I often reminisce over my younger years when I see pictures of a father showing his son how to shave, to me it is one of the few lessons in life that is reserved for us men and an experience that should be cherished and enjoyed. I was not privileged to share that with my dad, and if you are are around my age (just over mid 40's), a South African and 'of European descent', chances are you were not that lucky either.
There are a few reasons for this life's lesson passing me by, for one, my dad sported a beard for much of his life (and to this day), and I suppose it was for this reason teaching his sons about shaving was not something that came to mind. Secondly, I still battled to get a bit of 'melkbaard' when finishing matric, I guess being 17 and blonde also played a part in my fluff taking its time to become anything close to resembling a beard. The biggest contributor to me losing out on this experience with my dad was the SADF though. As a white South African male, you were required to serve your country for a period of national service, those who had made plans for studying after school had exemption for their period of study, I had little direction at the time, so "Army" was my designated home for the next 2 years.
A lot can be said about the SADF and its members at this time, in my opinion it was a brilliant outfit, in fact, I have a theory that if every young man and women in our country was called up to serve in such a organisation, we would be one of the most prosperous, balanced societies in the world today. This blog is about shaving though, and not about becoming an adult, so let's get back on point.
We received a list of stuff that you had to take with you (very minimal). As most of our dad's were working, the onus fell onto our mothers to sort out this list, amongst it a razor and some shaving foam or soap, in SA context and in my opinion, this is where the corporates like Gillette and Schick secured lots of clientele. Not knowing much about shaving one's face, and wanting the best for her 'laaitie' my mom bought me the 'newest tech' on the market, a Gillette Twin blade 'Trac 2', and a can of foam. That was it, my shaving habits for the next two decades were determined by advertising, appearance and availability on the supermarket shelf. The art of shaving and the manliness about it had taken a second row to a rack of brightly colored hanging cards at the checkout counter. Quite sad really, but I suspect many of you had similar experiences; there was a time when shaving was one of the highlights of one's day, but the corporates turned it into a chore by telling us it needs to be fast, disposable and plastic.
Don't miss out on the chance to form a part of your son's life before trying classic wet shaving with a straight razor, safety razor and a brush. Online shopping, millions of instructional videos and a very wide range of cool products has made it possible for us to reclaim this domain reserved for dads & sons, and to once again start our day with a routine that brings a smile to our face.