Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Wrong Way to Start DE Shaving -- and Wise Old Sayings

Here is a cautionary tale that exemplifies why it's a good idea to learn something about double-edge (DE) shaving before just giving it a go. It's also a tale that illustrates the wisdom of not going too far to influence the behavior of others; let them find their own way.

A friend of mine one day got the idea to quit the multi-blade gizmos and go old school. This was a good thing.
A vintage Pomco-brand slant-bar razor.

However, because he had a tough, multi-directional beard and sensitive skin, he got the idea from somewhere that he should shave with a vintage slant-bar razor (which is a very aggressive design). So he bought the razor and a single brand of blades, foamed up with his customary canned goo, and proceeded to scrape, nick, and cut his way to such a brutal shave that he put the slant razor away and didn't give DE shaving another thought for years!

Then recently, I loaned him a very mild shaving butterfly-opening razor, a Weishi 9306. I advised him that this razor was as unassertive as his slant bar was aggressive. I warned him that this razor was to merely learn not to fear the process and to develop some skill with the instrument. I told him that the ideal razor for him was going to be one more capable than the Weishi but less than his slant razor. I even wrote out an email advising him on both shaving technique and the use of the sample of shaving soap that I provided.

He wasn't listening; he wasn't reading . . . at all.

Instead of reading my recommendations, he ignored them. He didn't use the shave soap I provided. He didn't even give any indication that he understood that the Weishi razor was about as mild a razor as one could find, and was one that was merely, for him, a counterpoint to his slant razor. So on a day when he was rushed for work, he tried a quick shave with the Weishi, then later remarked that he didn't get as close a shave as he would have thought.

Duh. Ultra-mild razor. Poor awareness of the proper razor angle. No patience to learn proper technique. Didn't listen. Didn't read. Limited time. All this adds up to poor outcome.

That old saying applies to this situation: you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. He was still hopelessly lost in the fog of the unknown (another saying comes to mind: don't cast your pearls before swine). There is also yet another applicable saying: the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I tried to help, but it was a waste of time and other resources. I was in the hell of high disappointment and frustration. If he was the horse, what was I? The horse's backside?

I guess we all have to find our own way, despite the best intentions of others. I probably should not have interfered. He wasn't sufficiently motivated, and I wasn't willing to fully spoon feed him the necessary technique and gear by getting him a more ideal more-mid-capable first razor for his beard and skin such as the Lord LP1822L (a.k.a. the L.6).

All I accomplished was to waste my time, my money for shipping the trial gear to his house, my precious shave soap, and my energy that I put into the entire endeavor. And who knows when I'll get back the loaner Weishi razor?

I should have known better. Now I do. The final old saying that applies to me is this: once burned, twice shy.

Happy shaving!

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