34 It Is

I tried to push the limit with witch hazel solution, but like I said, there was no one factor to tweak. And so, though the skin may have been less subject to abrasion, the hair was getting a little tough for the blade to cut. Within acceptable parameters -- sort of like a broken-in blade with no juice -- but I still needed three passes, with really five or six passes' worth of strokes. Increassed shadow is also evident. Yesterday's shave was in the 10-12 hour range for smoothness when stroked with the grain (very good, for me). Today it seems more like 5-8.

So, to the blade bank it goes, and I guess my number hasn't changed much, after all. My reward was consistency. Synthesizing traction control with previous tension-alignment techniques, I realized my ultimate shave, in many ways. I'm not entirely satisfied to accept the cotton ball definition of BBS, since it excludes me, and yet I feel as smooth as I can be. (I suspect more men stroke upward with the back of their fingers than search the bathroom for cotton...) I've sidestepped the issue of a formal definition by substituting a functional one.

More satisfying is that this phenomenon of the final shaves being perfectly smooth, but too much effort, is precisely as foretold by Bosse, former correspondent at Badger and Blade, the guy who could get 100 shaves. I might need a little more practice handling sharp blades, before claiming that all my shaves will be great from now on. It seems my constitution compels me to learn everything backward.

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