XTG: The Barber's Stroke?

I've long struggled with the XTG concept. On straight razor boards, they make it look like an ideal attack, the approach from which the base of the hair is most upright, when the square edge defines the frame of reference. But of course it's not a static thing, and in tension-alignment theory, XTG has no basis of support, being merely an accident of stroke direction that one encounters when the slicing and chopping actions of the blade balance in a certain way.

But what if you couldn't feel the tension alignment, the difference between pain and pleasant traction? What if all you could feel was the resistance of the hair? What if you were a barber? Then I think you might do something like what I did today, which coincidentally re-defined XTG in my mind.

I wanted to get a closer shave from the jaw down, but stay with the current program, of trying to shave as WTG as possible. The declaration of intent turned out to be the whole story. That's just what XTG is to me, now. I turned my skew and/or stroke direction only far enough from WTG to catch hair again. It's a subtle distiction, but a fine one, not just splitting hairs. OK, well, I guess it is that. But it's another one of those paradigm shifts that I so enjoy, bringing more of the "Facts" about shaving into my understanding.

I've mentioned the barbers... a stroke from ear to chin on the jawline, which I'm sure many of us employ is probably the best example of what I'm talking about. It's not about getting "more" reduction, it's about getting "more" hairs cut to skin level. Shaving by ear also becomes a much more useful concept; so much so, that I suspect this was the original meaning.

What you get is a close, comfortable shave. Nothing more, nothing less. 

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