From, The Five Obstructions, Jørgen Leth, 2003.
Lord Byron once called shaving “A daily plague, which in the aggregate, may average on the whole with parturition.” After looking up that last word, it’s obvious that this Byron fellow probably had no idea how to shave. Had he been lucky enough to live in the era of informative how-to websites such as this one, he could’ve learned in eight simple steps.
Following these eight steps, you’ll be a smarter and closer shaved man than Lord Byron could ever have hoped to be.
Step 1. Before you touch your skin with a razor, you have to make sure your skin is ready. Wash thoroughly with hot water and a non-hypoallergenic soap.
Actually, before that, take a shower and use an exfoliating scrub to remove the grit and grime from your face.
You know what, you better start the night before by applying a facial mask. If you feel like that’s fey, you can chase it with a cucumber slice on each eye. Cucumbers are extremely masculine.
Step 2. After you’ve done the mask, exfoliated, and washed with hot water, apply a rich lather. Are you a Regular Joe who likes a canned aerosol shaving cream? Or are you a Pretentious Snob who uses a bowl and brush? Consult your doctor about this since Regular Joes and Pretentious Snobs have different skin types. (For instance, some Pretentious Snobs may be French, and should therefore skip the shower in Step 1.)
While at the doctor’s, determine if you fall into any of the following groups which may make shaving difficult: African American (razor bumps, ingrown hairs), Ashkenazi Jew (break outs), or British (rotting from the inside out, especially the skin and teeth). If you belong to these groups, you should probably begin before Steps 1 and 2 by undermining the space-time continuum to be reborn to different parents of another race. You’ll have a much easier time shaving if you do.
Step 3. Your face is primed, you’re the right ethnicity, and you’ve lathered your cheeks and neck with the right kind of shaving cream: now you’re going to need a razor. Your choice says a lot. If you choose a plastic disposable razor, you’re saying, “I am cheap and the earth is a trash heap to despoil.” If you choose a three-blade razor, you’re saying, “I am too weak to lift a four blade razor.” If you select a four-blade razor, you’re saying, “I will buy anything if it’s marketed well.”
Step 4. Shaving! Finally. If you’re a tall man, shave your neck first, since it’s the part of you most people see. If you are a short man, you might as well not shave, since you probably look boyish and a beard will make you feel grownup. (If you’re an Ashkenazi Jew, as determined in Step 2, a beard may also help connect you with your heritage.) Also, isn’t it better to be called “That guy with the beard,” than “That short guy”?
Go slow. This is time for you to focus on yourself and yourself alone. It’s probably best if no one else is in the bathroom with you and you’re not listening to one of those uproarious ‘Morning Zoo’ radio programs. Laughter and shaving do not mix. Just ask Robin Williams!
Step 5. After shaving your neck, do your cheeks, chin, and upper lip. Don’t press too hard, since this is the step that causes the most damage to your skin. However, if you’re like millions of Americans without a job, in debt, angry about the government and the coarsening of public life, you might want to slash yourself repeatedly, rendering your face a bloody testament to your personal despair.
You must resist doing this! Press the razor gently against your stubble and drag it downward. We cannot save a world slowly dying in its own morass, but a good shave will leave you feeling refreshed and a little less hopeless.
If that doesn’t work, think about positive things like puppies and Scarlett Johansson: Damn, is she ever fine.
Step 6. Now, you need to treat your skin, which will be raw and nicked. Some men enjoy a bracing alcohol-based aftershave: These men are probably shell-shocked Vietnam vets or masochists who enjoy having their nipples tweaked. Some men prefer floral-smelling moisturizing creams. The less said about these men the better, but needless to say, you could beat any of them in a fistfight. Evenly apply your choice of aftershave and let it sit several minutes.
Step 7. If you’ve cut yourself, apply a small piece of toilet paper to your face to stanch the flow of blood. Do not to put on a collar shirt immediately after your shave, unless you’re a butcher and it’s acceptable to go to work with blood on your shirt. Take some time between your shave and dressing to have a cup of coffee (decaf, if you must) and read the newspaper. Check your stocks on Yahoo! Finance. Watch some Today Show.
Step 8. It should be about two hours since you started shaving, so you’re probably already late for work. Call in sick or request a personal day. You look too good to go to work anyway. Why waste a perfectly good shave at the office? It’s probably almost noon: Why not go to the local tavern and get a drink?
Hey, you’ve earned it, handsome.