Scraping the Stubble

Many might remember that is was Christmas a few days ago, so we can all start saving to the next Saturnalia bacchanal. I received a present. Unusually, since most people think I’m dead.

But this post isn’t about presents. It’s about what most of us gentlemen, not blessed with a valet or living in Mayfair, or the hairy types who grow fungus on their faces because it’s ‘woke’ and who spend most of their time writing code which appears on multiple screens like on the set of a futuristic movie.

I mean, of course, scraping the stubble that appears as if by magic every morning on a man’s face, as if the beard fairy has visited overnight.

There are a number of ways to deal with this problem. It’s like mowing the lawn, a necessary but evil trick of Nature who, of course will one day inherit the Earth.

I refer, of course to the ART OF SHAVING.

There are a number of possibilities. First, you are late. Stumbling, semi-conscious into the shower, one grabs the disposable which has been hanging for weeks beside the shampoo that always gives you dandruff, stand like a guard dog underneath the blessed flow and scrape industriously, ignoring the pain and flecks of rust on the blade. Sometimes, the handle is pink, and after a microsecond of reflection and the fleeting thought that she’ll never find out, one sweeps the affected area with as much detail as a nasty hangover permits and hopes for the best. One ends up looking like a badly trimmed privet hedge but hopefully nobody will notice and one then proceeds to the bedroom and puts on ones socks, not realising that both of them are inside out. This is what can best be described as the Speedy Motors method, where all work is done by apprentices.

Those of us who have renounced daily toil, however, have a different method. I mentioned Christmas. A particularly kind friend, of which more anon, spent hours, yes, hours on the Internet (using up my bandwidth, I might add), selecting a beautiful, heavy shaving ‘set’, consisting of a badger hair brush, a little cup thingy to hold the soap and a razor with its own little holder. All mounted on a plinth heavy enough to support Nelson’s column. The thing is a work of art. The brush has black tips and a brown superstructure so the animal who donated it can rest assured it died in a good cause. The razor handle is heavy, straight and manly, none of these ‘fit in your hand’ things which are tailor made for castrating a cat. The Italian soap comes in a container which precisely fits the little silver cup for which it was intended. And the soap has a little twirl on the end like a Mr Whippy ice cream. One is almost tempted to lick it. Hot water – one Internet source recommends 120 Celsius but I was damned if I was going to shove the thing in a pressure cooker, so the blade relaxed nicely at 80 or so degrees. Clockwise stirring of the soap produced a profusion of lather with the brush, so after a refreshing splash of water on the face, one then applies the product, smelling faintly of sandalwood. Nothing too heavy, otherwise you smell like a pimp. Brushing is an act of sheer sensuality, it’s like being stroked by a cat and produces a Santa-like profusion. The blade glides effortlessly, sweeping the detritus away like a leaf-blower, with no epidermal damage. A quick finish on the sideburns with an open razor (the kind that Glasgow hoodlums carried) to just straighten up the edges, followed by a hot towel to open the pores and some Ferragamo cologne to close them up again. Just a little tip about open razors – if moved horizontally, the resultant profusion of blood makes one look like one of Dracula’s recent victims.

A man can now face his day with the confidence of a job well done, knowing that he can fire someone in a heartbeat. The fact that his bed is as unmade as Tracey Emin’s and his shirt is unironed is a detail best overlooked.

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