Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Baby Smooth

(Thank you Doug "Fridley" Williams for answering my cry for help. My experience with nose hair trimming is nil, so I will fall back on good old razorblogging for this post.)

I have had the most horrid experience with shaving in my life, which is why I have worn a beard more often than not since my early twenties. During my teen years, I learned that I have pretty sensitive skin (as in eczema) and couldn't handle shaving creams or after shaves, especially in conjuction with the loss of several layers of skin on my face. I switched to electric. No creams, no stinky abrasive lotions. Just dry flakes ripped from my face.

Even electric razors weren't particularly kind to me. After trying some different styles of facial hair (Grizzly Adams beard, Kaiser Wilhelm mustache, etc.) I finally settled on a goatee. It was my best look, and stuck around for a few years, aside from some colder winters when extra face fur seemed a necessity. All the while, I used an electric razor to trim the beard down to goatee proportions. My skin problems were gone; I was careful about how I shaved and the eczema hasn't flared up in years.

Perhaps my proudest beard moment came back in 1997 when a group of mustachioed men from Jordan looked at my beard and nodded in agreement as one of them proclaimed that "he looks like one of those Arab sheikhs!" I call that a ringing endorsement.

About five years ago, after starting a new job, I once again stopped wearing a goatee. I no longer had the time to fuss over my face, as I had traded in my fifteen minute drive to work for a half-hour bus ride. It also helped that my boss and the third man on our team also had full beards, so I wasn't the odd man out by any stretch. I hung on to my old electric razor solely for the beard trimmer attachment. The beard was good. I liked the beard.

Except for one thing. A few months after I started the new job, the hair on my chinny-chin chin started to turn white. I have seen this before on bearded men. The hair begins turning white on the chin before the hair on the head. It looked bad, especially in winter when I would go all Grizzly Adams over and over again. In short, the hair on my face no longer matched the hair on the top of my head. Some mornings I would look in the mirror and wonder whether I hadn't passed out face-first in a puddle of correction fluid. The beard needed to go.

The electric razor was no longer an option. It would no longer recharge, it was having problems when I tried using it plugged into the wall, and the foil screen was starting to come apart. I didn't want to spend money on another electric, so I did what any man would do in that situation: I borrowed one of my wife's Bic sensitive skin shavers. They are non-gender specific, so I had no qualms about anyone walking in and recoiling in horror at the site of my using something like a Lady Bic. That worked for a while, but I didn't want to use up my wife's stash. Having largely ignored the phenomenon of razorblogging earlier this year, I decided to go back and see what all of the fuss was about.

Battery operated shavers. Good grief.

That is overkill. I hope that I never feel the need to use a non-electric razor that requires popping in a battery to liven up the shave. I don't want that. I just want an ordinary non-powered blade (or set of blades) that will give me a decent shave. And of course, I found it.

It's the Gillette Mach3. Wet shaving was never like this back in 1988! On the first shave, I was amazed at how smooth my skin felt. I hadn't felt anything so soft and smooth since the last time I changed a diaper on a newborn baby. Heaven, it was! I still kept the mustache, as anyone who remembers me from Keegan's that night in August can attest. But the shave was so close that the skin felt like it had never grown hair. And the razor head was so delicate that there were no abrasions on my face, either. (To be honest, I'm using sensitive skin shaving cream too.)

I also picked up a packet of *ahem* "septic pens" while I was at it. Haven't needed them, really.

Thanks again, Doug. My writer's block is gone. But I will take that nostril hair thing under advisement.

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