To shave or not to shave? That is the question. It’s one that I’ve pondered from various angles for many years.
As a kid, I was fascinated watching my dad shave. From the start of the process when he would apply the shaving cream with his little brush to the end when the Old Spice was dabbed onto the freshly shaven chin. I used to watch him often and always with the same sense of wonder. I’d then copy him with soap and my toothbrush handle.
I was around 17 when my mom decided that she didn’t like my beard and it was time for me to start shaving. Up until that point, I had not touched the teenage beard and moustache. It wasn’t a pretty picture. My dad always made it look so easy but my acne and lack of razor skills resulted in a bloody mess. The response from my schoolmates the next day also didn’t help – laughter and snickering abounded. This was a turning point for me. Up until then, I had viewed shaving as an important step towards manhood. A rite of passage. Now it became a task. One which involved significant loss of blood nearly every single time. Decades later, I still don’t enjoy shaving. I’ve been through a few phases where I wore a goatee but that involved more shaving rather than less because constant trimming was the only was to maintain the style. Most recently I took part in the Movember fundraising efforts along with a number of my work colleagues. We raised a fair amount of awareness and cash (~ $5,500) for men’s health. And I amused a number of people at the office.
Earlier today, Stephen Amell, TV’s Arrow posted the photo below. Aside: Arrow is a really cool series based on the DC comic book hero, Green Arrow. A billionaire playboy turned bow and arrow wielding vigilante (think modern day Robin Hood). But more on my love of superhero comics in future posts.
I had never heard of a ‘Speedo’ let alone a ‘Manzilian’ – my eyes were watering just from the thought! What do guys and girls out there think? Is this necessary? It seems to be that body hair is not that popular anymore. Chest hair is no longer a sign of masculinity (has it been replaced by abs?) and waxing for men is becoming the norm. Hair below the neck line is out. But beards seem to be growing 😉 in popularity. Lumbersexual is now a thing (Google it). I must confess, I’m not sure what to make of it all.
Years ago, when I was cycling more regularly, my cycling buddies convinced me that it was important to shave my legs. All the cyclists do it they said. It’s better for aerodynamics, it means you don’t get as hurt if you fall because the hair won’t get stuck to the tar and rip your skin open as much and it’s easier to rub the Deep Heat/Massage Oils in. Peer pressure masquerading as good arguments for another disaster! I have extremely hairy legs. Shaving them was not without further blood loss. And the hair grows back. Slowly and in as itchy a fashion as possible. I didn’t see any speed improvements – my main motivation. But it was definitely easier when applying Deep Heat. Also, post-shower toweling off was much quicker. I had no idea how much water leg hair can retain. This musing about my itchy shaved legs reminded me, however, that a study has been done with a pro-cyclist where it was proven that there is a performance boost when your legs are hair-free. The details and findings of the studying are discussed in this YouTube video. I’ll leave it for you to decide. I have a feeling that I’m not fast enough for shaving to make much of a difference. Probably better to get stronger and fitter.
Anyway, for now I’m going to continue shaving my beard around 3 times a week. Not on weekends if I can help it. I’m also going to leave my hairy legs hairy. And I’m definitely not going to be trying a ‘Speedo’ or ‘Manzilian’ on my unmentionable regions.
I’d love to hear from anyone who’s tried either one.