“Beware of the young doctor and the old barber.” ~ Ben Franklin
Men, it’s clear the country is going to hell in a hand basket. I admit I don’t really know what that is, but you have to agree it sounds like an undignified way to arrive. All the other damned souls are going to laugh at us. We all know the reason, but no one until now has had the guts to just say it. We’re weak, we’re undisciplined, we’re afraid of doing the hard things that must be done. You know what I’m talking about. America just hasn’t been the same since the demise of the straight razor.
What do we have instead? Namby pamby prissy little five bladed safety slivers with plastic (plastic! I kid you not) handles. I mean, what kind of material is plastic. No one is going to take you seriously with a plastic handled safety sliver. Sharp metal implements meant for a man’s hand should have manly handles, like STEEL or BONE or WOOD. If the material can’t double as a great nickname, I want nothing to do with it. Who wouldn’t want to be known as “Steel” or “Bone”, to say nothing of “Wood” (especially if you’re a bit past middle age. You know what I’m saying). And what on earth is it with the five blades–what is your beard made of, carbon fiber? It’s just another case of life imitating the Onion.
Now, I won’t say it’s a conspiracy to keep us shelling out mega bucks for blades that last about 10 strokes on the average beard, it’s just damned suspicious, that’s all. The replacement blades in my neighborhood store are kept locked in a glass case and I think we’ve established that it’s not because they’re afraid someone’s going to steal them to go on a slasher-type killing spree. No, it’s just because they cost $24 for a 10 pack. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to hire a slinky young thing to snip each hair individually? Well OK, no, actually it wouldn’t and Deborah already said she won’t do it; but I digress.
It’s worth pointing out that nothing with the word “safety” in the name can possibly be any good. It’s like those products that say “natural” on the label–a synonym for “doesn’t work”. For example, what kind of car would your rather drive–one known for it’s tremendous safety reputation or something named after a wild beast like a Cobra, Mustang or Viper? This is not a hard decision; if you think otherwise you may as well stop reading right now.
True, a good straight razor costs a few bucks, but not much more than a couple packs of safety blades and it will last your lifetime. With a little luck and care, you may have something worthwhile to hand down to your heir, instead of the indignity of a lawyer somewhere saying “Percy, he wanted you to have his Gillettes.”
It’s also a sure bet your blushing bride will never swipe it to shave her legs; if she does, she’s the type of lady I wouldn’t want to try to stop.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Straight razor (with manly handle)
Badger bristle brush–just the name makes your testosterone level surge; hair from a dead badger–count me in.
Cake of shaving soap (about a dollar)
Razor strop. At this point you no doubt feel so manly that you’ve sworn off vegetables and taken a vow to eat only beef . . . that you killed yourself . . . with your bare hands
Styptic pencil in case of minor “incidents”
Manly after shave like Bay Rum
There are any number of guides on using and maintaining a straight razor, like the one linked here, so I won’t bother going over the whole ritual. Nevertheless, remember you’re scraping, not slicing, skill comes with practice (just ask your sweetheart), and use cold water to rinse; it tightens up the skin. Don’t forget the bay rum. Who cares how it smells, it sounds like something Ernest Hemingway would use and that’s good enough.
Remember all those shaving ads where the sexy lady is standing around watching a man shave? She’s just hanging out until the guy with the straight razor gets there. Do it for her. By God, do it for America.