How to Shave my Back myself?
As a slob who only shaves every four or five days, I find disposable razor cartridges are impossible to use. After just a couple of passes they clog up, resembling a letter box stuffed full of twigs, leaving my face red and raw. I’m not some namby pamby tennis playing millionaire; I need a razor that could prune serious face hedge. The kind of old school apparatus that could cope with the bristles of a cowboy after a month long cattle drive.
Like all real men, I recently realised, I need to shave with a straight razor.
The first step into the world of straight razors is a £10 Shavette. A Shavette looks and handles like a regular straight razor, but takes its edge from regular disposable blades, which clip into the steel head and can be replaced whenever you please. As such there is no tedious sharpening on a long leather strop, which, let’s face it, is only one short step away from driving around in van collecting up hitchhikers and not putting them back.
While there is no more authentically manly act than shaving with a straight razor, the downside is that the straight razor also turns the most repetitious act of grooming of all – the wet shave – into a chess-match with death. One false move, one jolt or twitch of your wrist and you get horribly, badly hurt. Like a martial arts trainee, the straight razor pupil must expect to suffer.
My first attempt was a shocker, even after watching the requisite instructional videos on You Tube. I list the following set of instructions, which were all paid for in blood: 1) You must only move the blade in a straight vertical motion. If you draw a sloppy s-line you will bleed. 2) If you deviate from a 30 degree angle on the blade you will bleed. 3) If the blade pauses on your face – if you stop and do not lift it away – you will need to ring the blood bank and ask if they’ve got your type in. Immediately.
Perhaps my favourite cut from day one were the scarlet tramlines etched into my right cheek – two parallel lines where I’d got myself confused and went the wrong way, then tried exactly the same thing again and performed an identical incision.