So You Think You Know How to Shave?

Justin LaBarge
Perspectives from The Left-Handed Frenchman

If you are like most men, then shaving is part of your regular routine. More likely, you may not have recently given this experience much thought. What once may have represented a right of passage into manhood, I wonder whether you even consider the time you spend every day shaving. I mean, how much of your attention and intention do you bring to managing your appearance is up to you.

It’s my intention to bring your attention to the opportunity.

You can’t judge a book by its cover. You may be a fool to judge a man by his appearance. But you may judge a man by the commitments he keeps.
I find that all men are committed to something, whether it be to his family, his country, his god, or his employer. Any type of meaningful relationship requires the actions of a committed man. It’s the way things are.

A truly committed man may discover that so little of his time belongs to himself. How can a man find a moment to ground himself, process changes and practice self-evaluation in the face of a constant call to act? How can we feel freedom to “be” when we are compelled to compartmentalize feelings which only get in the way of getting the job done?

To you, a man of purpose, I say take heart! For, shaving is time that belongs to you. How you spend that time is up to you – after all, you are the “Don Juan” of getting your shaving on.

From my perspective, this is your opportunity to be present. Shaving is a set of routine actions, which makes for a perfect opportunity to create the inner dialogue of a successful man. Affirmations, re-commitments, gut-checks, and uncovering some inner-truth, this here is your opportunity. These are the conversations of a walking hero. Bring to this your mindfulness and I promise you, together you and yourself will become ready to confront the day before you. After all, we only have so many days with which to leave our mark in this world.

Let’s begin!

First – Confront the situation. Carefully look the state of your face in the mirror. Your self-judgments may or may not be helpful, but you know yourself. So trust yourself. You may have a hair growth situation, as I do here. Or as many, you may be intent for an equal opportunity cropping. Where else in your life is there a need to cut out, or cut back?
The method we’re using today is known as traditional or “British Wet Shaving.” This will be our meditation. You’ll need the following:
• Safety Razor with blades • Shaving Cream • Boars Bristle Brush • Shaving Cream Bowl • Shaving Cup • Pre-Shave • After-Shave • Towel
Apply the pre-shave ointment to your face, and allow it time to penetrate your skin. This is a moment to reflect – are you open to walk the path of your purpose today? Where are you resisting? On whom does acting on your commitments today serve?
British Wet Shaving involves shaving cream which does not come from a can. It involves a bowl or mug and shaving brush.
When it comes to razors, there are but three options. Disposable razors, a safety razor, and a straight blade. If an electric razor is your game, you may as well leave the bathroom, and use it mindlessly whilst navigating traffic in the car on your way to work. This shaving is not THAT shaving. Draw hot water from your hot water valve and use it to heat the blade(s) of your razor. In this case we will be using a combination of a safety razor and disposable. Fill your shaving cup with hot water and immerse the steel of the razor to bring them up to temperature.

As you circle in on your targets for action today, circle your shaving brush in the shaving cream pot (or squeeze from a tube), and vigorously rub it into your shaving mug. Do this with excellence. You deserve a rich, lathery foam.  Apply the shaving cream from the shaving mug to your face mug in vigorous small circles. Do this with excellence.

Finally we are now ready to shave. Selecting your safety razor, begin shaving by pulling downward strokes. I start beside my left ear. Down strokes. Down strokes. All down strokes. This is not a time to rush. Be present.

As your razor becomes full of shaving cream, dunk it in the hot water in your shaving cup. You may find the need to empty and refill your shaving cup with hot water. This repetition is a repetition in a man’s life. Where else do you practice this discourse?

Once you have completed your downward stroked shave, reapply shaving cream and repeat. This time shave with upward strokes. This second-pass is your way to bring your shave to excellence. Where would a second-pass bring excellence to your life?

As you reflect, both in the mirror and upon your life, be mindful of our intention here. This is shaving time. This is your time. I believe you should use it wisely.

Your shave is now complete, and you can dampen your shaving towel in the hot water and wrap your face. Let it sink in. Let everything sink in.

For the Tonsorial Artists, we have scissors to trim the beard, a mustache comb, and 30 years worth of Mustache Wax. A selection of cologne sends a man into his day with distinction!

After a few moments, it’s now time to complete your shave. This is done by applying a cool, creamy ointment-based aftershave. Avoid the alcohol or astringent aftershaves – they will dry your newly scraped skin. This old hide of yours is the one face you have, and a wise man makes smart decisions.

Finally, and very importantly, clean your tools. Wash your razor thoroughly. Do the right thing, and change out your blade if it’s time.
Make this a commitment.

I believe you can judge a man by the commitments he keeps, and it will be shaving time again soon enough.

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