The Perils of Shaving

The Christmas re-runs of Aardman Animations’ “A Close Shave” and the need to de-fuzz my own face has inspired today’s post.

Back in my mid-teens, things were easy. Once a fortnight, I would need to remove three thin, soft hairs from under my chin with my Dad’s electric razor. Then something happened and I needed to shave. Often. It was probably the fault of girls, which I started to take an interest in at the same time.

Beard growth, or lack of it, is a source of much embarrassment. For example, I’m fair-haired, but when left unattended, my beard takes on a definite ginger tone which looks ridiculous. I also have two bald spots either side of my top lip, which means a proper beard would take forever to grow, even if I had thick enough skin to take the constant jibes I would receive.

I should count myself lucky though, because my beard grows at a reasonably-controllable rate. Ask your average grunt in a city-centre pub on a Friday night which one would be more embarrassing:

  1. dyslexia
  2. inability to grow a beard

You’d find that many people would sacrifice reading and writing over involuntarily having baby-soft skin at the age of 25. At the other end of the scale, though, is the people who could intensively farm face-fuzz. Take my friend from university for example. He is the only person I’ve ever met who could have a 5 o’clock shadow before noon.

And there’s the additional problems that come along once you try to get rid of it. Girls have chemicals, waxing, electrolysis, and shaving to remove unwanted hair. Proper men just have shaving, which is ridden with pitfalls. There’s the nasty taste if you accidentally get shaving foam in your mouth. Razor burn if you’re in a hurry or use cheap blades. Nicking the top off a spot or your lip and it bleeding about 3 pints of blood (usually for long enough to get on your shirt when you’re getting dressed to go out). That “melting face” sensation you get if you apply aftershave too soon.

But the male problems of shaving pale into insignificance when compared to women – for example, they need to shave their legs. I’m thinking more specifically about something which is ten times worse than running fingernails down a blackboard while having your knuckles run over a grater. It’s the idea of shaving your knees.

The adverts have these stunningly gorgeous models looking enormously happy in the bath with her new razor and running it lithely up her leg and demonstrating how well it glides no matter how curved the surface. I’m sorry love, but you lost me after your tibia – shaving your knees is just wrong.