Check Your Straight Razor Moves

     Bad habits have a way of creeping into straight razor moves like annyoing verbal ticks. Suddenly they are there, out of nowhere, and knocking on the door like univited dinner guests. After shaving with a straight razor for a while, many of our razor moves become second nature. Occasionally the razor gets lost on a detour and ends up at the wrong address. How and why of it are questions that I think can be eliminated if the shaver periodically evalutes his shaving style and razor technique.

     Since starting with the straight razor a while back, periodically I have checked my style and technique to see what I did right and what wrong. This periodic evaluation of my art began when I started in radio more than 30 years ago. Throughout the years I made a point of recording my radio show at least once a month to correct any bad habits that might have crept into my on-air style.

     For instance, was my breathing correct; did I stop at the appropriate part in the sentence to take a breath; had I picked up worthless words that disrupted my speech pattern; was I talking too much; too little; too slow; and was my music blending; and so on. I applied a similar evaluation to my writing, always examining what I did right and what wrong. Although no longer in radio, I keep up the evaluation of my writing regularly.

     Such self-evaluation also helps me prevent bad habits that might creep into my straight razor style and technique. Althoug by no means is my technique worthy of an Oscar, it seems to work for me and that's what matters. For instance, recently I realized that on the first pass on the cheeks, shaving with the grain of the beard, the blade was tipping up a little rather than stying horizontal, with the point leading slightly, which is the way I prefer it. What's this? What's this? Of course, in parts of the first pass, the razor position changes according to need, but overall, that north and south movement with the first pass, for me, should have the razor horizontal, with the point leading slightly.

     Another time I caught myself squeezing the razor too hard in my hands. Since I switch hands with the straight razor, the right hand for the right side and the left hand for the left, I had double trouble. I am reminded of the fencing lesson scene in the film "Scaramouch" with Stewart Granger, where , as the hero, he receives instructions from a master teacher. The teacher tells him — and I paraphrase — to hold the sword as if it were a bird: not too tightly so that he would squeeze life out of it and not too loosely so that it will fly away.

     That's how I hold the razor: with just the right amount of pressure so that I can maneuver it properly. It seems to work for me. I have caught other bad habits that somehow have temporarily tarnished my straight razor style and technique. Since I will always consider myself a straight razor pilgrim, I will continue to periodically check to see what I do right and what wrong. And then play with the right and correct the wrong.

— Obie Yadgar


Great writeup, Obie. The part about the right amount of pressure is so very right!


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