if things improved, my shave’s quality has jumped to a new high. And my dread of the horrible truth that I may never be able to enjoy the dicking around of days of yore and still enjoy the same shave o’ the gods grows more palpable with each pass of the blade.
The hugely perverse thing about this realization is that the information benefits absolutely no one. The hardcore shavegeeks on the shaving forums couldn’t keep with the same rig for two days straight if their lives depended on it — these damaged psyches are chemically unable to sustain a sensible regimen for any extended period, and crazily whip out the plastic every time some excitable trust fund brat raves about a razor or brush that’s the new best thing ever, only to abandon it right after the pack picks up on it. And regular guys who’ve never heard of wetshaving or the odd online forums which cater to its more codependent devotees are going to stick to their Mach3 and Edge gel anyway, which means their shaves will go on sucking forever.
I admit, it’s not easy sticking to this routine. It’s boring. Ever since I got turned onto DE razors, and all the different kinds of blades you can load them with, and all the different brushes and grades of badger hair, and especially all the different, incredible smelling creams from Trumper, Taylor, Truefitt & Hill, Proraso, Musgo Real, et al, it’s been an orgy of self-indulgent luxury every morning. It’s not just about getting a better shave — it’s about holding a precision machined metal razor in your hand instead of some cheap plastic junk, and spreading shaving cream all over your face with a soft badger brush instead of simply wiping it on with your mitts, and having the scent of fresh cut violets hang all around your face instead of an industrial chemical smell that reminds you of when the janitor used to mop the halls of your high school. Everything about this trip spells quality. It’s the exact opposite of the Mach3 experience, where even the staunchest 3-blade defenders still bitch about paying two bucks a cartridge when they only give two or three good shaves before they start nicking and dragging on your face anyway.
I’ve got one more day to go. This experiment was a week’s worth of monogamous shaving, and tomorrow’s my last day. Will I keep to the routine, now that I’ve see proof that it works so well?
Are you kidding?!
First off, I just received my Filarmonica disposable blade straight razor in the mail, which I’ve been chomping at the bit to try ever since it hit my doorstep. Second, while I dearly love my Merkur HD (the first DE razor I ever shaved with), I also love using other DEs — most notably Merkur’s adjustable Progress and Futur models, as well as the mighty vintage Gillette adjustable DE, perhaps the greatest safety razor of them all. And I want to try my Dovo Shavette disposable blade straight razor again, to compare it with the Filarmonica using the same type DE blade snapped in half. One half goes into the Shavette, the other in the Filarmonica, and may the best faux cut throat win.
Also, the feared Feather straight razor continues to haunt my dreams — the sharpest blade I’ve ever encountered, by far, and the scariest razor I’ve ever shaved with. I’ve gotten good results with it, but not great results, as my straight razor technique could definitely use some work. I want to keep at it until I get good enough to get the kind of shave the vets like Dr. Moss speak of. I am not a man of Dr. Moss’s achievement or intellect, but I want to shave like him.
And someday, when the dust settles and I make my shaving bones, I want to shave like Gordon, my wetshaving mentor and eminence grise of the Wetshavers forum. Gordon uses the same old Gillette adjustable DE he’s been shaving with for forty years, day in and day out, and watches with barely concealed amusement as the trust fund brat leads the lemmings to drop their trusty rigs and replace them with this over-aggressive razor or that skin-irritating shave soap or this marginally-different-yet-gotta-have-it-cuz-it’s-the-BEST!!! brush, which they all do happily, only to find that the TFB’s ADD kicked in again and now he’s raving about a whole new rig that’s the BEST!!! one that will ever be. My hat’s off to Gordon, as he lets the TFB make a jackass of himself without commenting upon it, and he’s always eminently helpful and kind to the wetshaving newbies who come in off the Net looking for help with their first DE, like I did.
So you see, even as I see how this past week’s worth of perfect and perfecter shaves proves, to me anyway, that sticking with the same setup and letting daily repitition hone your technique is the best route to the Perfect Shave, I can’t wait to mix things up again. I know I’ve got some big-ass nicks and slices coming my way, and I’ve already got the styptic pencil on standby. But how do you keep a guy down on the farm when he’s had a taste of the endless variety that is the modern wetshaver’s toolbox?