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Where are the Real Men who Knew How to Use Hair Tonic and a Straight Razor?

Updated on May 3, 2019
kenneth avery profile image

I was born in the south. I live in the south and will die in the south. This is only a small part of the memories I share.

Special Notice:

In the hub below, there are brand-names used as reference points, not to endorse in any way the products to get you to sell them.Thanks, Kenneth


There was a Time When

men were men, women were women, and kids seldom shared their opinion of anything. I do not mean to be comical, but I was one of those kids who came into the world in 1953 and from that year on, I was privy to most everything you see in modern America. Well, I exaggerated. You will find “some” of the things that I witnessed in the Old Days.

The one whom I credit for knowing (early on) how to shave, comb my hair (that looked like a haystack) and how to act like a man. You may want to laugh right now, and that is fine. Live and let live is more than a motto for me in this case. So please do not start pulling out your sword of condemnation, because it will not get you far.

Remember as you read this (mostly) serious subject, remember the nation was young and so was I.

One Thing That I Learned

early on was during the hours of early morning, Monday through Friday, my dad owned the medicine cabinet that hung on a wall in our kitchen. I was not to speak while he got ready for work, and for my mom, the same rules applied to her--she did not get to talk or even move during the hour-long when my dad was “King of The Kitchen.”

My day, along with my parents had a usual routine that began in 5:30 a.m., that is A.M., when no one is stirring around. I was mostly-half awake when I would stop into the kitchen and wait. Just wait for my dad to get ready for work, me for school, and my mother had it made because she had her own bathroom in order to get ready.

I have already told you that at this time, I was at the Learning Stage of becoming a man and let me put it in these terms . . .train wreck. Not that I sat up late with TV because I was to be in bed by 9 p.m., except for Friday and Saturday nights when I was allowed to sit-up and watch movies and other things on TV that kept my interest. The main thing about TV was not (in my younger days) about hit movies or westerns, but commercials that pushed hair tonic, shave lotion, and deodorant--in almost every scene as to give the American man a sense of pride in himself and his job.


I Mean That if You Were

A red-blooded man, you could wear Vitalis in your hair that was NOT below the ears--and always combed and in place. I tried to make my dad’s hair match mine, but my hair was like an earlier reference: haystack. It went in a million directions, but when I was 12, I was not that concerned about my hairstyle or how I smelled. All I knew is that I was 12, young, and ready to take on the World of Girls--I should stop right there.

The one morning that my dad told me to sit, be quiet, and watch (me, him) to show me how to get ready for the public--all except my dad using his straight razor like a professional and he really laid down the law about keeping my mitts off of his razor. And when he had a certain look in his face, I knew that he was serious.

In a few mornings, it was my turn to follow my dad in his morning ritual of getting his hair looking so cool and his face so slick that a fly could have slid off and killed himself in the floor. I was excited. My heart pumped faster and faster and I took so much Vitalis in my hands and rubbed into my hair, but the thing was, I had taken too much, and that was thanks to my dad for allowing me to make mistakes in knowing how to get ready the right way. The one thing that stood out was my dad NEVER laughing at me and my dressing for error.

Robert Duvall, actor, uses straight razor.
Robert Duvall, actor, uses straight razor. | Source

I Wish Today That

I could go back to our cold kitchen and sit in my dad’s shadow to redo my getting ready routine. Oh, when the day came about me learning how to shave was more comical than Bugs Bunny taking advantage of Yosemite Sam because the razor that I used cut every existing place in my face and I watched my dad and saw how much he was shaking at my obvious-amateur standing on getting ready for school.

But in the years to come, I took my dad’s instructions with me as when I got a job, then married, I had to utilize the morning bathroom with my wife and how I let her go first as all good husbands do. The thing is my dad would have given my mom all the time in the world to use the mirror on his medicine chest.

When our daughter, Angie, (who is now with Jesus) was born in 1976, it did not hit me right away that I was suddenly out manned and outgunned because now I had TWO females to deal with and I tell you, me using what space that I could use was tough, but I would go through this time all day long.

May 3, 2019___________________________________________

© 2019 Kenneth Avery


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