Saturday, February 26, 2011

Living on the edge

Thursday Feb 24 11:00am

There is a mark of manliness which has passed for my generation: the straight razor shave. I imagine days of old where men would sit around the barber shop conversing over baseball scores, fishing holes, and new fangled rock n roll. They would be there to get a haircut and straight razor shave.
I was looking rather unkempt having gone more than a month without a good haircut and making sure my last haircut did not draw unwanted (who does he work for?) attention in Egypt. There was no way my current state of appearance would pass any inspection, by either Admiral or amicable female. It is the Arab World’s version of Saturday morning, a time for cleaning and chores. After cleaning my room, I ventured out to one of the four million barbershops that seem to litter the streets of Muscat, generally all right next to each other. I walked into one from which the proprietor had greeted me on previous wanderings around my block. I ended up getting exactly what I wanted in terms of a haircut and then they asked if I wanted a shave.
I have always wanted a straight razor shave. My father said it is much better and closer than what my Gillette razor can do. He once told a story of trying to get one for his wedding day. I was a little nervous about blades on my throat, and thought to the Johnny Depp musical movie about the demon barber. Images also flashed of the beheadings in the country next door, and terrorist television with men doing the same in black jumpsuits. Oh wait, those people aren’t barbers, and this is Oman. In odd conversation I learned the proper way to tell if I am going to be murdered in the Arabic, so figured I would have a few seconds to do something. Then I realized how ethnocentric this line of thought was and felt bad for even coming across it.
The shave was incredible and easily one of the most glorious things I have ever had. It was as if (cue the Midwest reference) a zamboni had laid down a sheet of silk smooth ice of my face. I may have to invest in a straight razor when I get home. If you have never had one of these shaves, get one for your next big event/date/etc. My Gillette is going to get quite jealous.

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