The chill I feel lately is due to more than just ditching the long-johns earlier than might have been prudent. Every fall a beard grows on my face and every spring I hack it off. It’s a bit of a shock to the system, not to mention friends and the cats, but it is spring and an old man’s thoughts turn to shaving.
A barbaric ritual that has been taken to extremes, the shaving of our various body parts supports a multi-billion dollar industry that pats itself on the back for selling us razors with as many as six(!) blades because, well, we’ll buy anything. Or steal it; most modern multi-blade razor cartridges are so expensive that they are kept under lock and key, or behind the counter with the ingredients for crystal meth.
Shaving didn’t used to require a “system,” as pointed out by Remington in this ad, aimed at outdoorsmen, from 1964.
Civilized? Maybe, at least until the “rechargeable energy cells” start to run down, turning those 4 roller combs and 348 cutting edges into a low-power clam shell, yanking dozens of whiskers at once and leaving a fellow to return from the woods half-shaved and looking like his shaving kit included a weasel.
The electric shaving revolution was still a few years off in the 1940s when Gillette ran a series of ads depicting exciting shaving adventures in which helpless women were saved by bristly heroes who only needed a good shave (Sensitivity Training was last week; this week we’re back to normal). Not nearly as exciting as Quill Gordon’s annual shearing, they are nonetheless entertaining examples of the civilizing effects of a good shave on rugged outdoorsy-types.
Silly Diane Blair scoffed at the rules, got lost, and just look at what happened! Thank goodness a young geologist was nearby! And why is “dude ranch” in quotes?
Chuck cuts quite the dashing figure in his jodhpurs with the reinforced butt patch. Because he has a gun we won’t say any more but we wonder why so few outdoors people wear jodhpurs these days.
Seems a whole lot of shaving and pipe smoking goes on at that “ranch” but hey, who doesn’t like to shave?
Not only is he brave and handsome, evidently Chuck is also self-employed, suddenly deciding he’s on vacation like that. Hubba-hubba! It’s a good thing those “ranch hands” all used Thin Gillette blades! One thin dime for four, two bits for ten — a savings of, well, you do the math.
Now, with a chin scraped raw and exposed to the elements for the first time in over half a year, I bring this Shaving Edition to an awkward close. The wind has picked up, yet another Winter Weather Advisory is in effect, and the old stir-crazy Shack Nasties are rearing their ugly heads like a recurring case of malaria. One of their symptoms this winter has been a song stuck in my head.
It has been said that the best way to get a song out of your head is to share it so I am happy to present this year’s Shack Nasty Theme Song. I hope you will all sing along, and maybe even do the dance, to this little ditty featuring Groucho Marx, a man who didn’t have to shave his moustache because he painted it on.