Last Christmas I gave the WideEyedSpouse a reasonable quality straight razor. Months of careful research led me to a shave-ready Dovo at Vintage Blades LLC. I learned about stroping. Honing. Shave oils and after shave balms. I was an anthropologist of the man-world, specializing in the use of one of the scariest tools ever to approach a face.
This past week the Spouse has finally settled into the straight razor shave. I read that it can take up to 300 shaves before a man is proficient. Before that they can expect to have a little pain, a little blood, maybe a scar or two. The Spouse is now on Shave 6, or so.
He’s in there right now, carefully approaching his face with the startlingly sharp blade. It’s a quiet process, no water running, no tap-tap-tap of the plastic handle of the safety razor on the sink edge.
I feel fear. What is happening in there? Is he bleeding out on the floor? I’m looking at the threshold under the bathroom door – nope, no red puddle spreading out. And the dogs don’t seem overly interested – wouldn’t you think they would be if lifeblood was splashing, spilling all over the white bathroom floor?
My new habit is to be dressed and ready to leave the house for an emergency room run before the Spouse heads in to shave. Nothing too nice though, because presumably there will be staining gore all over.
Each day begins with the suspense of a slasher movie. I know something really dangerous is happening behind that door. Will the Spouse saunter out all fresh-shaved and relaxed? Will I hear the thud of his draining body hitting the floor? That straight razor was a great gift – sustainable use of resources, a cool skill for the Spouse to develop, a hint of old-timey in our tech driven everyday – but it’s going to take some time before I stop planning for triage in the upstairs bathroom.