It’s the small things…

While I tend to a simple approach – Halloween being a notable exception, of course – I do prefer nicer, though not necessarily “finer”, things in life. And while I can talk myself out of buying almost anything, I do allow myself a few personal pleasures. Most know that beer and coffee are sure bets. Books at one time used to be, though not nearly as much now.

Chocolate is another area where I brook little compromise. It’s is a food group all by itself. There may not be any “bad” chocolate, but there is good chocolate, most assuredly better chocolate, and there is without a doubt definitely excellent chocolate. “Good” might be Hershey’s or Dove. “Better” would be Ghirardelli, Godiva, Lindt.  “Excellent” would be See’s, Dude Sweet Chocolate (very excellent), and what you can find in many small shops. For a real treat, pair very good chocolate with very good beer.

One small luxury, or “finer thing” if you will, may or may not surprise you. I have been using a shaving brush for 25 years or so, and a double-edge safety razor for about four. This is my set up:

Shaving kit

Neither Andrea nor I remembered that the specialty cleaners took my shaving mug to be cleaned, so I was quite pleasantly surprised when we unpacked it after they delivered everything. Sidebar: I found out that Col. Ichabod Conk was apparently a real person, but Andrea got me the mug because it looked cool.

I can’t stand hand-applying shaving cream (snob!), and have used a brush for a long time. We had to replace my old brush after the fire – wood handle was sooted too badly, and there was little saving of the bristles. I bought an inexpensive brush from Walmart before we got this one, and I have to confide that there is a huge difference in quality between brushes.  The brush in the picture is a badger hair brush that is dense and holds water well. It’s smooth when lathering the beard – the Walmart brush is none of those.  Until recently, I didn’t use a brush when traveling and the cream on hand drove me nuts. The cheap Walmart brush is pretty bad, but I now use it when I’m away from home  (I also got a small bowl for the soap so no more shaving cream!) so that modicum of snobbery persists.

The safety razor has a nice heft and the blades cost a fraction of the five-blade Fusion I used to use. I have a spare one for traveling, in addition to the brush and bowl, because switching between the multi-blade commercial and the single blade caused problems. Also, some 30 years ago in a moment of curiosity I bought a straight razor, which I tried for a little while. The bare blade on my neck was unnerving. Not a “finer thing”. The safety razor heralded the return of “five o’clock shadow”, though, which at rare times dictates a second shave. Small sacrifices must be made…

Remember that little white styptic pencil your Dad had? Comes in handy when first getting used to the single-blade. Makes guys with delicate faces scream though. I keep one around just in case I’m in a hurry and I nick myself, which doesn’t happen often.

It stings…but I don’t scream.



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