I was told it sounded like I was in a rut, they were right. So I spent some time thinking about what I could do to change something up and finally it hit me, I could shave my beard. Now this may seem like a small thing but for anyone who has ever had a beard can tell you the decision to shave a beard, especially one you have had for a long time can be very hard. I have had a beard for about 7 years and before that I had a goatee for a decade which looking back on was a terrible choice, seriously I looked goofy as everything. I didn’t have a big bushy lumberjack type beard going as I kept in at about 5mm but it suited me very well. Strangely I kept it short just in case I wanted to shave for a reason it would not take long to grow it out again and look “normal”. I always sort of hated it when I would get dressed but the rest of the time it suited me perfectly. But I looked in the mirror and thought “Well that is a change and I can always just grow it back”. To be honest I was more nervous about shaving my beard than I was about getting my ears pierced. But what finally made me go for it was the idea of adding some fluidity to my look, I could switch more easily between beard and no beard if I would just shave now and then.
One thing you are never told when you go to shave a beard is how sensitive the skin underneath is. It’s similar to when you shave your legs or chest for the first time in a while but way more intense. You feel everything and your skin has some odd reactions. I have shaved my beard a few times over the years for a week or so but this time I decided I would shave it off and keep it off for a month at least. Irritation is a major concern as are ingrown hairs so I dug into a box and got out my grandfather’s Gillette tech safety razor from 1964. These things are an absolute beast of a razor with a single blade on either side and made of metal so they have some serious heft when compared to your typical modern razor. So why did I dig this antique out? Well one cause of irritation is that a 5 bladed razor means that you have 5 blades going over your skin on each stroke, which is more irritation per stroke. The design of lifting the hair and cutting it as they advertise increases the chances of ingrown hairs. The other plus sides to there razors of yesteryear is that a blade costs you about 20 cents and has very little waste. So cheaper and more environmentally friendly. Now some may ask why I didn’t go all of the way and didn’t get a straight razor? Because my straight razor, also my grandfathers but other side, terrifies me. A straight razor which is a large single blade that is literally razor sharp, so you have to sharpen that to an intense level and then break out the leather strap and get insanley sharp. They with a very steady hand take it across your face and neck, way too much to go wrong so if your going this route find a local barber shop that does hot towel straight razor shaves and go for it, I understand it is quite the experience. Now since I was going all retro so I wandered out and got some shaving soap and a shaving brush. The brush is supposed to really get the soap in there and also lift the hairs up making them easier to cut. So I was all set.
Then I had to talk to the spouse, she has forbade me from shaving my beard in the past as I look weird. But after some discussion she agreed so off with it. I trimmed it down with my beard trimmer and then wet the brush and frothed up the soap. Now even if you don’t go all retro on the razor you should take a serious look into a brush and shaving soap it is pretty darned epic, while cheap and less waste. Then I went to work carefully with this old razor taking off the last of my beard, leaving my face reasonably smooth, I mean I could have gone smoother had I gone against the grain but that can be a problem on a typical shave forgetting that this is the first time in 2 years that a razor has touched this skin. Then moisturise the heck out of it. I looked in the mirror and realised just how goofy looking I am without my beard. Also I need to loose some weight from my chubby face.
So what is the result? Well my face felt pretty funny for a few days and it takes awhile to remember what you look like in the mirror. People in shock when they see you without a beard is also kind of funny, even when a beard is short it really does change the way you look a lot. But then the next day I decided to do something I rarely do and that’s go all out girl mode, make up, glasses, and wig. I can honestly say that after I got all made up the beard being gone really did make a difference as to how I liked the way I looked. I mean I still don’t look like a woman by any stretch but I did look more feminine. Now looking like a passing woman is not my main goal with all of this but it is nice on occasion to go all the way just to see and experience it. And in the week since I have worn a wig more than I have in the last two years. Funny how it went from nothing special to something I enjoy just because it didn’t conflict with my self image any more.
So what is my final decision here? I am getting used to it, and starting to like it but I will see how long until the effort of shaving drives me insane. As for the retro razor? It does give you a nice shave and my skin doesn’t feel as raw when I use it, but you have to concentrate when using one these things and you may need to break out a 5 bladed monster if you’re going all girl mode and need the silky smooth face.. Not sure if I would suggest breaking it out on your chest but that said the lady Gillette was the same razor with a longer handle and some colour in it. I am not going to ban myself from having a beard but I am going to let myself be much more willing to shave it in the future and even do it a bit more often just to keep things different.
I guess in short just like every man should grow a beard at some point, every man should shave his beard at some point.
How is your relationship with your facial hair? Anyone else gone out and shaved the beard?