Sunday, August 24, 2014

Moderation is an Important Shaving Concept -- and Life Approach

As a registered dietitian/nutritionist, I have been educated to understand that an important concept in a healthy diet is moderation. Early on, it was difficult for me to accept the idea that there are no bad foods, only inappropriate choices in relative amounts and frequency of certain foods.

For example, french fries and soda pop are considered by many to be unhealthy dietary choices. Yet a professional dietitian would likely say that an occasional serving of french fries or a pop is harmless. Intake of any food must be viewed in the context of one's entire diet, and the important factor is the relative frequency and serving size compared to other food choices.

Another nutrition example: everyone knows that water is essential to life. Yet if you drink four or five gallons in a day, you will die! Two ounces a day is too little, five gallons is too much.

Yet another example is alcohol consumption: a little bit each day can be healthy for many persons, but a lot on a given day can dramatically shorten your life through accident, and larger quantities every day leads to life-threatening chronic illness such as oral cancer or liver diseases among others.


And so it is with so many things that don't have to be perfect. To win in tennis, you don't have to win every point -- and, in fact, you don't even have to win most of the points (though most of the time you probably would); you just have to win the right points at the right times. In flying, it used to be said with some dark humor, that any landing you can walk away from is a good one.

Moderation. It's important in so many things in life.

And so it is with the shaving process and razor choice.

I shaved this morning with one of my favorites, my Frankenrazor, the Merkur 33C head with a heavier Chinese handle. In it, I used a Lord Platinum Class blade, which is not only NOT one of my favorites, but also had almost a week's shaves on it and was ready for my home-made recycle bank. I did a two-pass shave using mostly oblique strokes, thus to a degree abandoning my minimalist-shave approach for the morning. I got a very close shave without any injury to my delicate skin.

As I rinsed for the final time, enjoying the result of the morning shave, I began pondering this idea of moderation. It isn't the quality of a given day's shave, but rather the quality of your overall shaves, that determines your shaving experience. It isn't the closeness that a given razor can achieve, but rather the comfort and closeness that you can routinely achieve that determines the razor's excellence.

Another factor in evaluating a razor is how it performs with different blades. My Frankenrazor, for example, can allow a fine shave -- close and comfortable -- with a mediocre blade as it did this morning, while other razors may provide less consistency with various blades.

With the clarity of those observations in mind, it occurred to me that my best razor of the nine that I own is the Frankenrazor. And if I were to recommend a razor, it would be the Frankenrazor's factory equivalent, which is the Merkur 34C Heavy Duty razor. It has the moderate-cutting Merkur head, suitable for every-day use or for hacking down several day's growth, but is forgiving unlike more uber-aggressive razors. It has a nicely-knurled handle for a secure grip, has substantial overall heft, and the handle barrel is of a generous diameter -- again encouraging a secure finger-tip hold on the instrument. It is a razor that exemplifies the concept of moderation -- especially in its head design.

Similarly, I am finding that a 1-1/2- to 2-1/2-pass shave is the moderate course, which, given proper care and technique, can achieve excellent daily results in shave closeness, comfort, and avoidance of blood shed.

And a final thought on moderation as applied to razor acquisition as well: nine razors is too many -- a bit over the top, wouldn't you say? Frankly, if you own one good razor, like the 34C or my Frankenrazor, that is sufficient unless you are driven to experience variety for its own sake, and even then, two is arguably enough and three begins to border on extreme. Most of my nine are stored in a closet and rarely see the light of day.

So consider your own approach to shaving -- and life. Perhaps things can go even smoother (pun intended) if you focus on moderation.

Happy shaving!

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