The magic of a close shave makes you feel lighter, like when you were a carefree kid.
I remember the first time I shaved my face on my own.
I wasn’t quite 18. I had a patches of facial hair sparsely scattered along the edge of my jawline. On the toilet seat was a picture I’d ripped out from my favorite hip hop magazine. I decided that day I would shave every strand of hair off my face like one of my favorite artists at the time; LL Cool J.
I had no real knowledge of what characterized a good razor, nor did I know what shaving cream would work best for my skin. But I lathered up my face with some Dove soap and proceeded to carefully run the razor, your standard Bic, downward on my cheek. That first time I shaved, I cut myself multiple times. By the time I was finished, I had three different areas that wouldn’t stop bleeding. I rinsed my face and placed tiny shreds of toilet paper on the imperfections to stop the bleeding. I walked out of the bathroom feeling defeated. It looked nothing the picture.
For years after that experience, I never kept my face completely clean-shaven. I just kept my mustache and goatee neat. However, now that I’ve mastered the art of grooming, shaving sometimes brings about a sense of pride.
Every two weeks, I set aside an hour for a barbershop visit. Although, I have become prolific with both a straight razor and clippers, that feeling of sitting in a barber’s chair is something that’s sacred among men. When I sit in the chair and the barber tosses the smock over my shoulders ceremoniously, I can feel the transformation beginning. The hot towel prep and lather, along with the sound of him sharpening his razor gives me the feeling that Tony Starks has when he’s summoning his suit of iron.
I typically keep my facial hair maintained enough to look my age. But recently, I was having a tough time with life. I was trying to overcome writer’s block as well dealing with the occasional panic attack. I was stressed and I’m sure it showed in my face. As soon as I plopped down in my barber’s chair, I told him “Cut it all off, man!” This particular barber has been cutting my hair since I was a teenager. He had never heard me utter those words to him. But that day, he obliged.
With precision, he ran the blade down the side of my face; starting from the sideburns. Each stroke was flawless and even. As he swirled me around to look in the mirror, I was shocked. Surprised by own reflection.
I ran my fingers across the newly-shaved smoothness a few times. I observed from multiple angles. I liked what I saw. And because I liked my clean-shaven face, my attitude shifted. I’d walked into the shop with slumped shoulders and a scowl. Yet my face now sported a grin. Nothing was going to upset me. I’d forgotten all about the troubles that had bothered me before my barbershop visit. I remembered the carelessness of being a baby-faced kid and walked out with my shoulders feeling much lighter. My confidence was sky-high.
Minus the bald head, I’d finally achieved the signature LL Cool J look.
Photo Credit: Getty Images