I shaved with an electric razor for 30+ years and never much thought about it. Buzz, buzz, zip, zip, done in two minutes. Yeah, I had a 5 ‘O Clock shadow at two, but I thought that was “normal.” Fast forward to the mid ’90′s and a serious relationship a special young lady. One thing she absolutely adored was the feeling of my face just after it was freshly shaven. Unfortunately she could only enjoy caressing my face for a few hours before it would get a bit “sandpapery” again.
Fast-forward again to 2002, when the special young lady and I married in Las Vegas:
About a year later my wonderful young lady and I are watching a TV show about things to do in Las Vegas (“hey, we did that on our honeymoon!”) and they mentioned getting an “old style” barbershop shave at a place called “Art of Shaving” at Mandaly Bay. My young lady turns to me, arches her eyebrow, and says “Ohhhhhhh, you should try that!” I shrug and we continue watching the show.
Some months later we’re planning what to do for our wedding anniversary and decide to go back to Las Vegas. One morning while we’re there she comes to me with a gleam in her eye and says “don’t shave today, I have a special anniversary present for you.” Hmm, OK…. That afternoon we head to Mandalay Bay, where she takes me to Art of Shaving and has them give me a shave as an anniversary gift:
It’s a little freaky at first–I mean here’s this stranger hovering over me with a straight-razor– but after a while it gets strangely relaxing and I enjoy it. The barber finishes and she pulls off the smock laying on me with a flourish. I feel my face.
My face is insanely soft and smooth. I’ve never felt anything like it before. My wife has a sparkle in her eye and a huge smile on her face as she runs a finger along my jawline: “Ohhhhhhhh, mama likes!” The barber/store put on a soft sales-pitch for getting their products, which I alllllllmost go for, but my young lady’s common sense prevails, telling me that I should do some research after we return home first. OK, but I’m sold on this way of shaving: I don’t need to shave again for two days, and I’m almost continuously touching my face in amazement.
After I return home I immediately start surfing the internet, trying to learn more about this way of shaving…and discover that there’s damned little information out there. I eventually discover the MSN Wetshavers forum (now defunct) and my education begins…. I am also fortunate to live within driving distance of Austin, TX, where Charles Roberts (owner of Enchante’ which is happily not defunct) is happy to share with me some of the finer points of traditional shaving (along with his “Method” shaving style). Over the course of the next year I slowly learn (and learn to appreciate…and begin to advocate to my friends) shaving with a brush and traditional lather. I graduate from a Mach3 to a single-blade safety razor to an adjustable safety razor. As my own shaving technique matures I discover that I can actually offer some advice to “newbies” on the discussion board once in a while.
In the late spring of 2006 a casual comment in a discussion thread on the Wetshavers forum suggests “someone needs to do a video on how to shave!” The general concensus is that the idea is appealing but probably too difficult to do. After all, you really need to see lather in three dimensions and be able to feel it to truly understand it, and a lot of the background techniques really need to be shown “in person.” Or so went the thinking. It was also felt that the video technology of the day wasn’t quite up to the quality that was necessary to properly demonstrate shaving.
But it stirred something inside me. I have a degree in TV/radio broadcasting (the engineering part, not the production part) though I had been out of the industry for many years (I liked to eat). Still, I knew the basics of putting together a video and I had just won a Panasonic GS9 camcorder a few months before while a attending an convention so I decided to experiment around a little. I put together some test footage using Windows Movie Maker, posted it to the newly-popular YouTube, and asked the MSN guys to comment. I got some really good feedback and suddenly it didn’t seem so impossible. I deleted the test footage and put up the three part “introductory” series that you still see on the channel.
And the rest, as they say, is history….