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Thread: Crossroads

  1. #1
    The Assyrian Obie's Avatar
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    Default Crossroads


    I am 27 years old, have been for decades, and am not budging.

    Yet, I find myself gradually returning to my roots — before age 27 — in the use of safety razors. A long time ago I used the standard Gillette double edge razors available — Superspeeds, adjustables — and single edge razors — GEM and Ever-Ready. I distinctly recall buying a Fatboy from the local pharmacy in San Francisco. The razor was sealed in the typical razor package, and if I remember, it cost less the $2.00.

    Fatboy sealed in its package, brand new, and priced under $2.00. You wish . . .
    Later, when life got in the way, I switched to the usual cartridge razors and injectors. In the jungles of Vietnam, my razor was the standard disposable Bic that came in the sundry packages that also contained C-Rations, toilet paper, mosquito repellent, and who knows what else to make life comfortable — under the circumstances. Shaving with canteen water in the steel helmet, some unpleasant canned goo for shave cream and a rough beard scraper for a razor wasn't fun — but you do the best you can.

    That's when I promised that if I got out alive, I would never let that stuff touch my face again. And I did not — for the most part. Later I even committed the sin of using an electric razor for a month or so. What a shaving abomination that was. OY! And so the years went by and the great Gillette, GEM and Every-Ready razors became more difficult to find, while a parade of cartridge razors swamped the shaving world: one blade, two, three, four, and these days five blades.

    "Five blades, man," said the guy shaving at the health club locker room sink next to me.

    "Well, I'll stick with what the old timers used," I said, palm stropping a Wade & Butcher.

    "Those guys didn't know what they were missing," he said, finishing his shave in about 90 seconds.

    "Maybe they were lucky," I said, trying to remain as diplomatic as possible.

    By then I was shaving with the straight razor regularly, something I had wanted to do since my early teens and never got around to doing so. In the following years, slowly the great Gillettes found their way back into my humble shave den. Then it was a parade modern double edge razors — Edwin Jagger, Muhle, Merkur and some others followed by a wave of modern stainless steel razors — Weber, iKon, ATT, Wolfman, BBS-1, Timeless, Mamba and others.

    In time, the old Gillettes, GEM and Every-Ready razors began dominating the shave den. Then the modern razors started disappearing: the standard models and the stainless. Weber, iKon, ATT, Wolfman and BBS are gone. I do not miss them, except for my set of Webers. In the past month or so, I have hardly used my three Timeless razors. Also my stainless steel Mamba, a razor I really like. I think soon only one Timeless will remain in the shave den in addition to the Mamba.

    I had forgotten what sweet shaves the great Gillettes, the GEMs and the Ever-Readys gave me. There is something about these razors that makes them exceptional, not only their balance in the hand from where I hold them, and their mild to mid-aggressive and comfortable shaves, but also the quality with which they were built. Gentlemen, that was true American workmanship.

    Some physical difficulties in my shoulders, plus arthritis in my hands, limit my straight razor shaves to only Sundays. The stainless steel razors are proving too heavy for my hands. The rest of the time I have started using the GEMs and the Gillettes for my daily shaves. Love both. I have shaved with the Sabre L2 several times, but it's a wee bit too much for my ultra sensitive skin, and too heavy for my hads.

    And so, still at age 27, I don't have to rely on memory of my vintage razors of years ago. They're all here, in excellent shape, and a joy to shave with.

    Gentlemen, do you find yourselves at such a crossroad?

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    Last edited by Obie; 11-12-2017 at 06:32 PM.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member blabbermouth Geezer's Avatar
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    Obie, You do speak for many of us "Geezers !" A couple major surgeries, Loss of coordination, weakness, and shakiness all play a role as to what our shave method of choice is. Loss of mobility of the neck makes some methods painful if not downright dangerous due to reduced blood flow to the brain.

    All this doesn't seem to stop us old phartz from adding to our collections by any story possible.

