Cyclists shave. And they shave a bunch, all over. Here, there, you-know-where. And eventually they get around to Dollar Shave Club because hey, there are only so many times you can drag your wife’s Barbie razor over your 1/2-inch man leg stubble that’s stiffer than concertina wire before she opens an artery trying to shave her pits with the razor that your legs turned into a chain saw.
I tried Dollar Shave Club and liked it because, dollar.
The problem is that along with the cheapie razor cartridges they also send a newsletter and it’s all about shaving. They should not do that. They should send a newsletter that’s all about how to make a good cup of coffee, or how to properly lube a chain, or how to get GoJo out of your wife’s toothbrush.
Because when they write all about shaving it gets you to paying attention to shaving, and in general no man worth the name spends any time at all beyond the absolute grooming minimum unless he’s in heat, i.e., single. This desultory attitude towards shaving is why we have disposable safety razors.
Have you ever tried to slit your throat with a safety razor? Can’t be done. But just as it can’t open a jugular, nor can it cut facial hair very well, even when your chin is adorned with soft, sparse, feathery, little-girl down like mine is. And here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter how many stupid blades they put on the cartridge because one crappy blade followed by six more crappy blades still won’t give your man weeds a clean cut.
What it will do is cover your face in clear slime, because in addition to being too lazy to get a good shave, Gillette divined that most men are also too lazy to put anything on their face before shaving besides soap, which causes them to get an even crappier shave and gruesome razor burn and blame the razor.
So the modern shaving experience is taking a dull child’s butter knife, dragging it carelessly across your face, scraping off the gelgoo, and staggering in late to work under a cloud of bad cologne.
Dollar Shave Club and their newsletter get you to thinking about how good is your shave, really, and after about six months you go to their website and learn that to get an actual good shave you have to upgrade to the fancy model which is no longer Dollar Shave Club but Many Dollars Shave Club. So then you start googling because you are a bike racer who likes 100% carbon that is made of pure carbon and you don’t want any cheapass clincher razors on aluminum rims.
That’s when you find some nutty millenium dude’s 42-page blog post about shaving with a straight razor. Yeah, those things that people used to kill each other with.
I can sum up everything you possibly need to know about shaving with a straight razor in a few words: Don’t you dare fucking do it. I’m talking to you, wanker.
I can tell you this because I almost did it, and even though I avoided slit throat syndrome, I wound up with most of my face scraped off and a dangling, half-shorn lip. Here’s how it happened.
I went to the CVS to get a cheapo straight razor, one of those plastic deals that the hair gal uses to shave the hair on your neck. I figured that before spending $2,500 on a carbon razor (yes, carbon) that will last my great-great-grandsons all their lives, and buying a whetstone, razor strop, a luxury badger hair shaving brush, and a roll of facial Tegaderm, I would try straight razor shaving with a low-budget model to see if I liked it.
Fortunately for me, the CVS didn’t have what I was looking for. Instead they had one of those old-timey safety razors like your dad used to use if you are over 50, a steel handle with a steel head that opens up and takes an actual two-sided razor blade.
“Yeah,” I thought. “It’s only twenty bucks and if I like it maybe I can graduate up to a straight razor, which, come to think of it looks kind of gnarly.”
So I went home and canceled my Dollar Bad Shave Club membership and eagerly awaited the morn. When it came I showered, wet my face, and — oops — realized I was out of shaving cream. “No big deal,” I thought.
Note to reader: BIG DEAL. VERY BIG DEAL.
So I took a couple of passes over my face with a bar of Ivory soap, loaded the razor blade, and got to work.
In this case, “work” meant shaving like I do with a Dollar Bad Shave Club razor. Fast, hard and long strokes. Mashing, baby. Gonna mow the fuggin’ face lawn today, so GTF outta my way.
I will pause here to note that a two-sided German razor blade made of tempered steel is a very different beast from a Dollar Bad Shave Club throwaway toy razor. I will pause here to note that unhappily, in my haste, I did four mega-monster swipes all the way down to my Adam’s apple. I will pause here to note that my face and throat were suddenly covered in the bright, Christmastime-red of a freshly gutted cat and my upper lip was mostly separated from the flesh nearest my nose.
You see, with a real razor (and keep in mind that this isn’t nearly as sharp or as lethal as a straight razor), you have to take very slow, careful, short, deliberate strokes that are made on top of a thick layer of shaving cream, otherwise you simply scrape off most of your face, leaving only exposed nerve endings, sliced capillaries, an open vein or two, cascades of gore, and a dangling lip that looks like cleft palate surgery gone bad.
In a real stroke of good luck, I did not bleed out, and more importantly, I had stopped shaving my legs years ago. If I had started off in the shower with this beast I would certainly have sliced right through my Achilles tendon, and perhaps all the way to Guadalajara as well.
Eventually my face scabbed over, which was attractive. I will pause here to note that face plaster doesn’t work for gashes more than four inches long by two inches deep.
Once the scabs fell away and the keloid scars smoothed over, I resumed using the razor. Slow, short, gentle, deliberate strokes and you’re good to go.
But you might want to stick to your wife’s Barbie razor on your legs unless you’re handy with a needle and sutures.
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