Shaving-The Curse of Men
Those days of puberty when transitioning from boy to man I had those horrible renegade hormones running rampant through my veins and having the genes of my daddy, it was only natural that the eldest son become a hairy man. Even at 13 years of age I could have easily grown a full beard but elected to only have a Maynard G. Krebs look (aka Bob Denver), an actor "beatnik" sidekick to the star on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, a popular television sitcom (1959-1962.)
As a youngster we lived in the cotton mill village with only cold running water and no other inside plumbing with a private bathroom where our dad could shave in privacy. We heated water on the stove in a kettle and took sink baths for the most part in the kitchen and as we grew into our teens would go to our bedroom for the privacy of a more thorough bath in a small foot tub. Dad worked the second shift in the cotton mill and everyday he would heat water and shave in the kitchen using a small basin. A big mirror was over the sink next to the Hoosier cabinet where he stored his shaving gear. When we were small, dad had a mug and brush. Sometimes when he or ma wasn't nearby we would take turns lathering up with that old brush and quickly wash our faces of the soap. Later, the aerosol cans of shaving cream took the place of dad's old mug and brush which by this time had very few bristles remaining.
The first razor I remember dad using was a double edge safety razor and dad always used those red Gillette blades. He would sharpen the blades several times and did so with a whet stone finishing off by brushing the blades with a piece of leather. I have also seen him sharpen blades using the heel of the heel of his well calloused hands. Dad always got a good shave and when he finished shaving would dob a little bit of Old Spice, a real man's shaving lotion, on his face and to us he always looked nice, well groomed with that full head of black hair slicked back with a dash of Vaseline Hair tonic and smelled good before heading out the door to the mill for his shift.
My dad didn't teach me how to shave and those first few shaves were more like a blood letting than shaving. Thank God for tissue paper, alcohol, and the styptic pencil he kept nearby for the occasional nicks. For a teenager I also had a horrible case of acne which contributed to more than my share of nicks. My whiskers thickened so fast and I needed to shave almost everyday. When high school came my acne cleared up and newer shave friendly products were becoming more popular.
When I went into the service I had to shave several times a day to pass those close quarter inspections. Today with the advent of superior razors, most men can find one that suits their individual needs. My youngest son is a barber and still uses a straight razor to finish shaving the neck and around the ears of his customers but has opted to use the Gillette Mach 3 as his standard razor for shaving the heads of customers who who elect a more macho style . The multiple blades allow for a clean shave and there is rarely a nick or cut.
Those early days left me with nicknames like, "Scratch" and others from some of the girls I dated. Unlike the hair on my head which no longer has to be parted, my whiskers still are full and tough. Since I'm retired I don't shave everyday but two days without shaving leaves me looking like a bum. Razors have come a long way since those red double edged Gilette blades my father used and I just saw the Mach 3 has made it into the top ten of shoplifted items in stores.
I tried electric razors to no avail. Regardless of the number of heads on a Remington, I have had no luck getting a smooth shave. As long as we live, most of us men will continue the morning ritual of shaving, hopefully never to need a blood transfusion and as long as we have a clean shaven face our brides will be happy.
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