An Affordable Wardrobe would like to thank the good folks at Heritage Shaving for their support, and I am happy to announce our first product giveaway contest. Read on for a chance to win a free straight razor starter kit:
At first, it took me over a half an hour, moving at a snail's pace, to give myself a shave that was only so-so. The nostalgic fetishism was kind of cool, but the ritual had me enthralled. In case you haven't read this blog before, I am a dead sucker for time consuming antiquated rituals. And that's what this was then, an antiquated ritual. But it quickly became more.
It's funny how we sometimes find the good stuff by moving steadily backward. In high school, I shaved with triple bladed, lubricated, silly expensive something or others, and aerosol shaving foam. A splash of Old Spice to follow. Later, I switched from the aerosol to a brush and mug, but kept the high tech gizmo razor. A splash of Old Spice to follow. Later still, I began using my Grandfather's safety razor. Some bits of toilet paper and a splash of Old Spice to follow. After years of this, the straight razor, the method of choice for men until 60 years ago, comes into the picture. At first, it was a once or twice a week treat. As I gained confidence, I came to look forward to it. Now, I use it every day, unless I'm in a screaming hurry, in which case I opt for the old safety razor. As always, a splash of Old Spice to follow.
Shaving this way is often the only time in a given day when I slow down and take a few moments to concentrate on myself. It's therapeutic. Its contemplative. It reminds me that in our mad rush forward at breakneck speed, we humans as a race may not always be progressing. It reminds me that new isn't always better, and that sometimes we realize that we hit the pinnacle long ago and that every thing since may be a downhill ride...kinda like how stereo technology hit it's peak in the mid 1970s. Besides, its extremely masculine, and its kinda tough. That may be silly, its true. But for a guy who spends all day caring for two small kids, and all night geeking out about either wine or clothes, a small dose of masculinity is the least you can afford me.
So...you tell me in the comments why you think scraping your neck and cheeks with a knife is a better idea that dragging expensive plastic cartridges across your face that will at worst cut you and at best give you a mediocre shave. Keep it relatively brief....most thoughtful answer wins a shaving kit, pictured above, which includes a Dovo razor from Germany, leather strop, stainless steel mug, badger brush, shaving cream, oil, and knick stick. Contest open all weekend, winner chosen Sunday evening.
Update: Sunday, 11 December, 10:00a.m. EST. I'm truly overwhelmed by your excellent responses to this post. Thank you everyone who commented. I'm especially impressed with how many of you saw this topic as a springboard into things of vastly greater importance than merely cleaning up in the morning. You clearly understand how fraught with meaning these things can/should be. Commenting is now closed. We'll sift through all this and a winner will be chosen tonight, so stay posted.
And the Winner Is.....Bostonhud. Oddly enough, this was our very first entry. Many of you delved deep into the more esoteric meaning behind the modern day adoption of an archaic grooming method, which is exactly what we were aiming for. Topics such as connection with the past, contemplation, and a more thoughtful assessment of our modern day culture of speed and convenience above all else were frequently raised. But it was Bostonhud's haiku which managed to convey all of this in only three short lines:
Men seek old stories
Grandpa's hat, father's bow tie
give my son my shave
Congratulations, Bostonhud. Contact me through email at firstname.lastname@example.org with a mailing address and we'll get your prize out post haste.
If you're only just reading this, the contest is closed. But do read the comments. It's enlightening to see how many men there are out there, many of them young, who don't necessarily buy all that the worlds been selling lately.