The Cucumber Analogy

I have previously written that the different shaving tools available today are like those used to peel a cucumber. If you know what you're doing, you can succeed with a chef's knife, and leave enough green to provide vitamins, with an artistic flourish. A paring knife is the most precise tool, allowing the greatest yield of cucumber, but its sensitivity to control inputs is likely to leave a couple unintended divots. A potato peeler is the fastest way to peel a cucumber, but it takes away significant value.

Now more than ever, I know, my face is that cucumber. My first normal shave in awhile happened this afternoon. I got a divot in my moustache near a lip corner, and hit a bump from previous misadventures on my chin. I'm nowhere near 100%, as measured in skin thickness, but at least the pain is over.

Taking a pointer from "Frugal Shave" to Anthony Esposito on YouTube, I found that indeed, I do not know what I am doing with a straight razor. I watched in horror as his pitch progression trended exactly opposite mine, beginning with a low angle, then going even lower ATG. It appears that ideal sharpness is key to that maneuver, carefully flicking the hair up with the top of the edge until it comes into opposition with the bottom and cuts through with near-zero traction.

Most humiliating is my realization that the DE steep-angle maneuver I have settled upon as a finishing pass, depending on the distribution of traction to the top cap and safety bar, is as far removed from that as a cartridge is, from how I shave. Still, for the freedom of not having to sharpen knives every day, and getting three weeks out of a blade, I feel pretty good about my preference in tools.

Several months ago, I made a deliberate move away from the open blade style I was learning with the "devette," because I recognized that convenience, and this week, I paid the ultimate price. But I think also, at that time, I sensed that there was something lacking in my skin condition, always looking at its acne-scarred, sun-damaged, cartilaginous underpinnings. As I am again now -- and it's not a good look on me.

Where the cucumber analogy breaks down is that a chef can use his knife to separate chicken pieces and chop carrots, besides prepping cucumber; while in shaving, it's the DE shaver who is required to draw strokes and push the capabilities of an edge.

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