My First Razor Shave
-A True Story-
I have always been fascinated with shaved heads, ever since I can remember. And, the times being what they were, never had the chance to shave my own and rarely saw one on anyone else. The closest I had come was an unplanned #1 buzz (see my story ď
In graduate school I started cutting hair with a kid who lived across the street from where I was rooming. He got a fairly long flattop, and I got a crewcut, usually #3 on the top with a bumper, but sometimes in the summer, just a #3 buzz, close on the sides. The attachment set we had was pretty skimpy-just a #1 and the #3 (actually it had started life as a #4, but I had sanded it down). There was also what had been a taper attachment that I sanded down so it was about 1/16Ē . It was ok, but the teeth were a bit far apart for something that short. In retrospect, itís a shame there wasnít a #2, or things probably would have got a bit shorter, but the jump from #1 to #3 was a bit abrupt.
The cycle started when I signed up for a pack trip out west, and planned to travel about first for a week. I was only going to be gone for about 2 1/2 weeks, which I figured would be long enough to grow back from a #1. The night before I left I got out the clippers -why I didnít have Jim cut it for me, I donít know, but I was being awfully shy about a super short cut. I put on the #1 and started buzzing. Well, with the overhead light in the bathroom and my dirty blond hair, it looked really bald! Well, I figured that the front might look a little longer, by contrast, if the rest were shorter, so I got out the trimmer guard. Anyway, by the time I was done, the back and sides were clipper shaved and the top was mowed down to 1/16, with a #1 ďbumperĒ, if you could call it that.
I even packed the clippers and skinned the sides and back again after the first week. It grew back to a skimpy #3 by the time I returned, though Jim wondered why nothing came off on top during my next haircut.
The following summer, I planned to go west for the whole month of August. Jimís younger brother, John, who was about 16 at the time was coming along. I also had been cutting his hair for several years, short taper in the winter, crewcuts in the summer. Some time before the trip I suggested that we should get real short cuts. He wasnít that keen on the idea, but didnít really object.
The night before we left, he slept over at my apartment, so we could get a real early start. Stuff was packed and I got out the clippers. He opted to go first. I skinned the sides and back of his head with the bare clippers. I donít think he really appreciated the cut; he laughed in a kind of nervous way as the clippers ran all the way to the crown. I left him with a #1 buzz on the top. Then it was my turn. He had never used the clippers before, but tried to do to me what I had done to him. Of course he wound up with a jagged abrupt line where he tried to go from the bare clippers to the #1.
I didnít help him any, by pushing
my head into the clippers just as he got to the top. He tried to taper it a
couple of times, but it wasnít working, so I told him to just finish it off.
He was reluctant to do it, because he figured I would want revenge. I lied,
and told him I wouldnít. Finally he put the clippers in the middle of my
head and pushed them back. For a moment I thought he was going to leave the
very front, but the next pass took care of that. My first clipper shave!
I was a bad kid, then and talked John into going shorter I took a tiny bit of pity on him when I got to the top, and he wound up with a clipper shaved head with a 1/16 ďbumperĒ in the front. I still donít know why I didnít take it all off! He actually looked pretty good bald, but I donít think he would have admitted it.
In the morning, when I shaved, I tried using my electric shaver on the sides and back of my head, and actually took it down to a shaved high and tight. The shaver worked awfully slowly and it seemed to take forever. If it had gone smoothly, I expect I would have gone all the way. I really enjoyed that cut. I took the clippers along and after a couple of weeks we stayed in a motel rather than the tent. Cleaned up both cuts to
clippershaved high and tights.
The following summer I planned to go again. John had managed to wind up having to take summer school, so I was going to leave alone and he would fly out and meet me. This was the time! I let my hair grow a bit before hand. Still a crewcut, but maybe an inch long in the front--long for me! The night before I was to leave, I borrowed a Poloroid camera from the lab to document my experiment. Took a couple of ďbeforeĒ pictures, and then got to work. I had decided to try out a Mohawk first. I wet my hair and with the aid of a little soap, got it to lie down flat, combed forward. Then I did two side parts, about an inch apart, to outline the Mohawk strip . I fired up the clippers and stood there for a moment. Then I set the blade down along the part line and pushed it outwards maybe an eighth of an inch to mark the line. Then I rinsed out the soap and let my hair stand up. I had always wanted to take the scissors to my head, so I did one side that way, cutting the hair as close to the scalp as I could. The other side I used the clippers on, but sort of dug them in here and there, making a pretty moth-eaten effect. Time out for a picture, then back to the clippers with a vengance, carefully clipping up to the lines. The back of the Mohawk I didnít worry about much, I clipped it all off up to right below the crown. Picture time. Then I got out the razor. This was a good many years ago, before all the nice disposable twin blade jobbies. It was a metal safety razor that used double edge blades. I still have it--it is a heavy clunk of a thing, but it does shave!
No further hesitation; lathered up my still damp head and started shaving. I was pretty careful and managed to get the sides nice and bald with no nicks. Picture! I realized that the Mohawk came way too far down in front ( I have quite a widowís peak) so out came the clippers and the razor to push the start back a couple of inches. Several pictures. I kind of liked the Mohawk, but it couldnít stay, even for the night, since the camera had to go back before I left, so the clippers mowed right up the center. One pass and it was gone, and a couple of minutes more and I was bald! At last!!
More pictures. Once more over the whole head with the razor to get it absolutely smooth. Then the camera went back to the lab, with my hat firmly on my head in case anyone saw me (idiot!!)
Now the sad part. I had always had considerable dandruff problems and that plus the shaving resulted in a fair amount of razor burn and a rash. It was also very hot that August night and my head, instead of being smooth was just kind of sticky, and didnít feel great at all. I wasnít really comfortable with it til about 3 days passed and I had some stubble and the rash had gone. The next summer I changed jobs and had to go house hunting in August; got a #1 for the last couple of weeks before classes started. The following several summers until I got married, I did a clipper shave, but never tried the razor again--I really got put off . Now in my later years, I have gone back to the shaved head full time--razor shave all the way, every day. I look back at those pictures, and you know, I really didnít look bad at all. I really should have had the guts to keep the look.
So thatís my only regret about my first head shave; the bad experience with the rash and the fact that I missed out on having a shaved head all those years.