May 30, 2005
Today I did something I almost never do — I shaved twice. Hardcore shavegeeks will tell you that this is one of the worst things you can do, because the very act of wetshaving peels off a layer of skin which takes 24 hours to rebuild. Whatever.
The thing is, my morning shave just didn’t do it for me today. I think the blade in my Merkur Progress had just turned over its odometer, and the shave just wasn’t as close and smooth as I usually get from this excellent razor.
So five or six hours later, I broke out the most feared of all the shaving implements I have at my disposal — the dreaded Feather Artist disposable blade straight razor! The Artist Club uses its own special blades, made by Feather, which most shavegeeks consider hands down the most scary-sharp blades outside of an emergency room. Even hardcore straight razor guys who hone their own steel and ride Harleys and eat broken glass are in awe of the Feather blades’ sharpness (I used the Professional version blades, which fall midway between the Pro-Guard training wheels blades and the Super Professional atom-slicing jobs).
The Artist Club is like the Darth Vader version of the Dovo Shavette I used yesterday. It’s bigger, badder, more deadly, and it brooks no slop. The Shavette is plenty sharp but it still lets you get away with less than dead-on technique. With the Feather, you blink, you die.
So why did I get one? Because I’m an idiot. The Feather’s easily the scariest shaving tool you can buy, and much more experienced wetshavers than me have been known to scrurry like scared rodents at the mere mention of it. I have no business wielding this sharpest of all straight razors, and yet here we are.
The first time I got the balls up to try this thing, my knees were knocking and my hand was shaking. And as soon as I touched down, BAM — sliced open a nice fishbelly cut right across my cheek. Niiiice. So, back in its balsawood box went the Feather, and I swore never to touch it again, until a few weeks later when I tried it again and was marginally better at it. Then I kept at it, a shave here and a shave there, until — and listen, I’m not claiming I’ve mastered this crazy thing by any stretch of the word — but if I take my time and I’ve had a few cups of joe to sharpen the hand/eye, I can actually shave myself with the Feather without painting the bathroom ruby red.
So anyway, like I said, the morning shave with the Progress DE wasn’t so hot. Not the razor’s fault, but my own, for using it with a DE blade that was past due. I swiped this way and that, and still felt stubble all over the place. Being that it’s a holiday, I let it go, but as it got close to dinner time, the shave was starting to annoy me. It’s sick, I know. Really goddamn sick. But that’s what these @%#$ shaves have become now — the yardstick by which I judge the rest of the day. Great shave = great day, and bad shave, you get the picture. If someone else confided this belief system to me, I’d privately cross them off my list. But there’s nothing I can do about it now. After you shave with this good stuff, you can’t go back to a Mach3 and a can of pressurized goo. I know, I’ve tried.
Took a hot shower, let the stream and the steam prep my face, got out and grabbed the Feather. Slathered on some Pacific Shave Oil on my wet face, lathered up with an old favorite, Musgo Real shaving cream, and went to town. OK, you know what? Those Chicken Littles are right — it’s not the best idea to shave twice in one day, especially if the second shave is with an implement that should by all rights be used to skin rabbits with. I got a scary smooth shave, but I know I was pushing the envelope of what my face can take. Once in awhile you can get away with this kind of thing, but I don’t recommend it as an everyday ritual. You don’t want to shave in the morning, come home after work, and then haul out the Feather for a cleanup round on a regular basis. Still, what a shave. I really hope the Feather’s not the only way I can get a shave like this, because I’m not sure I can bring my hand/eye A-game to the sink every morning. My hat’s off to those who can.
(Note: The Feather Razor is the sharpest, most dangerous consumer shaving tool I’m aware of. I cannot emphasize this strongly enough: I do not recommend it to anyone who’s just coming off of a Mach3 or a disposable. Even if you’ve been shaving with a DE safety razor and you really know what you’re doing, you WILL slice yourself and you WILL bleed like a stuck pig the first time you try the Feather. It will be the most painful shaving facial cut of your life, and the blood will seemingly flow forever. You may find that a goodly expanse of your cheek is flapping around on the floor like a goldfish. I recommend this particular razor only to those experienced wetshavers who have mastered the conventional straight razor, as the technique is identical, and unique to these razors alone.)