A Young Man’s First Shave: The Modern Day Rite of Passage

[Note from Mantic59: I have previously mentioned Sharpologist's budding relationship with Joshua Kissee and manbuilders.com.  I recently had the pleasure of meeting Joshua's family, including watching him teach his oldest son about shaving.  As today is Father's Day, it seemed to great time to ask Joshua to write about shaving as a rite of passage.  Here are his thoughts.  Be sure to also read Joshua's Father's Day article, "A Father's Day Call To Authentic Manhood," on manbuilders.com]

Males of all ages are naturally hardwired for the interaction [of shaving].  The young guys hunger for it. Older men, whether they realize it or not, in these critical crossing-over moments, can offer young males powerful and transformational blessings. A little instruction doesn’t hurt either. It’s really high quality man-making action.

– Earl Hipp, Journey to Manhood

If the scissors are not used daily on the beard, it will not be long before the beard is, by its luxuriant growth, pretending to be the head!

– Hakim Jami

Your son needs you to guide him toward authentic manhood which includes all of the things you know how to do and take for granted each day. If you don’t teach him, somebody else will!

Dad, you need to shave, right? Even men with full beards often break out the razor to address edges around the face or neck hair. Why not teach your son the next time you shave?

Ok, I’m sold but how old should my son be?

This is your call. Three key factors should go into the decision:

  1. Does he have any visible hair on his upper lip or “peach fuzz” on his cheeks? If so, how much?

  2. Does he show signs of maturity or a change in interests/attitude to reflect him acting like a teenager?

  3. Has he started puberty (change in voice, pubic hair, armpit hair, acne)?

One of these factors will normally begin to show around age 10-11 with all of them being displayed by age 13. For this rite of passage, my oldest son was 11 with about 3 months until he turned 12.

Ok, my son meets that criteria and I want to do this with him, now what?

Get Ready

Do a little homework and preparation here. Could you just grab him and say it’s time for a shave? Of course. However, let’s put some thought into this.

Research. Check out a few websites such as sharpologist.com, artofmanliness.com, or journeytomanhood.blogspot.com. Take time to understand good techniques by reviewing shaving videos. This may even help improve your own shave! In preparing for this article, Mantic59 came to my home and taught me some new tricks. My shave got way better as a result! Trust me on this.

Restock your equipment. Make sure you have a new razor or a fresh blade in your safety razor. I used a Schick 3 disposable for my son and he handled it nicely. Consider buying some shaving soap and his own razor that you can give to him once you finish shaving together.

Set the Stage

I sat down with my son and reviewed the Sharpologist website before we shaved. This really piqued his interest and made him want to go and get a shave! We looked at many of the grooming techniques and supplies that were online.

Then came a brief, not too embarrassing, word of encouragement. This is where I told my son:

“I see you are becoming a man and it’s time to begin caring for your body even more than you already do. You will need to consider shaving probably once every two-three weeks at first and this will gradually move to daily once you are a man. I know you comb your hair, brush your teeth, wear deodorant, and now it’s time to begin shaving your face like a man does. I’m proud of who you are becoming as a person and I love you!”

He felt really pumped up and slightly embarrassed, but down inside he was glad to hear it and felt encouraged.

Tip: Don’t lay the speech on too thick with your son! Remember, he is not yet a man and is not certain about these change that are happening in his body so go easy and don’t embarrass or make it feel awkward! Be cool.

Enjoy the Shave

Shave with him! Don’t go it alone. I shaved first so my son could watch me and ask questions. If you bought supplies to give him, make him use those so he has experience with it.

When it came time for him to shave, he was a pro! As mentioned before, consult any of the numerous shaving videos on Sharpologist for tips and techniques.

Spike the Event

Now that you are finished shaving, give him the shaving soap, razors, or cremes that you bought for him in preparing. Rather than sharing your equipment, help him feel independent and like he has “something for himself”. When Mantic59 was here, he left me some Cremo Cream that I shared with my son and I also gave him his own Schick 3 razor.

To really double down, consider taking your son to either enjoy a meal together or go shopping for some shaving equipment/clothes/hygiene items. Add to the event by doing this so that he remembers it even more. By going the extra mile, you lock in a great experience with your son for the first time on this Modern Day Rite of Passage.

What kind of stories do you have? How did it go with your dad or for your son? What cool ways could you spike this time for your son?

Joshua Kissee is the proud Dad of five sons and founder of http://www.manbuilders.com. He and his wife, Rebecca, enjoy raising their sons Jacob, Jordan, Johnathan, Jonah, and Jared. They believe that boys need to acquire a great variety of skills and character traits on the journey to becoming a man. Joshua and Rebecca enjoy blogging about topics to teach boys and display a new topic each week from over 300 ManBuilding ideas to teach your son. Checkout the family at http://www.manbuilders.com/about/

Mark H Mark H (518 Posts)

also known as "Mantic59." Shave tutor and sharpologist.


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