I love being obsessed. I love being obsessed with video games, lacrosse, computer programming, bowling, 3D printing, slacklining, wet shaving, what ever it may be. As long as there’s enough information readily available on the subject, I will dive into it headfirst with no forethought of an escape route. I love the high of always having something on my mind, always having something to look forward to and to learn more about. When I’m not immediately obsessing over something, I often find myself looking for new things to adore, browsing the internet or scouring bookstores for some spark that I can ignite into a fire of excitement. This type of personality combined with an acquisitive (not inquisitive) personality tends to be wondrously disastrous. I have relics of my past obsessions scattered around my house, but each one represents a wonderful moment of elation that I cherish so dearly (no, I’m not a hoarder.)
One of the other things that can really fuel an obsession is finding a way to combine it with another. The chance to do just this arose in this past week at my Speech & Debate summer camp, a college-level activity for those in my high school. A lot of people see Speech & Debate as a really “nerdy” thing to do in high school, and to them I say… well, yeah. You’re right. But it’s also an incredible confidence builder. Learning how to effectively speak publicly has not only boosted my self-confidence, but it has also provided me with opportunities I would have never been given in the past. So, quick side note, if you have a kid nearing high school age, please push them towards doing Speech & Debate, I know they’ll thank you later.
But this isn’t a Speech & Debate blog, this is a wet shaving blog! So how can these two obsessions combine, you may ask? If your first thought was me shaving while giving a speech, you are (unfortunately) incorrect. In fact, I wasn’t the one being shaved at all, I was the one doing the shaving.
At the end of the week-long camp, I’d finally convinced one of my friends to let me give him a quick shave, “traditional style.” I’d spent much of the week dropping hints on the copious benefits of wet shaving, and had started to interest a couple of people who’d been bored enough to listen.
After convincing my friend Isaac, we stormed into the men’s restroom, me wielding a razor, a brush, and some Art of Shaving Lemon Essential Oil Shaving Cream, Isaac carrying a chair, another friend Marty carrying some towels, and yet another named Dan carrying a pillow. We set up the chair facing away from the sink, with a pillow and a towel to support Isaac’s head as I shaved him.
With that I began the spiel on the proper way to prepare one’s face for a wet shave, that being with a hot shower and/or a hot towel, and perhaps some pre-shave oil, all the while soaking the brush in water. But alas, we are a group of adolescent young men who yearn for instant satisfaction. (In other words, their attention span was short and I didn’t want to lose it). So, I placed the brush at the bottom of the sink and turned on the faucet to a steamy temperature. I cupped a handful of water between my palms and splashed it onto Isaac’s face, then repeated the process a couple more times. I then let the water sit on his face for another two minutes or so in order to let the brush soak and continued to speak of the many benefits of wet shaving.
After I felt the brush had soaked enough I began to face lather with the AoS cream. I must say, for some reason it is a lot easier for me to lather on other guys’ faces than my own. With my own face I tend to get a lighter lather, but with Isaac, and the rest of the guys that night, I got a rich, foamy, luxurious lather that cushioned the blade perfectly.
I continued to lather for another four minutes or so, in an attempt to make-up for the lack of prep time, and was about ready to get started when a counselor of the camp, nicknamed “Q,” walked in. He was fully aware of what we were planning on doing — we’d told him before we’d started — and was joining us out of curiosity. We grabbed him another chair from a nearby room, and I began to shave Isaac.
My first shave was a bit hesitant; I was really nervous that I would gouge him really bad. But once I got into the flow of it, it became a relaxing process for him, and an invigorating one for me. I gave all my attention to the shave, and made strong strokes (not with pressure, mind you). I gave Isaac a clean shave in no time.
By this point, there were a total of six guys in the men’s room, two of them counselors. We had officially transformed the men’s room into a barbershop. Mick, another counselor, was playing some classy 40’s and 50’s jazz music from his iPhone, the rest of the guys were chatting an cracking jokes, and I got ready to shave Q, who had become fascinated with the process.
Q is a large black fellow with coarse stubble all over his face. He told me that he’d been shaving with an electric razor for the past few years, but all the evidence I needed was on his face. Under his twisted stubble was a crazy amount of irritation that was clearly caused by the in-grown hairs from his electric. With this shave I was going to have to be super careful in order not to nick him.
However, with a little more prep time, a lot more lather time, and two additional passes, I was able to give him the best shave he’s had in the past three years, completely nick-free. From there the “barbershop” continued to snowball. Mick sat in the chair and was ready to be shaved. I shaved him and two other guys before we had to head out to the drive-in theater to see Hercules. (Totally kick-ass movie by the way. Don’t expect much other than epic battle scenes, though.) All-in-all, I generated a crazy amount of interest in wet shaving among guys. Every one of them said it was a very relaxing experience that they hoped to enjoy again soon. I told them, “Of course you can enjoy it again, you just have to do a bit of research first.”
Overall this was an incredible learning experience both for the guys, and especially for myself. Shaving a bunch of skin types that were unlike my own forced me to alter the techniques that I’d learned and apply them in a different fashion. For example, with Q I had to apply short, quick strokes and rinse the blade often, but with other fellows such as Mick, I could take long, smooth strokes and be just as effective. Not to mention that it was an incredible amount of fun. It reignited my passion for shaving, and hopefully sparked the idea for a couple other guys.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to shave another person, grab a friend or a family member brave enough to let you do so. I promise you it will be well worth it.