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Let’s talk about the battle of the sexes, shall we? Not in the traditional sense, as in “men are better than women” or “women are better than men,” because that’s just not a road I’m willing to go down. I mean, I’m married: by definition, that means that any answer I give is the wrong one unless it matches the one given by my wife. No, in this case, I’m talking about the way men and women battle against body hair and how differently they tend to spend their money.
For instance, when was the last time you bought a new razor? And when you bought it, how much did you spend on it? I asked my wife how long ago she suspected it was that I bought my last razor, and while she didn’t know specifically, she was at least confident that it wasn’t in 2010.
“I’m sure it’s been at least a year,” she said. “All I know is that the last one got so gross-looking that I thought it was going to fall apart. I’ve had four or five since then! Guys tend to get a good razor and keep it for years. Women don’t have that. There are very few razors for women that aren’t disposable, but guys get a razor, and they stick with it for the long haul.”
She’s right…well, except for the bit about non-disposable razors for women. (What, like you didn’t think I’d throw in a plug for the Gillette Venus?) But when I buy a razor, I’ve always stuck to the basics, and when I buy a razor, I use it ‘til it falls apart. I’ve never had any problems with these tendencies…or, at least, I hadn’t until I invited my wife into this discussion.
I knew that bringing her into the conversation was going to be like traversing a minefield…and it was: when I first brought up the topic of shaving, she cut me a look that said, “If you’re suggesting that my legs aren’t smooth enough, I’m going to slug you.” Once we got over that hump, though, she made some very interesting observations about how men are beginning to reevaluate the importance of shaving. By her theory, it may have something to do with a certain television show about 1950s ad men…not that we’re naming any names.
“You know how those guys go to the barber shop and get a straight-razor shave, get lathered up, have a hot towel placed on their face, and all that stuff?” she asked me. “I’m sorry, but that is a man facial! Men used to place a lot of importance in a good, clean shave. But, sweetie, grunge is over, and now’s your chance to get some of the same feelings that guys in the ‘50s used to get, but in the privacy of your own home.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but when I look back at that comment, it translates into, “Sweetie, you have my permission to spend as much money as you want on a quality razor, shaving gel, and anything else you think will make your face look good and feel good.” (Thanks, honey.)
When you think about it, it does make sense: given how rarely I replace my razors, there’s no real reason why I shouldn’t take some of the money I’ve saved and buy a really, really good one…possibly a Gillette Fusion ProGlide, he remarked, as casually as his contractual obligations would allow. You should, however, plan on me keeping that razor for at least a year, maybe longer. I’m resigned to some change, but, damn, I can’t change everything.
I don’t think that men will ever place quite the same importance on shaving as women do. I mean, even my wife admits, “Women are more high maintenance than men to begin with, so it stands to reason that they’d be that way about their shaving!” Try to imagine a guy walking into a grocery store or pharmacy, looking through the dozens of shaving creams and gel and selecting one based on color, scent, and other chemical attributes, then looking at the specific properties of the razors, then contemplating the type of moisturizer to use afterwards. I’m not saying that guys don’t do all of those things – a lot of us certainly do – but if you checked the average amount of time each gender spends on the selection process, the time spent by women is a heck of a lot longer.
With that said, though, if I’m going to spend a bit more money to look and feel my best during and after my shave, the least I can do is take the time to make sure I’m getting a product that’ll leave me feeling that I’ve gotten my money’s worth, right?
Ah, forget it. I’ll just let my wife pick something out for me.