As I was standing in the shower shaving this morning, I started thinking. When I first started shaving, I used to have an electric shaver. I never got fully certified with the electric, it seemed to chew my flesh as happily as it sheared my beard. For my eighteenth birthday, my father gave me a can of shaving cream, a razor, and a copy of "The World According To Garp" in a brown paper bag. I've been a blade man ever since.
For a long time, I used Edge - probably because the idea of a "foaming gel" appealed my artistic side. After college, I started buying Barbasol because you could get two or three cans of that for the cost of one can of Edge. It was more cost-effective, but not nearly as cool. All this time I had only one after shave: Old Spice. It was my father's smell - the smell of shaving. It stung like little else on the planet, but it was part of the ritual.
Then one morning, I happened to be watching the Today Show. This was long enough ago that Bryant Gumbel was still hosting. There was a discussion of morning ablutions, and Bryant offered up that he had taken up the practice of shaving in the shower to save time. This appealed to me greatly, as I have maintained a childhood fascination with efficiency and motion study that began with a viewing of "Cheaper By The Dozen." Frank Gilbreth Sr. demonstrated the sixty-second bath, lathering and rinsing each limb in succession and then moving on to the next without a wasted scrub or dub. Shaving in the shower would combine two dreary chores of personal hygiene and save water at the same time.
There I was, pulling the razor up under my chin with all these thoughts in my head, and a new voice appeared: "He's shaving against the grain!" I have watched parts of a great many episodes of "Queer Eye For The Straight Guy," and it seems no matter when I come in they're always hollering at some schlub who doesn't know how to shave with the grain of his beard. My wife has threatened to write to the Fab Five to have them come out and show me how to get my palette together, and most probably get me to spend more time, money and effort on my personal grooming. That would be fine with me, as long as they include the big screen television that they tend to leave along with their standard makeovers.
Then I was done. Shower off, check the towel for any tell-tale spots of shaving nicks or cuts - the kids at school are terribly alert to blemishes of any sort on their teacher. It is the nice thing about shaving - even when you mess it up, you get another shot real soon.