There are no rules, of course, so I am not breaking any of nothing. And yet, some things do not go without saying, so I’ve said it.
Today is a special day because to me it is the day before another one ever more special. I presume to presume this, knowing that we have only today’s bread, but also possessing an abiding sense that there are more slices to come. And I feel so much better coming off this horrid, nearly debilitating reminder of the frailty of the human condition that–this time–has manifested itself thus:
Tiny in relative scale, but quite large in its effects, it is an image of a virus. Where the hell did I come into contact with it? And is it indeed from hell? And what is hell anyway? Perhaps it is a symptom of the Fall of Mankind, steeped now in mythology and portrayed hauntingly in the beautiful story of the garden and the wonder, sheer wonder of that man and woman together there before the screw-up and all that has transpired since, all the way up to this day, where I find myself feeling nearly whole again and looking backward toward that wonder and ahead to more of it, I am sure.
Well, it is amazing to me . . . and I weep again with the certainty of it (finally, again!) as I sit in a coffee shop that months ago I thought might become another new place where I’d write of these things, having left my old place where I have written much of much. But, it has taken nine of those months for me actually to experience it, having gone through a kind of hell of my own. Such, I suppose, is the nature of our nature, that it does take time, just as all my wise friends are telling me. Holy crap, they are right.
You are right.
So, I shall write of razors and shaving, and you may make a marvelous metaphor of it all.
In the western world, it is customary for men and most women to have a practice of shaving certain areas of their bodies, and that is my practice as well. I often go days without shaving all of my face because it seems that it may be rugged or stylish or moderately attractive or whatever although I am trying to be none of that–mostly I just don’t want to face my face every day. Women, on the other hand, are appreciated by me more when they give attention to their legs and underarms in particular. Their faces are what they are, and I appreciate very little adornment there and no shaving, but some attention is nice on special occasions:) The legs and armpits, however, do benefit from a trim. I remember being on the Tube in London years ago when a very nice-looking woman boarded. She looked at one of my daughters sitting on my lap, and said “Pretty” in a delightful British accent; it was the only word I heard on the 15-minute ride between stations. I smiled and, God help me, I glanced at the woman and looked down at her shapely legs, covered in hair. “Funny”, I thought; it was the only word I remember thinking on that 15-minute ride between stations . . .
So, since receiving a warning from my father not to do it, but doing it anyway, I have been shaving on and off since sixth grade (Ugh, why did I use my grandad’s old electric razor then, thinking it would be fun, like a velvety-smooth ride with the Norelco razor on the TV commercial I’d seen at Christmas? No! It was choppy and rough and pulled the three or four hairs on my baby face, making a mockery of my minor steps toward being an adult male). Fine, Dad, I will wait until I must and I will show more care. Thank you for that warning–and all the others, btw.
I have shown care since then and experimented with disposables and many electric razors and then fine handles with expensive disposable multi-blade attachments and more electrics, and then, what, a couple of years ago? . . . I made my final choice.
It is a classic, traditional “safety razor” with a single two-edged blade, and I will keep it all of my days. Mine is made in Sheffield, England by Edwin Jagger. I like the feel of it in my hand, its heft and balance, and its smooth finish and attention to detail, and the way that it securely grips that single blade. There are other razors out there, of course, and others may have them (male and female, they may have them), but as I said, this is the one for me. Merkur, of Germany, seems to be a popular choice among some aficionados or guys and gals who’ve also learned to show care, perhaps from a paternal admonition, but the Jagger razor is superior in my view.
There is one thing that is interesting to me, and this is not thoroughly researched but is my observation: neither of these fine tool companies makes its own blades, but the blades are easily found and inexpensive as well. This makes for a wise investment (talking about skin care here) as the handles will run US $30-60 depending upon finish, and the blades are pennies a piece. My choice of blades has settled upon the Astra, labeled as coming from “Russia”, and this is after trying others for a time. There is a blade called the Feather, made in Japan, and it is the blade that is furnished singly with the purchase of an Edwin Jagger handle. This gives it pride of place and it is a smooth blade indeed. But, when purchased in a lot of 100 or even 50, it is considerably more expensive than my Astras, for which I pay $7.95 for 100 (two years worth, easily enough). In my view, the Astras are 95% as good as the Feathers and a third the price.
At any rate, the blades do the cutting and are discarded without much thought, and I may change my mind to pinch pennies further.
But the handle, the thing I want to hold in my hand from time to time as I look into the mirror, that is what I hold dear. As I said, I have made my choice.