Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Weasel Whiskers

Two interesting recent searches that lead someone to this site- "Auld Slapper", the grandmotherly prostitute who performed unmentionable acts on England soccer ace Wayne Rooney; and "Naturists play sports". You know who you are, and you know you need help. Help that only a naked Auld Slapper playing volleyball can provide.

But onto the matter at hand today: Shaving.

I don't normally do product endorsements on these pages but I do have to mention the most wonderful present Country Mouse brought home from Portland this past Sunday, a jar of Maine Shave's moisturising shave cream.

When I was a spotty herbert of a teenager and just starting to shave* my dad gave me a brush, some mug soap, and one of my mum's lady bics and told me to hack away. As I aged and I needed to shave more often** I switched over to a more modern combo of aerosol can and multi-bladed bit of shiny plastic from Gillette or similar. I'm not fully sure if it was the exorbitant cost of replacement blades, a dislike of unnecessary packaging, or a visceral hatred of those stupid ads which suggest that Razor A is built from leftovers from the Space Shuttle and will make sultry lab assistants shake down their hair and wriggle out of their skirts but last spring I said "Balls to the lot of them" and decided to go back to the older, less Maxim-y way of shaving.

I invested in a brush and razor combo on a stand- very nice brush but the razor was crap. I soldiered on for a while with my Mach 3 and the brush/soap combo, but I couldn't stand paying a small fortune to Gillette every month and so finally bought a German-made long handled chrome Merkur safety razor.

Now the problem was the cheap shaving soap I had been using couldn't hold out against the panzer division of a razor I was dragging across my face. It seemed like I was cursed to either use a razor I hated but I'd get to use the brush; or use the razor I liked but have to use that wasteful Mr. Whippy foam. With the winter up here in Maine one does need a decent bit of skin protection, lest one's face look like a post-Dioxin Viktor Yushchenko.

Just in the nick of time, enter Country Mouse bearing gifts. The Maine Shave stuff ain't cheap but it does what it says on the label. I shaved with it and then stepped out into the biting wind and salty air of coastal winter: no burn, no soreness, no bumps or lumps, no redness. I love the packaging, and the product looks good in the jar. I was at a bit of a loss to describe the smell- not really perfumey, not really barbershoppy- until it hit me that it smelled a little like the time I caught a whiff of a bear's den while watching the warden's service tag hiberating bruins***. Let me hasten to add that that bear's dens actually smell good; like a dog at its best with cedar, hazelnuts, and blueberries thrown in.

The upshot is I wholeheartedly recommend this Maine Shave stuff; they have a ladies line too, should any of you women reading not feel inclined to buy your bloke a nice pressie.

*About once a month.
**Twice a month
***I know that sounds ridiculous, but I did do that, about ten years ago


Mondale said...

I currently use a Mach3 with a L'Occitaine bowl and brush combo.
I shave as little as possible partly to avoid the hassle but also to allow my slightly sensitive skin to live a little freely and also to minimize the shelling out for Mach3 blades (yikes!)
I like the brush aspect as it massages the skin and the soapbowl lasts for a million years.
When dealing with the bitter NYC winter air I tend to use a regular dose of Nivea skin cream (the old fashioned sort in a blue tub).
Just thought you might be interested.

Mondale said...

I'm currently eating a cheese n' pickle sandwich.
Again, thought you might care to know.

Mark said...

I've switched back to bic (cheap as chips, but naggingly disposable), and was given a boots own shaving oil which I'm rather taken with. Amazing what those gillette boffins have done with the humble razor though Gillette Fusion - 6 blades, batteries and an on-board computer chip! Genius. (What next? Heated blades, GPS...).

A friend works for a well known toothpaste manufacturer who have discovered that people are kind of fed up with 'the newest, bestest-ever formula' which is why we currently have toothpaste ads from the 1980's running in the UK. Are we on the cusp of a similar tipping-point for razors? Maybe then these Gillette boffins can turn their attention towards more mundane matters, like a limitless supply of clean energy for the world (probably won't be cheap mind).

I live in Sandwich, which is near Ham (Ham Sandwich), which is nice.

weasel said...

Nod, by God! Oh hooray, Mark has a blog! I'll link to your rather sneakily launched blog as soon as possible. Seeing as you were the first person in my year, house, and dorm room at WymCol to start shaving (at the age of 8, before getting to school, if memory serves) you have the longest experience with razors of any of my peers. Mind you, you are also a mad scientist so I wouldn't have been surprised if you had announced that you absent mindedly shaved with a bunsen burner or similar.

Mondale- that reminds me, must get some more Branston from the insufferable online British expat shop. That is Mark, unless you and L are coming over???

Mondale said...

Trotter! I've already introduced you to my (small) blog public. yeah!!
Weasel , I'll try and get you some from my local shop. may well be cheaper and defintely less right wing.

Anonymous said...

Excellent review. It made me want to run right out and buy a jar!!!!