Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Close Shave

Back in college, I had a little trouble getting stoned. Not sure why, but I would sit with my friends and watch them all ascend to LaLaLand and I seemed to stay sober as a judge. “It never happens your first time,” I would hear. But after time number 8, we figured something was wrong. BF#2 said that I was perhaps thinking about it too much, whatever that means. But we decided that I perhaps needed a little more guidance on the subject. So BF#2 enlisted the aid of the biggest pothead we knew on campus. He said he would get me higher than a kite if I, in turn, taught him how to do one thing...

Shave.

Being as I was one of the few guys in school with a decent amount of facial hair, he figured that I was a pro at this and wanted me to impart my wisdom because he always seemed to be ripping his face apart when he attempted to shave. So I asked him what his procedure was and he told me that he basically just took a razor to his face. I found it interesting when he explained that he was raised by a single mother and no one ever showed him how to properly shave his beard. And I was struck by how many others like him there probably was – boys, raised by single women, who are either too proud or too embarrassed to ask their mothers how to begin being a man.

(Let me flash forward here for a second and say that The BF has got to be shaking his head at this. He thinks I shave too quickly and too dangerously. But I almost never knick or cut myself - its just years of practice and good technique.)

So that following Saturday afternoon, Chris – the stoner dude – called me in my dorm and asked me for a lesson. We were an odd pair as we ventured to the Piggly Wiggly (I went to a southern college) and bought a decent razor, shaving cream, exfoliant and after shave balm. Then we returned to his dorm and I walked him through the process:

  1. Always shower first. The steam from the shower helps to soften the beard area. I personally shave in the shower.
  2. Always exfoliate the area you are going to shave. It gets rid of dead skin cells and softens the face.
  3. Invest in a good razor (don’t use those disposable Bic things) and be sure to use a clean blade. The life of a razor blade is dependent on the thickness of your hair growth. Personally, I change blades about once every other week.
  4. Lather up the face and shave with the grain of your beard. Rinse the razor frequently with hot water.
  5. Rinse your face in cold water to close your pores.
  6. Apply a soothing gel or balm to the area to recondition the skin.

Later that evening at a house party, Chris approached me with a broad grin, a smooth face, and a beer. He thanked me for helping him out and not making such a big deal about it. He said he didn’t have a dad or a big brother to teach him how to do a lot of things. And he appreciated my help. Then he gave me the beer, put his arm around my shoulders and led me outside.

And that night, I got higher than the Empire State Building.