Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Going Beyond The Close Shave

Acidman regaled us yesterday with a tale of butchering his face with a straight razor. Boy, he ain't just a-woofin'! Them things will do you some damage!

I got ahold of an old cutthroat razor about 10 years ago, and decided to give it a whirl just to see how it worked. Now, since the skin on my face is like the hide on a baseball, I usually just shave dry. Get out of the shower, approach the mirror and commence to scrapin'. No shaving cream to get in your mouth or stuck in your ears that way. Everyone warned me about ingrown whiskers doing it that way, but ever since I switched to those newfangled three-blade razors, that quit being an issue. So, I wasn't too worried about nicking myself. Other than decapitating the odd zit, I haven't cut myself shaving since I was a teenager.

Well, lemme tell, ya, a straight razor is a whole different sort of torture device! I knew better than to try it dry, so I got some Barbasol and gave myself a nice big Santa Claus beard with it after soaking in a nice hot shower. Then, on to the razor. I didn't have a razor strop, but the back of an old leather belt worked out OK. I tested the blade on my thumbnail, and it sliced a 5-molecule thickness off the top. I figured that was good enough.

Now, the whole key to this process is the angle of the blade on your skin. Too wide, and you just scrape off the foam, and leave the whiskers. Too narrow, and you start cutting grooves in your face. Also, the handle of the razor and the curved part on the end of the blade aren't there just for decoration. To keep that angle, you need to wrap the whole gizmo around your fingers, kinda like the way that spastic kid in grade school held his pencil. Once you got your control down, then it's on to the cutting.

I did OK on the cheeks. I got chipmunk cheeks as it is, so no sharp angles to worry about there. My chin ended up looking like Pork Chop Hill. Took nearly half a roll of TP and most of a styptic pencil to quit leaking blood on the sink. After the chin debacle , I took a couple of exploratory swipes down the neck, but gave up after the first nick. No use being found nekkid and bled out like a stuck hog on the floor of your bathroom.

Just once I'd like to find an old-fashioned barber that does shaves and get the proper treatment. I have a feeling the hot towel wrap is kinda key in making it work smoothly. Also, shaving with a straight razor looks to be something that would be easier to do on someone else than on yourself.