Friday, February 12, 2010

straight razor shave

In the movie My Name Is Nobody, a scruffy cowboy (Henry Fonda) rides into a hot and dusty town, gets off his horse and goes into a barber shop that has 3 dangerous looking guys, one in a barbers smock, hangs is guns on a hook “I’d like a shave” we can just see, out of sight of our hero, someone tied up in a back room, it looks like a barber, the cowboy sits, gets all lathered up and lifts his chin fully exposing his neck, making himself perfectly vulnerable, just as the imposture barber lifts a straight razor to his neck we hear a click and see what looks like the barrel of a gun poke through the apron covering the cowboy’s lap, the barber gulps and shaves the neck, the barber is sweating and the cowboy looks calm… eventually the cowboy walks out and the three men are dead….

I was about ten when i saw the movie, but I wanted a shave, to raise my chin and expose my neck.

While riding a bus in southern China, I do not remember the name of the city, I saw a man on the side of the road sitting in a chair another man had a straight and was giving him a shave. It was cold and nowhere had heat so I was cherishing my beard, but two weeks later when I was much further south and it was getting very warm I went out to find a shave.

Through a doorway not much different from the one Henry Fonda walked through, a man was cutting hair. I walked in and waited my turn. Sat and gestured that I wanted all my hair cut...all of it from neck to top of my head, all off.

The barber quickly dispatched most of my hair with an electric razor that was plugged into the overhead light, then pulled out a straight razor to finish the job. He wiped my face down with a warm cloth then started pulling out each hair on my face… ok he wasn’t actually doing that but it’s what it felt like. At this point, under the light of the single bulb plus the light from the cracks in the wood slat walls I noticed that he had a mole on his chin with a long hair sticking out, and a few longish whiskers under his nose and I wondered if he had never shaved his own face...

My next straight razor shave was much better.

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