I was out to brunch with two of my dear friends, enjoying a Bloody Mary (more on my love of a Bloody Mary another time), artisanal breakfast fare and great conversation. We were talking about all things large and small when we landed on the topic of shaving.
I am always curious about shaving because it is such an intimate and personal process, yet it is so regular in frequency and participation that we all have our own story.
In my household, there is one shaving enthusiast (my husband) and another who shaves (me). I approach shaving in a passionless way, similar to how I wipe down the kitchen counters, or use a push broom to sweep dust and leaves out of the garage.
My husband takes shaving to a whole new level, beyond anything I’d ever witnessed before. He participates in a shaving chat-room where fellow enthusiasts swap tips and product recommendations. (Badger & Blade) . He uses a specialty shaving brush, pre-shave prep products, shaving creams, an alum block for nicks, and after shave balms. His razor requires that he check otherwise carry-on-worthy luggage at the airport. He aspires, and often achieves B.B.S., or baby-bottom-smooth, skin. For this, I am truly grateful.
I’m not mocking my husband’s hobby; to be a good groomer is really a terrific hobby.
At the core of the shaving community, he has volunteered to product test for up-start shaving product lines. When I see packages arrive on our doorstep from London which smell of lavender, rose or sandalwood, I know before opening what has arrived. I’ve been taught to recognize a good snurdle.
So, over brunch, my friend is telling a story about how he went out to “get a shave” to a new place that popped up in town. I perked up.
Evidently, getting a shave is an experience that ranges quite widely for guys. A barbershop provides one experience, and today luxury shave shops which more closely resemble a mash-up of a spa and sports bar are multiplying.
At the higher-end joints, guys get hot towels and steam, facial massage and eye treatments all while watching sports on a big screen TV that is angled just-so. The shaver might be a master craftsman type. (The craft here being shaving). And, you can do all of this with a drink in hand. Go boys.
For my friend, the experience got off to a delightful start with the comfy chair and the hot towels and all.
Then the shaving technician turned to him and looked him in the eye and said with sincerity, “this is my favorite thing to do”. Just like that, no preamble. Presumably her favorite thing is to give a shave.
My friend was eating it up! He said he could tell she cared about her work and he felt like a million bucks walking out of that shave place.
From where I sit, someone who shaves out of necessity without love for the tools or potions, I wonder how it is even possible that shaving can be someone’s favorite thing to do? And yet, what a powerful proclamation. It transformed the service experience into one with true commitment. With that one short statement she shaved out all the small talk and got down to business.
The sad part about a shave is that it doesn’t last. Or, the good part about whiskers is that they provide a new opportunity to dip-and-twist the badger hair brush, lather-up and get to the business of grooming, again.