In reference to my title on this one, if you haven’t seen Oh, Brother Where Art Thou, get thee to the movie kiosk or the Netflix stream, or whatever flavor of movie rental you prefer!
I believe it was the first Christmas Jenni and I were together. We were recently married and had not known each other for very long in the grand scheme of things. Many people were betting against our success, and it was hard to blame them. In the first year of our marriage, we bought a house, had a kid, and our net income put us comfortably in the poverty bracket. I wouldn’t trade that year for anything.
I’ve got sensitive facial skin. Gillette ought to run the census, because their demographic intel is incredible! When I got to about shaving age in my teens, I started getting Mach 5’s in the mail. They were useless to me. None of those multi-blade monstrosities have been any good on my face, but lead to endless razor burn and breakouts. I found that Grandpa’s old safety razor made for a beautifully close shave without side-effects, but I was not comfortable using it. Teenage boys are not well-known for their minute dexterity, and it took me half and hour and several cuts to get a shave with the thing. So, I went electric. In my adolescence, I had an electric shaver that served me well, even if it didn’t ever shave very close.
Then, on that first Christmas of my marriage, my new wife gave me a really nice Panasonic wet/dry electric shaver. I might add that she doesn’t particularly like me to wear facial hair. Now, that would make the little shaver 11.5 years old. It has served me well for over a decade. But, in the last few months, its performance has suffered. The battery would need to be charged more often, and the blades were showing clearer signs of their age. A couple of weeks ago, it finally deteriorated to the point of uselessness.
I was shaving one morning, and the old motor was giving its hum, albeit a few steps lower in pitch than when it was younger. When I got to the tougher whiskers on my chin, rather than being cut, they got jammed between the blades and the screen, and pulled hard. No amount of turning the switch off would make the shaver release its death grip on my facial hair. I wound up gritting my teeth and yanking the wayward device from my face. That was the final straw.
The Panasonic has gotten to the age that blades and batteries are no longer readily available, and would likely require a seal kit to install. I don’t even want to think about trying to obtain that! A new shaver would probably be a better option. It appears that this early gift from my young bride deserves a Viking funeral at long last. As Murphy’s Law would have it, a new shaver has exactly zero priority in my life right now, as we are pinching pennies in every conceivable way, with the start of the business and all. So, I took up Grandpa’s safety razor again.
I have a few blades for the antique razor, and when they run out, replacements are cheap. I didn’t realize exactly how dilapidated the Panasonic’s blades had gotten until using a real blade again. Where I was shaving every morning with the wet/dry, I can achieve similar results with three mornings a week using the safety razor. With the repetitive use, in my adult life, I’ve gotten a lot more efficient using the blade. What took thirty minutes as a goofy teen takes five now – and that’s with a whole lot more facial hair. I’m starting to think that I won’t own another electric, even when I am not feeling so thrifty again.
Over the last week or so, I’ve been a bit of a slug on grooming. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still showering and using deodorant. I just haven’t bothered to shave. Over the last couple of days, I was noticing that my head was getting a little fuzzier than I like it as well. So, this morning I decided to fix it. I got out the Wahl clippers and the #1 guard and went to town. I don’t often cut my own hair since it’s difficult to see whether I got it even in the back, but I thought that it would be far more likely to get done if I only had to ask Jenni to even up the back when she gets home from work.
Once I got all trimmed up, I looked really funny (to me anyway) as the hair on my head was roughly the same length as my stubble. So, out came Grandpa’s safety razor and I took care of that as well. Now, I look more like a respectable business man than an insane bum – always a good thing. Funny enough, I have not cut myself once in this round of using the old single blade. I’ve often mused about going to a straight razor, and I think I’d like to try that one day. The problem is that you don’t just need the razor, but all the peripheral stuff as well – the strop, stone, brush, cup, soap, etc. The initial investment is significant but well pays for itself in savings on supplies. There’s simply no cheaper way to shave in the long run. Until I do make such a jump, it appears that I’ll be using the old safety razor.