Monday, March 30, 2015

With What Does a Real James Bond Shave?

Within the last year, on a lark I checked out from the local library a relatively new James Bond novel, written by Jeffery Deaver. Now I'm not a huge fan of Bond books or movies, which I find at times both silly and disappointing on several different levels; I read this one just to keep a finger on the pulse of near-pulp fiction. In fact, in my view the only memorable thing about Deaver's Bond was that at some point in the story he shaved with a double edge razor and commented that he likes the "challenge" of a DE shave.

Author Deaver: Bond wannabe? Wimp?
This stuck in my mind. I don't remember the plot, any characters except Bond of course, but I remember that silly line that he likes the challenge of DE shaving. This struck me as more ridiculous than many of the action sequences, or the way women fall at his feet (and he's never shown at the clinic getting treatment for his various sexually-transmitted diseases), or his excessive alcohol consumption that would surely ruin his health before he lived six decades -- and we're not even discussing the many orthopedic injuries that would have surely left Bond partially disabled even before he became fat, developed type 2 diabetes, and cirrhosis of the liver.

I suspect that when Deaver wrote that line, it was he, himself, who believed that DE shaving was somehow dangerous. Either Deaver was a recent convert to DE shaving or had been fantasizing about it -- or is a total wimp and actually does shave with a DE and thinks he's doing something REALLY dangerous.

In a recent Bond film (I can't recall with certainty which one off the top of my head, but I'm sure it was Daniel Craig playing Bond, and I would guess the film was Casino Royale), Bond shaves with a straight razor. Now this fits Craig's Bond, I think. This most recent Bond incarnation (that is, Craig playing Bond) has slightly more near-surface pathology, his soft underbelly is more easily seen through his damn-the-torpedoes carapace, and a viewer gets glimpses of the insecurity that lies within the extreme tough guy. Craig's Bond shaving with a straight just feels right. This is a guy who needs to constantly prove, display his toughness.

Laying it on the line for a... lay? Moneypenny shaves Bond with a straight in Skyfall.
Craig's Bond kicks it up a notch when he lets Moneypenny shave him in the Skyfall film. Now there's a tough guy -- letting an untrained, inexperienced hottie shave him just for the sexual thrill. (Or maybe she went to barber college before joining her Majesty's secret service.)

Another Bond who shaved within our view was Connery's Bond in the 1964 film, Goldfinger. A prisoner on the plane (with Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore in the pilot's seat, as I recall), Bond used his Gillette Slim Adjustable razor to do a one-pass shave in the plane's lav. This, too, makes sense to me; it feels right. The Slim was cutting-edge shaving technology (pun intended) in '64, and Connery's Bond, if he were to shave himself, would just get to it and then move on to the girl or the more bone-jarring action sequence.

Connery's Bond had a customized Slim, of course!
In fact, absent any direct evidence, I envision most of the other Bonds shaving with the most recent shaving technology -- or getting a shave from a convenient barber. The barber shave is sufficient manly luxury in which any Bond would indulge when possible -- and it offers the plot possibility that he might be confronted by a barber with dangerous instrument near Bond's neck, working for Bond's current adversary. But when he shaves himself, these other Bonds probably couldn't bear to use anything but the most modern, quickest. shaving method. Anything to appear modern and efficient. The more blades the better, when available. Or if it's a Bond incarnation who preceded multi-bladed cartridges, there was always the less common injector razor as Roger Moore's Bond uses.

Because I have a personal aversion to electric razors, I do have trouble imagining any Bond shaving with an electric. Yuck! However, my prejudice aside, I would grant the possibility that somewhere in the long Bond lineage, one of those characters might have thought that an electric shave fit the bill and would most likely help get the girl.

That's my take: Grandad. Shave Like Grandad. ;-)

Happy shaving!

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