    The advantage we have is, unlike many of our old friends and acquaintances, we still have a life to Kvetch.
    Be well and prosper!

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  5. #3
    Forum mogwai thebigspendur's Avatar
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    27? Well very soon one of those digits are going to apply to me with an added 0.

    My roots? Heavens no. You be talking about electric razors and I left those behind at least 25 years ago.

    Like many of you I've had to limit straight shaving too. DE's have become my modus operandi however I think the current crop of stainless razors are superior shave wise than the older models. If stainless doesn't suit you they have aluminum razors and razors with titanium parts which made the instruments much lighter and easier to wield. The new Razorock Slant is one such example and I think it's the best I've tried.

    Really the old vs the new argument is no different than similar discussions with straight razors and many other things when you think of it.

    The only crossroads I've come to is the decision to try and simplify my life and go back to the basics when feasible. (Of course that doesn't apply to shave soaps and related).
    Every day without fail one should consider himself as dead-Tsunetomo

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  7. #4
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    No such crossroads yet but I can see it coming by the time I hit 30.

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    After listening to someone talk ever wonder who ties their shoe laces?

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  9. #5
    Senior Member evnpar's Avatar
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    I used the same Slim and Fat Boy that I purchased new for $1.98 at my local pharmacy for nearly 52 years, including two tours in Vietnam, until I discovered the forums. Since then I've tried at least 100 vintage and new DE's, SE's, and straights, and an equal number of soaps and brushes. I've never used a cart. It's been great fun, but I can get just as good of a shave from one of my vintage Gillettes and one of the pucks of Old Spice that I have tucked away, and using them brings back fond childhood memories of watching my grandfather and father shave with a vintage Gillette.

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  11. #6
    Senior Member blabbermouth Gasman's Avatar
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    You guys are making me feel younger. Thanks!

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  13. #7
    Senior Member blabbermouth tcrideshd's Avatar
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    Richard I am much along the same lines as you, I have never used a cartridge, and only used the cheap single blade disposable in boot camp. After I brought my new 2$ Gillette Fatboy with me all the way to the land of bad things, so for 45 years I carried my DE till straights came along. But I still shave with them every now and then.

    I lost my Fatboy about 3 years ago in a hotel and bought another,mother promptly had it plated, it,ll be with me till I,m 35! Old Arty is starting to get to my hands, with age and at least 15 broken bones in my wrist and hands so I wonder when my straight adventure will be over, but since I,m 27 too I guess maybe a few longer yet. Tc
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  15. #8
    Senior Member easyace's Avatar
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    My experience is very similar, though my age stopped at 23.

    I started with a Wilkinson Sword "sticky" , I bought it new and still have it. I then found a Gillette Tech and used that for years.

    In 2011 I switched to using a straight razors and have stuck with that since.

    Sadly through trying to maintain fitness by weight training, (usually to excess) for 40 years, I have managed to destroy one of my shoulders. Whilst I can still shave with a straight, I can see a time in the future when it will become more difficult.

    I guess I will fall back on the Wilkinson and Gillette.
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  17. #9
    Senior Member rodb's Avatar
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    I use all my collection and rotate through my favorite Gillettes and Gems quite often. I learned to shave with a Gillette Fatboy that was my dads and I still use that one on occasion. Safety razor are really nice with proper soaps unlike the canned goop I learned with!!
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  19. #10
    Senior Member Porl's Avatar
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    Great story, thanks for sharing. At least in your crossroads you still have some decent shaving choices other than cheese graters.

    I have decided to stick at the age of 32 and have been for 15 years, so I don't have the crossroads just yet, but I am finding certain things seemed to have increased in difficulty. I am relatively new to straight razors compared to you so I hope it lasts a good long time yet, but I too have enjoyed shaving with DEs and think that if straights become too difficult for me DEs will be my chosen weapon.

    Good luck and enjoy your twenties
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