Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, June 10, 2005

A Conservative Wakes Up

Though "conservative" is a label that is increasingly hard to define these days, one version that I wear fairly comfortably is, "One who seeks to retain all that was good from the past." I'm not speaking of mindless nostalgia for all things ancient, since in some fields (medicine, laundry, sewage processing) the past had little to recommend it. But while it shouldn't overpower, wistfulness is a good conservative emotion.

Several years ago, I found that my old fashioned instincts had gained control of my morning routine. It started when a European power converter fried my electric shaver, and I was forced to replace it with a package of disposable razors from a supermarket in Oxford. Finding the blades more comfortable than the shaver, I never went back to the shaver.

More recently, I began using Old Spice after shave, primarily because I recalled my grandfathers doing so.

Then one night, googling randomly, I thought of looking to see if anyone still sold straight razors. Indeed, they do. I found a great online store called Classic Shaving. Even better, I found a site called RazorCentral which even reprinted a shaving and razor care manual from the 1700s. I was impressed.

Still, one can't jump into things too quickly, especially when one has limited funds and a hurried morning routine.

So far I've gone from using canned shaving cream to using a cake of shaving soap and a badger hair shaving brush. (Courtesy of a Christmas gift from MrsDarwin.) And more recently I bought an old fashioned double edged safety razor. This is the simpler ancestor of your modern disposable safety razor. Rather than throwing away the whole thing, you remove the head of the razor, throw away the blade, and insert another.

One of these days, though, I'm determined to restore an antique straight razor off Ebay and do the thing properly, or buy one of the nice modern straight razors still produced by European manufacturers. In the mean time, I must satisfy myself with having turned back the clock a mere 90 years.

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