Shavecrastination! Yes, this word actually exists… and if only you were with me on my first flight to London via Moscow in 1994, you’d have agreed with me.
I had boarded my flight late in the night and reached Moscow where I had a few hours to spend before I got my connecting flight to London. My eyes felt as I slowly walked to the restroom where I found this man struggling with the sort of razor that we have forgotten now. He was obviously in a hurry but the loose skin on the face of this elderly gentleman was not helping him at all. He was trying all sorts of tricks like blowing up his cheeks and even pulling his lathered skin by one hand to make the surface as smooth for his razor to work on. So I asked, ‘What’s your hurry?’
He turned and breathing heavily, replied, ‘Have a meeting at Heathrow and I know there will not be any time to shave.’ He paused for a while and then added, ‘I’m actually meeting my penfriend and this will be our first meeting.’
Men understand what men do at odd hours… so I nodded and walked out lightly stroking the stubble on my own face. But I had no meeting at Heathrow though I would be meeting Specky, my wife who would have travelled from York to receive me at the airport. Our flight for the Moscow-London stretch was a mix of male travellers with stubbles of all sorts and those who sported nicks and cuts of a hurried shave. Those were times when men shavecrastinated without knowing the crime they were committing.
Back home in Delhi it used to be a common enough sight to see men avoiding shaving on one pretext or the other. It was either because Sunday is a day to relax or ‘the boss doesn’t visit our section on Wednesdays and Fridays’ or even the Gods not wanting them to shave on certain days. But this is just one point of view. The male perspective, I’d say.
Women look at shavecrastination in a totally different way. I remember asking Specky what she thought of my stubble, and her immediate reply was, ‘You could have kept your razor in your hand baggage and shaved in Moscow. Your stubble makes you look ten years older.’
Well, that was then… and I have since that day never wanted to look older nor more tired for some energetic hugging and cuddling with her. Later I happened to discuss this with other women and found that they all thought of stubbles as representing some form of laziness that deserved no plausible excuse. I know that shavecrastinating is attractive when one is hard-pressed for time and reaching the office on time is more important than shaving. This is because getting shaver’s nicks and cuts is so easy and inevitable when hurry meanders between your wish to look better and the sprinting hands on the clock. So you just put shaving aside. In the years before 2011, everyone thought they could get away with making people think they were too busy or too full of creative impulses to bother about shaving every day. But then came Carl Dahlhaus and he had the far-sightedness to coin the word shavecrastinate on October 04, 2011 to define the lowest form of procrastination, sometimes because of a heavy dose of work assignments. So men do now have a word to justify their urge to give their shaving implements a day off… but technology too has moved on.
Well, I’d have happily been shavecrastinating had there not been improvements in hardware of shaving. Look at what companies like Gillette have done over the years and you’ll know what I am talking about. When I told a friend about the improvements, he smiled and asked, ‘Do you really think these new razors are not just marketing gimmicks? I mean, will any of these new introductions have helped that harried gentleman you had met in the restroom of Moscow airport?’
‘You remember that story still?’
‘I do. And also remember your telling me how he blew up his cheeks and pulled his lathered skin to shave without nicking himself.’
‘Aha!’ I said, ‘I’m happy you remember these graphic details.’ I then went on to tell him about the new Gillette Fusion ProGlide with New FlexBall Technology that does away with the need to distort and contort the contours of your face while shaving. ‘And you move your cheeks less and less,’ I explained, ‘this is how you shave speedily without wasting time and energy that rearranging your facial skin takes.’
My friend smiled and seemed convinced. So I asked him to also read the post where I had explained the details about ‘this razor with its 5 thinner and finer blades made me tug and pull less and statistically I miss 20 percent fewer hairs. Well, the shave is also closer as the stubble gets 23 microns shorter.’
The truth is that though we now have words like shavecrastination to help us cover up for our laziness, it pays to keep abreast of the innovations in the art of shaving.
13 October 2015