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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Close Shave

This is the Alternatively column for April 20 from Day and Night in the Irish Independent

This week's topic is really just one for the boys I'm afraid, as I wouldn't expect you lady readers to understand anything about punishing beauty regimes or excruciating hair removal procedures. Yes, I'm talking about the bane of every man's — or at the very least my — life: shaving.

I bring it up because I've gone the longest ever without shaving over the past 10 days. What began as shear laziness (pun intended) soon developed into a plan to cultivate male model-esque designer stubble, the kind that looks as if every follicle has been individually stylised and genetically modified (or photoshopped) to achieve perfect growth and texture. Hey, if Matthew Fox can do it on a desert island in Lost, why couldn't I?

Alas, as the days went by, I ended up with facial hair that looked more like I had spilt a pot of jam all over my mug and then fell face down onto a busy barber's messy floor. So I returned to being a slave of the 5 o'clock shadow tyrant and dug out the Mach 3.

Now, you might not know this, but the shaving product industry is the perpetrator of some of the most deceptive, misleading and just plain false advertising campaigns in the history of capitalism. Watch as David Beckham balletically and painlessly glides the razor over his face like the Mikhail Baryshnikov of shaving! Try to replicate that exact style at home and, instead of the Swan Lake of shaves, you end up with a face resembling the pepperoni house special from Dominos Pizza.

Being so manly, I started shaving at 13, and so over the past 12 years, I can honestly say I have tried every shaving product and regime ever devised. 95 percent of the time, it still ends up hurting and nearly always results in razor burn and even acne, all of which, psychologically, can render you a self-conscious, inferiority complex-ridden teenager all over again.

Luckily, my suffering has diminished somewhat as I have stumbled upon my best regime yet that works well, up to a point. Shaving is still an absolute drag though. You ladies don't know how lucky you are.

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