Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

Sensual pleasure: being shaved

So, I'm in an eastern Mediterranean city, my first meeting isn't until 1100, I've had my breakfast by 0900 and I need a haircut. And I haven't shaved since Friday. The concierge directs me to the nearest barber, and where my hair is duly shortened. I seem to be the first customer of this week; a small boy stares at the pasty-faced foreigner who doesn't speak their language.

And then the barber offers to shave me as well, and I accept. I am 42 years old, and have never been shaved by any hand other than my own. The small boy lathers up a huge shaving brush - foam all over it; he rinses off the handle and sets it down for the barber (who is also young, but they don't look related - brother-in-law? step brother?). Many layers of towels are laid over me, and then the foam; and then the barber comes at me with a sharp sharp cut-throat razor. My throat feels very exposed; but then, like a junior wolf, I submit.

Like most teenage boys, I simply adopted my father's shaving habits - shaving brush and ordinary soap, Wilkinson safety razor, do it twice over - and have gradually moved to my own variation - shaving gel, Gillette Mach 3, a single run over the relevant area is enough. Occasionally hairdressers have nibbled around the edges of my scalp with a straight razor, but now it's a comfortable stroking of the blade against my skin, separating off the bristles from the follicles, looking clean, feeling smooth. He pulls at my lips to get at the tricky bits in the corners of my mouth and under my nose.

And then he does it again, to catch anywhere he missed first time. And all the other trimmings as well, including patting my ears with flaming alcohol to get the hairs there; a bit alarming, but effective. The little boy pinches and pulls at my arm muscles, presumably his idea of a massage, for that extra bit of service. And the whole lot, including haircut, costs me €20. Money well spent.

It's 1045. time to go.

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