Back to my Shaving Future

In my early teens I found my grandfather's straight razor at the bottom of a dusty leather trunk. I managed to shave my wispy whiskers twice with that wicked thing, nicking only a few minor arteries with my trembling hand. Having neither skill nor honing strop, I abandoned the project, turning to an old Remington electric model for the next dozen years.

Eventually I cottoned to the fact that electric razors don't work well for lazy shavers in humid climates, so I bought a Gillette Atra, and its pivoting double blades have kept me scruff-free since.

In recent years I've grown ever more worried that Mr. Gillette would halt production of my Atra cartridges, in a bid to force me to upgrade to his latest exorbitant pentablade contraption. The Atra cartridges are expensive enough after all, and they date back to the 1970s.

It then occurred to me that I could turn to an old and nearly forgotten technology: the safety razor.

Remember when airplane and hotel bathrooms had little slits for disposing of your used razor blades? If you do, you also remember when watches were wound, telephones were dialed, and the remote control was a younger sibling positioned in front of the tube.

Yes, progress has marched inexorably forward, but miraculously, you can still buy safety razor handles and blades. While in Vancouver this past week, I picked out a Merkur 83C matte barber-pole model for about the cost of four sets of Atra cartridges:

Single blade, front & back. No lubricating strip. No vibrating action. No reverse moustache and sideburns trimmer. Just 100% pure manliness carved out of a quarter-pound of chrome steel.

I'm still learning the proper technique for shaving with this bad boy, but the good news is that the blades are less than half the cost of my old cartridges.

I guess I'll need to install a disposal slit in the bathroom.

Archived Comments

  1. Kara on 20100707.Wednesday:
    The younger sibling remote control comment was great!
  2. Dave on 20100707.Wednesday:
    In those days, in Ottawa, there were only three or so regular channels and just a couple of fuzzy UHF ones, so the "remote" really didn't have all that much to do, leaving him free to fetch snacks during the commercial breaks.
  3. Carole on 20100707.Wednesday:
    Iain, you know he's talking about you now.