Taking Care with Male Grooming – Looking and Feeling Best

I have been a bit disappointed with how male grooming care is almost frowned upon in America, unlike say the United Kingdom or Japan where proper care is seen as a sign of being a gentleman. The concept of shaving in the states for home use is either cartridge blades or electric razors. Barber shops rarely do the "classic cutthroat shave" as the concern for hygiene and shady establishment became an issue… Sure men have shops like the barber spas from The Art of Shaving, but other than that, men are a tad out of luck unless there is a barber shop or spa that specializes in that vector of care. For the do-it-yourselfer, there is the option to buy into the shaving gear and embrace the roots of gentleman's care. It's pricey, but it is not without benefits. The skin is not so roughed up, as with proper technique, the user is not shredding as much skin as let's say… a Gillette Fusion with 5 blades. There is less chance to have in-grown hairs, clogged pores, and eliminates razor burn. Sensitive skin folks will find that their skin panics less with straight razor shaving, as I found out. It was nice not to have puffy, itchy irritated skin unlike the results after a cartridge razor shave. But enough on the shaving tangent…

Clothes, I find the same issue… I mean, nothing wrong with folks who like the rugged look. I just can't find the justification of why folks from that camp give flack to those who like to dress well or take care of their selves better. Is it wrong for a man to want to be polished up from a shave and shower smelling like invigorating eucalyptus and spearmint from using better than normal bath soaps, shampoos, and moisturizers? Why is it frowned on to desire nice clothes tailored from designers out in New York or Italy? It makes little sense to say that dress style can be an indicator of one's sexual preferences. That was one debate that I have commonly heard by passerbys skipping past shops saying "Who buys into that whole "looking good" crap?!" I don't frown on those who like to buy on a budget, because that's one way to skirt off the high prices of the designer boutiques.

I am not trying to slam anyone from any camp, but I would like to state that it shouldn't be shunned. Some of the major cities all over America are quickly becoming metropolitan fashion capitals. My city of Dallas is quickly becoming one and I know New York City is being one that known around the world. Electronics are getting a sense of "fashion" and plenty of people carry these devices, but we're supposedly ashamed of men dressing and caring for themselves well? That could be due to the homophobia stigma that America carries which may still take time to shake still. If guys out in Japan and the UK dressing well are gay… then you may as well throw in the rest of Europe and Asia to that mix to that very poorly conceived stereotype.

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Embracing the Roots of a Gentleman, Dovo Shavette Straight Razor

Aurelia got my Christmas present early in the form of a Dovo Straight Razor with the replaceable blade. Her main reason for the purchase was she couldn't find a local dealer who sold the Japanese made Feather brand razors and she didn't want to wait for shipping. The razor is pretty simple to reload the blades… It just uses Merkur safety blades that are snapped in half and then loaded into the blade holder. After the blade is loaded, the user slides it into the razor and it's set to go.

The blades are plenty sharp as they are from old fashioned safety razors… so they don't forgive quite as much as a true straight razor from what folks like the people at "Straight Razor Place" forums mentioned on some of their guides that have been archived. This is one shavette razor that patience is to be emphasized… I ended up getting some cuts and nicks here and there from it. For a beginner and this blade, one cannot fear the blade and prudence must be exercised as they will minimize the cuts. I recommend having a styptic pencil or a block of alum on hand in the case of cuts to minimize bleeding from their hemostatic effect.

Although I like the blade, I feel due to the size of the blades in use… it holds back the learning potential of the user. True, there's no need to learn about sharpening blades… but when your cutting edge is half of the size of a standard blade, you have to do more to clean up the facial hairs. I will definitely be looking into getting a Feather branded razor, as their blades are full sized and disposable, the sharpening will not have to be done. The main debate really will be if I will buy the Pro Guard blades (with a guide wire) or the the professional blades.

Here are the images below of my shaving gear for those who are wondering what in blazes I am talking about.

The Razor

The gear: Razor, shaving bowl, soap, badger hair brush by Proraso, and styptic pencil

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Patience is a Virtue… Pre-review Teaser

I really learned the value of patience Saturday night. It comes with the territory of the phrase "live by the sword, die by the sword". Tempting fate is never a good idea, even more so when you try to do things without trust in mind. My thanks goes to Aurelia for the next product review because it's actually quite nifty. Though I can only say that she may have created a monster out of me due to it. To leave a teaser… I will leave this "ad-lib" for the readers:

It's all fun and games until _______ ________ causes someone to get hurt.

