Sunday, April 29, 2012

from tantrum to satisfaction

Shaving, a pastime that many American men and women indulge in, is a strange duck. It's both a pain in the ass and yet somehow satisfying once complete.

In Berlin, when I was there, it was common for women to shave neither their armpits nor legs. The popularity of shaving the public hair hadn't gained currency as far as I could tell. And after a while, the novelty wore off for those like me who were used to women shaving.

Because I am not a very hairy person, I shave every other day. But the lead-up to shaving on shaving days is always petulant: I really don't want to do it. The fact that I don't have to do it does not come into play: The alternative is too sloppy for me. No way am I going to look like some assertive and smug Middle Eastern man whose facial hair is both a matter of male woo-hoo and a success story in its luxuriance.

But still, on shaving days, I kick my mental feet and complain childishly, "I don't wanna!!!!"

The activity forces me to slow down, to move with care and attention. Once started, the tantrums subside. You can't have a tantrum and shave at the same time ... it's one or the other. Carefully, attentively, with as few nicks as possible until finally it's time to rinse off the excess soap, dry the face and apply a little astringent Witch Hazel. And at that point I feel somehow better, as if I had done something 'right' although there is no one else to commend my efforts.

I wonder how many things are like that -- from tantrum to satisfaction.

1 comment:

  1. I shave once a week with a beard trimmer. A clean shave always hurts my skin so why do it? Why abuse my body like this to follow some convention. An 1/8th or more of stubble keeps it tidy and doesn't hurt my skin.

    Your body and mind is hinting - stop shaving!