A Different Slant (apologies to J. Peterman)


Running late this morning, so I grabbed the Merkur Slant Bar razor.

Had to be out of pajamas and out the door in ten minutes, to join a group of mercenaries en route to the Congo. Okay, to take the kids to Music Together. Corners needed cutting. As did my stubble.

For generations, men with beards of copper wire have turned to the Merkur Slant Bar in a last-ditch attempt to get a straight razor close shave from a safety razor. The slanted head curves the edge of the blade, to mimic the angle of attack you get with a straight razor (that’s right — you need a curved edge to copy a straight edge — don’t ask).

The Slant’s a rare beast, and few shops carry them. But I found one. Had to win it in a game of high-stakes poker on an illegal riverboat in French Ghana where the pot included a shrunken head. Okay, I bought it from Lee’s Razors. Shaved with it a few times, nicked myself but good — this razor shows much more blade than most, and it nicks easy if you’re not careful. But it really digs in and mows hair quickly, so I figured I’d use it to save some time.

Took a 30 second whore’s shower (pits and bits) and slapped on some cream. The clock was ticking. One shave down, one shave up, rinse and run. The Slant’s legend is that it gives good quickie shave, because it cuts so close the first time.

Was it close? It was okay. Was it quick? Under a minute. Do I love this razor? Well…I get a better shave just as quickly from Merkur’s basic, no-frills, built-like-a-tank Hefty Classic (aka “HD”). Even Lee says the HD’s the best razor Merkur makes. I agree. The Slant gives a decent in-a-hurry shave but it’s too aggressive for my skin.

Ironically, the Slant is so aggressive that it irritated my skin as much as the multi-blade cartridge razors I left behind in search of something better, hence this whole trip. So if you want the kind of shave the Slant Bar delivers, save yourself some long green and buy a Mach3 or a Quattro. Same shave, same irritation, lower price.

Some shavegeeks claim the Slant Bar’s the best razor ever. That’s like saying the Nutty Buddy’s the best frozen confection ever. It’s not even in the top hundred. That said, if your beard is tough and wiry, this overaggressive beast may serve your needs.

The Merkur Slant Bar. One size only. $33. Women will caress your face when you arrive at the garden party, tennis racket over your shoulder. Men will eye you warily, and position themselves between you and their wives. Just be sure to have lots of little toilet paper squares on hand, and if your name is Nicholas and your dad was a Czar, you may want to rethink this.