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So I went to a Black Friday Sale…

I will begin by saying I'm not one of your hardened shoppers who stalks and waits for the deals and such… I just went mainly as I wanted to gift Sol and Aurelia their presents early for Christmas. The line was terribly long… We all waited in line by the loading docks at about 4:45am in the chill cold. Personally, I regretted not wearing my wool coat out as I froze pretty quickly. We all were talking about some of the old times in our lives and trying to laugh to forget the bitter cold. Once 5:00am hit, the store opened the flood gates… What I witnessed was pure animal-like shopping chaos. People shuffling, mass hoarding items, waiting like cattle to get claim checks for high demand items… It was something that would get companies like OSHA concerned.

The art of Black Friday shopping has seriously evolved since the advent of new consumer technologies. I saw many people with mobile phones trying to have other family members triangulate items together to rendezvous at a central point to ensure they would get the best sale items. Some power shoppers had their Bluetooth headsets on so both hands could focus on grabbing items… Of course with human nature, you had people yielding to their territorial instincts of hoarding items and fighting with others over a single material item because it was the last one on sale. The local police were on hand to handle things like major riots, which I didn't see any of those luckily.

My main purpose was to try picking up a 4GB Memory Stick Pro Duo ($29.99) for my PSP for movie purposes but well, that was a failure as they changed the deal to a 2GB model for $17.99. Though my main purpose was to to get Bluetooth headsets for cheap to give to Aurelia and Sol for an early Christmas. They are two people who are on the phone quite a bit with their friends and complaining about how their hand or neck hurts from all the talking they do. Sol ended up getting the exact same model Bluetooth headset as me for his phone. He was a bit limited in his choices due to his phone being an older model Sony Ericsson P910i, so I got him the HBH-V705 which is a nice, sleek model with a very professional polish to its look. I managed to snag that for 50% off which was an awesome kill! Aurelia was hoping for the slick Jabra headset she had her heart on, but well she found a Plantronic MiX tower that had more female oriented headsets there. She would get the MiX 330 which is a remix of the original Plantronics Explorer 330 with a white and silver body color and adorned with Swarovski crystals. The MiX 330 ended up being $20 off so it was not too bad. They both were stoked for me to front for their gifts, which ultimately made me happy.

I was not about to leave empty handed, I wanted to see if I could pick up a PSP title for cheap. I found the last copy of Guilty Gear Judgment (with the bonus Guilty Gear XX #reload) and a screen protector for normal price, but it should be plenty fun for when I need my "fighter" or "beat-em-up" fix. While the game was not popular, it beats the imported edition from Japan where Judgment and Guilty Gear XX #reload were both separate game UMD's at $30 – $40 a disc.

Everyone walked out happy, which I was thankful for. Sure, we waited in bitter cold for about close to an hour to get in the shop, but the "spoils of war" were grand. The expensive part of my gifting is done, but the last will come in 2 weeks when I go shopping at Strapya World for everyone else. I just want to put some good karma in the pool for all of those who've supported me when I was down. Not all things can be had at Black Friday, however…

This year, I have noticed that the deals were mediocre rather than spectacular in the paper/in-store ads. The online shops are finally getting better with their "ads" or Thanksgiving sales. Apple did their sale online with slashing prices about $300 here and their on their machines. Newegg has continued on with their tradition as usual. Some shops like Best Buy and Target has some "ONLINE ONLY" specials that you simply couldn't rush to the store for. I feel the next step forward will only be a fusion of both sorts of sales for places that have a physical store front… But at the same rate, they need to make sure the servers can handle the loads of shoppers pounding the servers. I was unable to get in on a deal at Frys.com for the 4GB Memory Stick Pro Duo as the server kept timing out, but on finally being able to… the server had a MySQL error preventing the transaction from going on any further. Oh well, there's always next time.

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QotD: My Ring Sounds Like…

Ringtones: What's yours and how often do you change it? 
Submitted by enrico.  

Right now, I am using the Metal Gear AC!D 2 Codec sound as my ringer as a tribute to my love of Konami's great Metal Gear franchise. Metal Gear almost duels another one of my favorite Konami franchises (Castlevania) for the top spot with how dynamic the story is. With ringtones, I like to use electronic or video game influenced ringtones as they show my love of mixed music or games. I don't change ringtones too often and when I do, it is not without good reason. Personally, I have been fond of Motorola's ringtones as they have brilliant artists to mix their default ringtones. I have found early on that using pop music is a bit cheeky for a ringer as a song can quickly fall out of style and you may get sick of it. With good default ringers, there's not much chance of it going out of style anytime soon.

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