Now, there's something you don't see everyday...
After reading The Ultimates' primer on swing lifestyle, I got to thinking about shaving. I don't swing, so this whole conversation about hair was new to me. I'm a fairly hairy individual. Not quite Austin Powers, but my Welsh blood has me wearing a sweater all year long.
Honestly, I've always been proud of it. When I was a teen, my hair was among the first signals of my adult body to arrive. I wasn't the guy that had a full beard in Freshman English, but by Junior year, I had more hair on my chest than my old man.
In my 20's & 30's, I thought my hair looked pretty good. Curly, bushy and vibrant. It was soft and sensual. I would run my fingers across it on hot summer nights when sleeping on the sheets was the only choice.
I thought of shaving hair as something for swimmers or openly gay men that were into the pretty boy image. I saw myself as some sort of hybrid between Burt Reynolds and Che Guevara, thumbing my nose at body-grooming neuroses with bravado in pursuit of the "real (hairy) man" lifestyle.
But, I am 49 now and that once lovely forest of vibrant, hirsute masculinity has changed. Gone are the lustrous curls of spring-steel sheen, replaced by a thinned mat of greyed straw. The previously flowing strands of forearm and leg hair no longer resemble gentle stalks of gossamer. They now look more like the twisted and battered wires of a grill brush that is long since due for replacement.
So, as I looked over my mammalian fibers and looked into the mirror I was also thinking about my plans for this year. I am running my third AIDS Marathon (Chicago) this year. I have been losing a bit more gut each year. This year, I am going to finish the job. I figured that if I remove the hair, there will be nothing for the flab to hide behind when I look in the mirror. Shaving just my gut seemed a bit too goofy, even for me. So, I decided to shave everything. What's the worst that could happen? I shaved my eyebrows once and they grew back without making me look like Leonid Brezhnev.
I may not be as good looking as the guy in the BowFlex ads, but I can definitely ditch the flab. I intend to be around and in good shape when my daughter gets her PhD.
I did shave my chest once in the Army. We were practicing the treatment of chest wounds and everyone took turns as the patient. Medical tape is strong stuff and I was not going to deal with all that tape v. hair bullshit. Humorously, there was another full chested guy in my class that insisted that he was much more manly and did not shave. He spent a whole day trimming a big wad of tape from his chest, using the scissors from a Swiss Army knife. I was returning from an evening of drinking heavily just about the time he was wrapping up.
So, today I stripped down and busted out the electric groomer I use to manage my occasional mustache and free-range nose hairs. In my mind, I had visions of all the TV ads I've seen for women shaving their legs in luxurious bathtubs with bubbles, scented candles and a smile of sheer contentment that must come from knowing that shaving is the most wonderful act of self-love - ever.
I tried a couple attachments until I settled on one that looks like an electric snow shovel. Trying to shear this pelt with that little device was an exercise in futility. I imagined that if I was to shovel the Biltmore Estate, using this same device, I would finish in about half the time.
Eventually, it occurred to me that I was not going to have that special moment of looking at myself in the mirror, admiring myself - for quite some time. Just like mowing the yard when I was a kid, I settled into a groove, mowing the fur from my body parts. Looking at the bathroom floor remined me to make an appointment to get the dog groomed. Although, this experience was less akin to shearing a goat and more like trimming cilia from a 6' amoeba.
Shaving different parts of my body presented their own challenges. The back required the use of the mirror and the manipulation of the razor in reverse image. I'm right handed, so when shaving my right side, I was also up against dexterity and coordination challenges. My legs just never seemed to run out of hair. Every time I turned around there seemed to be another 20 acres of wheat to run the combine over. My crotch took a couple minutes of mixing a tug of the skin in one direction and lining up the razor for a pass that did not make me feel like my nuts or cock were stuck in a zipper.
Shaving my ass was a combination of all the above. Looking in the mirror and shoving an electric razor into the "valley of the shadow of death" was a real challenge. One leg propped up on the sink, pulling a cheek open and using my fingers to line up the blades as I mow "the land that time forgot." I only went so far, figuring that this would be a hell of a thing to try to explain in the ER or to my employer as I recovered from surgery for a week.
On the bright side, as I cleared the brush in my crotch and ass crack, I finally discovered what happened to the $500 I had when I entered a tattoo parlor in Fayetteville, NC and woke up drunk the next day with no memory and no money. There is a nice image of Millard Filmore in the crack of my ass. I think I'll visit one of those hypnotists to see if I can retrieve the reason I did that.
Over a period of about one hour, I cycled from using the razor to rinsing in the shower, shaving with a blade razor in the shower, drying off and beginning all over. I think I was on my third trip into the shower with the razor. I thought that I was pretty well done, and looked at my lower right leg only to see that I had completely forgotten to go after it with the shears. I was getting kind of antsy or disgusted or impatient, so I took a shot a using the blade razor with a little extra elbow grease. As I was shoving a blade along my shin, I thought of Indiana Jones cautioning his guide,
"This is where Forrestal cashed in."
Finally, the job was finished. I looked in the mirror and could see everything: my white skin, flab, a hernia scar, cock, ass, veins and a pimple on my buttocks. It will take me a day or two to get over the shock of what my body actually looks like. After that, as running season makes its impact, I will begin to see the effects of taking care of my old bag-of-bones.
Who knows, I may even take a shining to all this shaving business. I will keep it up over the summer, to watch my body as I get into shape. if you meet a man in an elevator with his hand in his pants and a buzzing, noise it may be millard filmore getting a shave.
But, right now, I am pouring a bath to let Calgon take me away.