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10:50 a.m. - December 13, 2006
Five Blades, No Waiting
Before I ramble on, I just wanted to make something clear about yesterday’s essay. This meeting was NOT at the church we attend – and now I think it was someone else attending the same meeting I did that brought the pamphlets, not the church itself. Oh, well. Carry on.


I’ve had a love / hate relationship with my facial hair for a long time. Actually, it’s more of a loathe / hate relationship.

It started when I was a teenager, and thought I needed to shave one day (I think my peach fuzz’s darkness was a lighting trick) and, zam, a nick or two or five.

After basketball season my senior year, I started to grow a moustache. And what a fine porn ‘stache it turned out to be. I had that thing from March, 1984 to December, 1985. I even got a fine girlfriend during that time.

And then one day, in the Delt house, I just decided to shave it off. I wasn’t much on trimming it and it just started to bug me.

I really didn’t like shaving, but I think it was because I was using the absolute cheapest razor known to mankind. Bic started making disposable razors, and it was a daily game of ‘how many times can I draw blood with this thing?’ Usually it was one or two nicks, and sometimes I clipped my nose even (don’t ask).

So after college, about a year into my first job, I decide to just stop shaving.

Now, after a while, I realized that while I can grow a good moustache, and my chin was nice and hairy, the sides of my face were coming in splotchy.

My dad never had much hair there, either, and neither did my brother, as I recall. So I said, what the heck, and left it as a goatee.

Of course, this was 1989, and goatees weren’t in. One co-worker started calling me “Fu!” (as in Fu Manchu). But I kept it.

And then, it started to bug me. It got itchy and all that and I shaved it off. I had an electric razor at that point and boy, did it take a while.

I kept shaving with an electric for a while. I used a foil shaver, and the darn foils kept bending or getting little cracks in them. And when that happened, YOWCH! That wasn’t pleasant at all.

From time to time, I’d grow a goatee, and then shave it off when it got itchy. I didn’t like shaving, but I didn’t like having facial hair after about two months, either. So I was stuck.

When Liz and I met, I was clean shaven. I was clean shaven through courting, through her moving in, and when we got engaged. But soon after, I got the urge to grow a goatee again. And of course, at this time we were going to Kansas so I could meet her Mom and her Dad for the first time.

I have some pictures of that meeting, and darn it, I looked good. I really resembled Pat DiNizio of the Smithereens (now if I just had that songwriting talent). However, she was mortified that my face was covered with fuzz. But soon she was won over.

It was during this phase of our life together that she noticed that while she thought the goatee was good looking on me, it was way too scratchy and itchy for her tastes. She didn’t like kissing me when I had it.

But every year or two, I would grow one, stubbornly, and soon after the cold shoulder would happen. One time, when she was working nights, and I was in the throes of facial hair, she wrote on the mirror in our bathroom in lipstick “Shave off the goatee!”

I tried all kinds of things to soften it up, but to no avail. Finally, I decided that while all of my efforts to grow one made me look quite dashing, I really liked kissing my honey pumpkin lover, plus I could only stand it myself for a couple months. The last time I had a goatee was 2000, when the Indianapolis Ice won their league championship and all of the stats crew were growing playoff beards.

Over time, I also switched from using an electric razor back to a blade. But instead of using disposable razors, I went to using actual real-life grown up razors that took blades.

That made a big difference.

I started out with a double blade system, and it worked fine. But then Gillette sent me a triple blade system in the mail, gratis. Of course, they wanted me to keep buying blades for it, and I’m sure the razor, by then, had made back all of its development costs.

So, I gladly switched, and my double blade razor became my travel razor.

Now, this year, Gillette did it again. They sent me, for free, a FIVE-bladed razor.

Holy cow, FIVE blades!

And like a sucker, I took them up on their offer, and bought an 8-pack of blades. Those blades cost about as much as a package of diapers for Kristin, even with a coupon.

But it’s a closer shave than the old, antiquated, three blade system that is now in my travel bag. Not that anyone really notices.

I still nick myself once in a while. This morning, I somehow nicked myself up by the top of my sideburns. The other day, I cut myself ON the lip, and I almost needed a tourniquet.

Just think – if I had been using a straight razor, I’d be dead by now.

I still don’t like shaving that much. And Liz doesn’t really like the glop in the sink afterwards (a mix of foam and little whisker clippings) that is stubborn to clean out. Our bathroom sink is also running slow because of the glop. But I rather much feel superior knowing that I have the pinnacle of shaving technology in my hand every morning. I mean, FIVE blades! Plus there’s a bonus blade in the back for your sideburns and ‘stache.

The one thing, though, is that no matter how many blades, I still have a five o’clock shadow like no one’s business. Right now, it’s about 2 ½ hours after I shave and I can already feel the little whiskers poking their heads out of my skin, wanting to come out and play. Sometimes by 6:00 at night, I look like George Michael in the 80’s, with that well manicured stubble.

So I won’t be truly satisfied until they come up with something to prevent that. Let’s get cracking, people! Liz can’t deal with razor burn the rest of her life, can she??


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