I still haven’t cut myself since I started with the cut-throat last November, other than one small nick on my ear and another under my chin and another… No, really, I have been more likely to miss bits than cut myself. I was driving the car when my wife, sitting next to me, pointed out that I had missed a bit and had a load of stubble under my chin. I thought I had shaved completely but she saw it catching the light. I do better now.
My wife must have been humouring me as she got me, for Christmas, a copy of the book: Sharp Practice – The Real Man’s Guide to Shaving by Anders Larson. If I do cut myself I have the perfect story ready courtesy of Anders. Being a Pentecostal pastor I think it will go down a treat!
The book was a delight to read and full of great tips on wielding the cut-throat, but I especially liked reading of when he cut himself shaving and the tale he told about it on page 88. That is the story I want to use.
When people hear that I use a cut-throat razor, they always ask the same question: ‘Do you cut yourself often?’
I laugh. No, as a rule, I don’t. Of course, I might behead the odd pimple, like the rest of the male population, but I don’t cut myself. Why would I?
Except I did, a few years ago.
It was the Christmas party, and there was a wide selection of single-malt Scotch behind the bar. There were Cuban cigars too, which we could put on the tab. Everything got a little out of control, and when I made it home, at about four in the morning, I barely managed to crawl up the stairs on all fours. Everything was spinning.
In a spiritual epiphany, I decided to have a shave.
The lathering part went fine, and I stropped the blade fairly well, but as the steel touched my cheekbone, I hesitated, and blinked. What was I doing?
When I pulled away the razor, a line of deepest red appeared across my cheek. I had enough presence of mind to put away the blade safely (I have young children) and crawled into bed. I didn’t use a styptic [something to stop bleeding]. In fact, I fell asleep with my face still lathered.
The next morning, I wasn’t a pleasant sight. I had to go to work, and the cut was spectacular. It was at least three inches across — disposable razorblades aren’t made that wide. I was working for a well-known multinational company, and I was supposed to be well groomed at all times.
To everyone who asked at work — and they all did — I told the truth: I’d cut myself shaving.
No one believed me: they all wanted to hear a story of a terrific in a pub. After a while, I couldn’t help myself. It was over lunch. My colleagues and managers were all there, and every so often one would look in my direction, shake his head knowingly and smile. They were wondering what I’d been hit with: a bottle, a knife, an enraged woman’s claws?
My manager grinned at me. ‘Come on, tell us what really happened. We’re dying to know.’
I put down my spoon. ‘OK, I didn’t cut myself shaving.‘ They leaned closer.
‘No. After I left you, I took myself off to this opium den I go to sometimes.’
My manager’s eyes popped.
‘So there I was, with my bamboo pipe, sucking in the sweet black smoke, with a naked Chinese lady beside me, and this brilliant opium wave washing over me, and I’m about to go off to the misty lands where reality has no meaning. . .’
Everyone was listening now.
. . when this crazy man bursts in and whacks me across the side of the head with a machete.’
I picked up my spoon and got on with my soup.
They were gaping at me.
I closed my eyes. ‘To tell the truth, I can’t remember. But it’s either that or I cut myself shaving.’