Remembering a great shave in Movember

By Robert Washburn

Okay, now that week three is behind me, I am now anxious to begin growing my beard back.

The initial shock of losing my facial hair is long gone. As the picture for this week shows, the moustache is coming back in nicely. But, it is the chin. That naked chin is driving me nuts.

Also shaving is a pain. When I have a full beard, it is a pretty simple process. Keep the throat area clear is the main goal. Cheeks should also be hairless. Go the barber for a good trim once every few months and it’s good to go.

But shaving the entire face is not fun.

However, I do remember many years ago getting a professional shave.

It was Lawrence, the barber ,on Avenue Road, just south of Wilson Ave in Toronto. He was my barber dating back to my childhood. It was an old-fashion barbershop with the pole out front and the big glass window so it was easy to see inside.

Men sat around reading newspapers, thumbing through magazines like Popular Mechanics, Sports Illustrated, National Geographic and GQ. The delicate smells of rose water, shaving cream and antiseptic sterilizers for the combs filled the air with cleanliness.

It was several years since I had gone to the shop. After going to university, it was very rare for me to get home. But it was a special occasion. The graduation dinner and dance was taking place for Victoria College, where I was finishing my final year. I had a date. We had rented a limo with some friends. I had a tuxedo to wear.

So, as a special treat, I decided to go and get a professional shave for the evening.

It is impossible to forget. The padded reclining chair was so comfortable, like a Lazy-Boy. The hot towels on my face were so relaxing, I was nearly asleep before he started. After several applications of towels, then came the hand-whipped shaving cream, generously slathered on my face with a brush. Inches of cream covered my jowls. The icy aroma and the coolness of the cream met my hot skin.

Out came the straight razor. Up and down the leather strap, he smacked the blade, honing its sharpness. Then, slowly, carefully and gently, he drew the blade across my face.

Cleaning the shaving cream off on a towel drapped over his arm, he pulled the sharp blade over my face. Once cleared, he applied more hot towels and then wiped the residue.

Once complete , the chair was raised and I was looking at myself in a mirror. Aftershave was applied generously. It smelled like nothing I had known before – sharp and crisp. My face tingled. My smile was ear-to-ear. Not one cut.

Touching my face, it was so soft. It was nearly a week before I had stubble.

I have never had one since.

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