Sorry, Gramps

My memory is a little sketchy, from when I was four years old and spending days with my paternal grandparents. A severe critic of shaves even then, I would wince at Dad's goodnight kiss if there was any hint of a moustache. One time I gave Gramps the business, too, and rousted him out of his chair to get his shave together. Gram might have had a part in putting me up to it.

I wish I could remember exactly what he did in the bathroom that day, but I think it involved 'Lectric Shave and the stubby remnant of his mixed badger-boar brush. I was always sniffing at his bottle of green Skin Bracer. My Dad, who worked in a department store, had given him a Norelco like his own, I think. At any rate, I was still critical when he was done, at which point he told me very clearly that it was more important to be "comfortable." I was not satisfied with that, because it was obviously not "comfortable" to rub it backward. Ah, the timeless point of confusion! But I learned to stop bugging him about it.

Ever-Ready 250D and my grandfather's StanHome Badger and Bristle.
With the old, narrow brushes, a load of soap doesn't go for much more than one pass.

The "Shave Like Grandad" blog is a reasonable substitute for the sad facts of my own family history. While I've been layering this and that and going for the four-year-old's standard, Doug Hansford has been whittling down techniques that require nothing more than a lump of soap and five minutes, built around a gentle Merkur open comb razor. Today was a great day for me to insist on comfort, with little stubble and a dry face, so I switched my blade over to my Christmas razor, the Merkur 1904.

I adapted Doug's "region-oriented uni-shave" to my "perfect shave" preparation, and got a very, very fine shave. Not the closest, but way closer than my Gramps'. I think most people would disregard the three hairs catching on a fingerprint and call it BBS; even the four year old me would approve. Or, maybe not: I asked my son's opinion, and though he said "good" at first, I made him stroke my cheek upward. "It's horrible!"

Though Gramps was a mechanic in the War and doubtless had used a Tech, I would confabulate that he donated it to Gram in favor of the original Gillette, in the years before going electric, and merely borrowed it back, on the day I bugged him, to touch up the region around his mouth and chin. I can almost recollect a regretful story in which one of the NEWs and a male relative was mentioned, but his preference is lost to history. He was actually a "machinist," by the way; they just didn't have a checkbox for that when he was inducted to the Army. I think he respected the Germans, despite his love of service, which extended into the Conservation Corps. I know the first time I heard the word "Solingen," it was from him. He would have loved this razor.

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