There is a ritual that comes into popularity from time to time. It fades out with other fads but you never get rid of it. That ritual is shaving. There are actually two different rituals that are tied together around shaving.
There is the One ritual that is performed by an elder and the youth. It is often called The Sign of a Man or Passing of the Razor. Then the other ritual is the Ritual of the Shave. Both of these customs are important to a young man’s life.
Do men always have to shave?
No, I think it is good for a man in his late 20’s and early 30’s to grow a healthy beard. Let them experience the rite and pride when they have a full beard. The same as men need to try a good Chevron or Walrus mustache. Just to see if there is a style that agrees with them. It just may be that a good full Handlebar is just the thing you were needing.
Every man will at one time in their life engage in the ritual of the shave. Yet, is that ritual a fulfilling custom, or is it just rushed through? IS the ritual not enjoyed? All because that is what that the youth have been told, “Just drag a razor across your scruffy face and get going”
Yes, there are times that you have to rush and get out the door. Though I would say doing that all the time causes men to lose something. It is good to slow down from time to time and breathe in the aftershave.
The Passing of the Razor
Daddy’s little man doesn’t stay little. It is a mixed bag of emotions for fathers. The Old Man can still see that big toothy grin on his son. Granted it is with an overabundance of slobber on the chin, all while he is running full title at pop all because dad just walked in from work.
There is the pride in that same little tyke now has a coating of peach fuzz on his upper lip and see that is son is becoming a man. The youth in question is starting to mature and dad sees the sign that his role in his son’s life is changing from a caregiver and provider to a mentor. This is show and played out in the Passing of the Razor. You can compare it to passing on a family heirloom and often a safety razor.
Some folks are only aware of the cartage style of razors these are the Gillette Fusion or any other razor that you replace the whole razor head
This ritual and rite of passages are often handed down from fathers to sons. There was even a time the father would buy their son their first razor or the youth would get an old safety razor that dad may have received from his father or even his father’s father. Many times there is a story that is attached to the razor. This is to help solidify the bond that young man has to his ancestors.
Sadly many men don’t have this tradition or it was lost because the boy’s grandfather didn’t continue it. For whatever reason sometimes the tradition is lost. So is it gone for good? No. This is the fun and magic of a tradition. You can make a new tradition or you can edit it to how you feel it needs to be. There are key points to keep in mind if you are starting a new tradition of passing the razor.
Passing the Razor is normally but not always done by a significant male figure in the boy’s life. Whether it is the dad, grandad, Uncle Robert or the next door neighbor. If the man is a trusted man who has an influence if the boy’s life then gives them the honor of this right. If you are the passer then make this ceremony a special one. After the young man has taken his shower. Set him down and present the razor and tell the story of what this razor is what it signifies. Share the emotion and why passing this old thing is important to you and him.
Now you may get a few I knows and you might even get an “I have already shaven a couple of times.” protest. Don’t worry about these statements. Use this moment as a bonding moment.
After presenting the razor to him. Both go the bathroom and show your son the how you perform the ritual of shaving. Show him how to soften the whiskers with hot water and if you use oil or shaving cream. You might even show him the old style by using a badger brush and your very own safety razor. Show him how to change the blades and bestow all your shaving knowledge upon him. Mentor him. Give all the advice you have. Though it will not be used at first it will help the young man navigate through the trial and errors of him doing it himself.
You see, this ritual isn’t just for him it is for you too. So you learn about how to mentor and direct the young man. Don’t be upset if he doesn’t do it your way. You are the wise sage and you got that through experience. Even your son will have to learn that through your experience and his. The fine details of this ritual of celebrating a son becoming a man may have faded but it isn’t gone. Not yet. There are companies that have stepped in and become the dad. Many guys when they turn 16 often get a Gillet razor in the mail. That may be good marketing but there is a bond that is formed when dad buys the razor or has one that is passed on.
My Ritual of the Shave
We all do our shaving different I shave primarily in the shower. But I do like standing in front of a mirror from time to time. We as people all have customs and rituals in our lives. Do you brush your teeth with your eyes open or closed? That is a ritual in its self. Shaving in its many forms does the same thing. You have a way of shaving, but is it special? Have you ever thought of shaving as something other than a pain in the ass?
I often recommend that people try stepping back and do common tasked the old fashion way. Shaving is especially rewarding when you go old school. There is almost a bond that connects you to the essence of a man when you slow down and experience a shave in a ritual nature. So put a shaving ritual together and if you want to have a kit. You don’t have to use your kit of every shave. I sure don’t. I use my kit maybe once a month just so that I can reconnect with my masculinity and appreciate being a man and relish in the custom of the rite of shaving.
My ritual has a kit to it.
- Safety Razor
- Shaving soap
- Shaving mug
- Badger Brush
- Shave Secret shaving oil
- Sink Stopper
- Hand towel
Now shaving is often done in solitary and that is because you have just stepped out of the shower. Yet, it doesn’t have to be. If you kids run n while you are shaving let them see you apply the shaving lather. Let them watch as you remove the stubble with each pass of the razor and wash it off in the sink. Let them see that shaving is special to guys. Let them play act with an empty razor
If you are a young man there are different shaving experiences I would recommend you try out. Some are fun and all are relaxing and memorable in their own way.
This is actually the most classic shaves you can get. That is because Barbers actually use to be the only place you could afford to get a shave. That is because the cost of a straight razor was, and still is, very expensive. So if you wanted a close shave you went to the barber and they would remove all unwanted facial hair.
This experience is still my most favorite. If you can find a hot towel shave get it. They are an experience you will never forget. But most barbers use the hot lather which luxurious in its own right and you will more than likely get one of these. But the feeling of them putting that hot lather on your face and letting it set up a bit is heavenly. Then to have the razor cut each whisker is simply magical. I am positive that it has a lot to do with the straight razor but the way your skin feels after a barber shave is one of the grandest you will have.
Now this one is special for couples. It is always a special bonding experience when you are able to serve the person you love. When you experience the love of your partner in this world serving you with a shave it truly special. It also gives them a peek into your ritual of shaving. Which they can come to appreciate the care you give yourself. There is the trust that is built as they try to not cut you. The meaning of a lover shave is something all people would benefit from experiencing.
Take your time shave
This is a ritual where you give yourself a break. Today people are rushing around and often do not treat themselves in the correct fashion. They may buy a gift for themselves, or they may go and enjoy a good cocktail with their favorite cigar, but they are not serving themselves. Stop at least once a month and take the time when you climb out of the show to do a slow ritual of the shave.
Take the time to lather and allow the foam to truly soften the whiskers. Then shave slow and deliberate. Making sure you get all the nooks. If need be re-lather and make a second pass if your skin won’t get too irritated. Then when finished top it off with some shaving balm and relish in its feel as your skin is rehydrated.
It is a stop and smells the rose’s type of event. It is good for you to slow up and enjoy a good shave.
Shaving is something men do. We can make it an enjoyable event or it can be a drudgery. That choice is yours. I would rather accept that I will shave my face every other day and relish the feeling of my skin when finished. I like to think that I have passed the love of a good shave on to my son who will get tired of his beard eventually and will want to go cleanly shaven again.
Either way, take your time and treat yourself to a ritual that can be healing to you by shaving.