Friday, March 31, 2006

Screw You, King Gillette!

I was going to forego posting anything new until Monday. However, I need a shave.

To the normal person (that would be you) those two sentences wouldn't seem to go together. However, you (the normal person) aren't writing this. I am. And, to me, those two sentences make perfect sense together. You see, I hate shaving. In order to avoid shaving, I will use anything as an excuse. That includes writing about shaving.

Most men don’t like shaving. I suppose most women aren’t too fond of it, either, but I’m not one, so I’ll leave that to them to say. Besides, they're shaving things that men don't shave nor would they even consider shaving. If you shave your legs or armpits, it might be a pain but, if you screw up, you can generally find some way to hide it. When you shave your face, if you slice off your lower lip people are going to notice.

Yes, shaving is not only boring, but slightly dangerous as well. This is a combination you can’t find in too many other things. Possibly going to a Kanye West concert while wearing a t-shirt that reads, “George W. Bush is the best president ever!”, but beyond that?

The funny thing is, most boys look forward to shaving. They spend hours intently staring into mirrors, feeling up their own faces while diligently searching for the tiniest bit of peach fuzz that will reassure them of impending manhood. Many, myself included, lather up and put a blade to their chin before there’s anything there for the blade to attack. Of course, once they start to really have beard growth, they find out quickly what a pain in the ass it is to have to hack it off repeatedly.

Some guys just let the beard grow and never shave - not even that part on their necks that looks all scraggly. They don’t trim the beard at all and it grows wild and spiky. You’ve seen them. No matter how intelligent or nice they may actually be, they always give the first impression of being from some in-bred hillbilly clan and you imagine them as having B.O. that would fell a charging rhino even if they shower twice a day and use so much cologne that the folks at Old Spice send them Christmas cards. It’s unfair, but that’s the way it is. Society just will not politely accept anyone that natural.

Other guys shave only that part on the neck. They religiously trim the beard that remains, taking great pains to groom it and keep it neat. I did that for a while. You know what the problem is with that? It’s the part that grows on your neck that’s the worst part to shave, at least for me. That’s the part that gets irritated and red and bumpy and itchy and scratchy and Homer and Marge. Anyway, I’d like to be able to let only that part grow and shave the rest, but that would look ridiculous. I’ve never seen anyone do that. Maybe someday (when I’m really ancient and just don’t give a damn if folks think I look like a freak) I’ll try it.

I’ve worn a mustache at times. It’s not a great look for me. Anyway, a mustache gets in the way a lot, unless you’re willing to really work at keeping it trimmed. You’re always getting little bits and pieces of stuff stuck in it; cookie crumbs or maybe an occasional meatball, if you’re really messy. And, here’s a tip from someone who knows: never chew gum and try to blow bubbles if you have a mustache.

Sideburns are an option, of course. I’ve almost always had long sideburns, whether they’ve been in style or not. They’re not really in style now, but I still have them. The few times I’ve shaved them off in my life, I’ve felt almost naked. Sooner or later, they’ll start to come back into style and then I’ll be ahead of a trend for once in my life.

I’ve sometimes had women tell me that they envy the ability a man has to change his appearance so radically. It is sort of interesting. However, it’s also a bit frightening to not know yourself when you look in the mirror. I had that experience once when I shaved my face clean after having worn a full beard for about four years. When I grew the beard, I looked like me. When I shaved it off, four years later, I looked more like my father. Not that my father was Frankenstein or anything, but it was unsettling. I’ve always had some sort of beard since then and have never completely and cleanly shaven my entire face. I don't want to know what other relatives I might resemble next.

Luckily, I work in a field where shaving is extremely optional. The saying in this business is, "He has a great face for radio". You can look like Cousin Itt on a three-day bender, but as long as you sound clean-shaven, nobody gives a damn.

I now wear a Van Dyke. Or is it a goatee? I can never remember. It’s some shit on my chin. I enjoy imagining that it makes me look like a hip beatnik sort of a cat. In fact, it might make me look more like that dude from Scooby Doo; who knows? I’m not getting rid of it, though. The last time I saw my chin was over 10 years ago. Who knows what the hell it looks like now? Probably my grandfather’s chin. Worse yet, maybe my grandmother’s.

Having any sort of beard or sideburns makes shaving a bit tougher. You have to try not to make them uneven when you shave. If you make one sideburn shorter than the other, then you have to trim the other one up. Usually that doesn’t look even to you, either, so you keep trimming one side and then the other until you end up with no sideburns at all. Same thing with the goatee (or Van Dyke). Before I had the Van Dyke (or goat beard or whatever the hell) I had a mustache that went with it. One day I trimmed it and it came out uneven and before I knew what had happened, all I had left was the bulldyke or bearded clam or insert your own oh-so-funny name for it here.

Well, this is going nowhere - and not nearly fast enough, either. I’m going to go shave now since all I’m doing by not shaving is boring the hell out of you. I wish I had a funny shaving story, but I don’t. Shaving sucks. I can’t even get any good blogging material out of it.

(By the way, the chart of different beards is from The Organization For The Advancement Of Facial Hair website. For $20 you can start your very own local chapter and probably receive all sorts of interesting hate mail from depilatory manufacturers. See you Monday!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A few years ago, The Wrench shaved off his beard and mustache.

I actually *screamed* when I saw him, because he looked... just like his brother!

It kind of creeped me out for a long time - it took forever for me to get used to him clean-shaven. It did help when he got new glasses.

A couple of years ago, we got him one of the new Braun electic shavers that recharge and clean themselves in the little bath between shaving again. Completely cured his problem with the itchy red neck bumps!

And, for the record - girls look forward to make-up, pantyhose, and other intimate rites-of-passage with the same fervor and eagerness with which boys approach shaving. We probably just *smell better*! ;)