cutting edge

16 January 2008 at 14:08 (Uncategorized)

His blurry eyes refused to focus as he fumbled through the draw in search of an old razor.  He hated using new razors because they were too unforgiving at the best of times, and this morning he was behind schedule.  Even the brief search was costing him too much time and he soon relinquished, snatching a new one from the packet.

The fluro flickered into life as he hammered on the hot water.  This time of year the pipes remained warm throughout the night and he briskly splashed some of the tepid water across his face.  The water heated quickly and as he let it warm the blade he gazed up.  Looking his reflection in the eyes he emptied his lungs with a deep sigh.  After another moment he took to his face in quick long strips starting at his right ear and running down towards his mouth.

He continued onto his left cheek taking even less time and less care, then cleaned the cheap razor by rinsing and then striking it against the basin releasing several clumps of hair.  He leaned in closer to the mirror and, now much more slowly, cropped the hair from above and below his mouth.  Finally he cleaned the blade once more, this time bashing it carelessly against the  edge of the basin.

Again he hammered on the tap, this time cold water to clean the deposits of hair which were dotted around the bowl.  The entire process felt like it had taken less than a couple of minutes but despite the haste he was pleased with the results.  He rinsed off with the cool water, running his hands over his face.  For a heartbeat he felt much better, not just smoother but a little calmer.  His moment of zen was disrupted as he rediscovered the truth: he was still late.  He rejected all this useless tranquility, hammered off the water, dashed back down the hallway and out the door, slamming it hard behind him.


  1. Nimeton said,

    Intersting preference for the older razor… I have to restrain myself from using new ones too quickly as have trouble getting a smooth shave even with the sharpest blade.
    All about technique, I suppose.

  2. monototo said,

    the sharpness of my razor is proportional to the probability of cutting myself (duller blade has better safety margin). Haste is also proportional to the probability of cutting myself. Ergo, haste and razor sharpness are also proportional. Therefore, the more pushed I am for time the duller the blade (the bigger the safety margin).

    You’re right though, there’s still a trade off and the duller the blade is the worse the quality is. However, my skin is fairly hardy and doesn’t suffer from razor burn, ingrown hairs, or irritation and so it ends up paying the price for my poor time management.

    As for technique, they say to shave when the skin is hot. The heat softens the hairs. After I shower I wet my face using water as hot as I can handle. I then heat the blade up as hot as the water allows and take my time. I find that the heat minimises the difference between shaving with or against the hair growth, so I normally shave with the hair, which takes a little longer (a few more passes) to get a close shave, but it minimises the possibility of getting an ingrown hair.

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