The best a man can get?


Yeah, you, with the blades and the cartridges and the “shaving systems”. We need to talk.

I have been an ardent fan of razors. If it removes hair, I’m ready to try it. Waxing will always be my favourite method of depilation, but I can’t afford to go get waxed every six weeks as is recommended, and I don’t hate myself enough to attempt in-home waxing ever again.

In my personal blog (where, I warn you, I’m a bit more free with the naughty words), I’ve written about various methods of hair removal. My First Waxing, a close encounter with tweezers, and many different product reviews for different razors and depilatory creams. What I have to say to you razor people is very simple. You might even get it this time, if you happen to see this.

See, we know that you market most of your razors to men first. When the Mach 3 was introduced, you waited to come out with a prettier version for women. Because we clearly care a whole lot if our razor is pink instead of brushed-metal and black. The only exception I can think of in this category is the Schick Intuition, and while it was a great idea, that razor, it didn’t work out so well in practice.

Here’s the deal. I’m fairly certain that you have no idea what it is that we DO with razors if we’re not shaving our faces. You launch some new “innovation”, some revolutionary new “shaving system” and you point it at men and then a few months later you give the women one of the same thing only with a “special contoured handle”. And it’s pink. Or purple. Fine, okay? Whatever. But when you launch that new women’s razor, shaving system, whatever you want to call it, you need to be aware of how it will be used. Right now, you’re not.

Razor manufacturers: are you ready? Because I’m going to tell you precisely what we do with those razors, the second you unleash them on the public.

We shave our private areas with them.

I know that this comes as a shock to some of you. Certainly, when you’re focus-grouping the product in some lab in Connecticut, you direct those ladies you’re trying to market to into shower stalls or whatever and you ask them to shave their legs. Maybe, if you’re feeling especially wacky, you ask them to shave their armpits too. But you’re missing the point here. We are going to use your razors in a fashion in which they were not intended, and for that you might claim to have no responsibility. However, if you were to just ask a few simple questions, you would know this already and I wouldn’t have to be here telling you your business like this.

It’s clear by now that you’ve all gotten carried away with yourselves. First, there were straight razors. Then there were “safety razors”, a single blade encased in plastic. Then the Trac Two came out, because two blades are better than one! Well, you got all crazy with blades that had been wrapped in some manner of wire (for fewer nicks and cuts, I believe, but all it did was pinch unpleasantly), and “moisturizing strips” and all sorts of other nonsense. But two blades was pretty okay for a while. Then, Gillette had to go and up the ante with the Mach 3. For a while, the Mach 3 was the gold standard, even before you deigned to give the women their own special colour-coded one. Well, understandably, Schick (who seems to have no standalone website, so it’s not favoritism that prevents me from linking) decided to give Gillette the big middle finger by coming out with the Quattro. Then came the Super Bowl, the bastion of all things MANLY. Clearly, the perfect time to launch a new “shaving system”. We were given the Fusion. FIVE blades, and an extra one on the flipside of the cartridge so that you could do precision trimming. Grand! I ran right out and bought one. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

What’s next??? I mean, why bother with the 6 and 7 blade permutations and go straight for the “Smooth” (with the two o’s in the middle being an infinity symbol, y’know, that 8 tipped over on its side?). “Eight blades. Infinite possibilities.” See? I’ve already given this madness a tagline for you! Put the six blades in the main cartridge, make the “precision trimmer” on the flipside double-bladed, and it’s A REVOLUTION IN SMOOTHNESS! The girl version can be called “Cooch” (note the same double o, for marketing syngery). You’ll be geniuses! Except for the fact that the whole world will think that you’ve gone completely mental.

Listen. More blades does NOT necessarily mean a closer shave. I tried the Fusion, and do you know what I got for my trouble? Razorburn. In my armpits. This didn’t happen with the Mach 3! It didn’t even happen with the Quattro! You people have reached blade saturation. We do NOT need more blades in the cartridge. We need you people to think realistically about how your razor is going to be used.

Now I know that you probably aren’t going to use “smoothest private parts” in your ad campaigns. I can’t say that I blame you. But seriously, the Mach 3 remains the pinnacle of the “shaving system” mountain when it comes to shaving one’s naughty bits. Anything beyond that, and it’s moving to a machine like the Body Bare (which I have never been fortunate enough to try, but have heard rave reviews about). You want us to continue buying your products, right? Your handles and your outRAGEously priced refill cartridges and your shave lotions and all the rest? We would like to continue doing so. But you could cut us some slack already.

We don’t need a bulkier cartridge with fifty-three blades in. We don’t necessarily need a battery-operated razor (hey, I’ve got plenty of access to waterproof sex toys that don’t have sharp things attached – does it vibrate the hair out of the shaft or what?). We probably don’t need a razor that’ll shoot shaving smeg at us. Your moisturizing strips are a crock. Ditto those things that supposedly lift the hair up – that squeegee thing underneath the blade. We need the Mach 3, only perhaps with less width on the cartridge, so that we can get to the back of our knees and in other extremely tricky places. We need, if you insist on putting this blade on the flipside, a cover on that thing so that when we choose to remove the hair that grows in our buttcracks, we don’t come perilously close to removing an entire butt cheek, okay? Listen, I’ve done this, I know from whence I speak, and the Fusion caused me no end of trouble. All of that AND razorburn in my armpits? No thanks.

Extend your market research and focus groups. Get a whole gaggle of people in there and say, “Hey. We don’t want to restrict our knowledge to just legs and faces here. When you try out this razor, we want you to report back on everything you shave. Chests, private parts, armpits, heads. All of it. Men, you too.” You might find that people are using your razors for WAY more than you thought, including the men (who have some incredibly tricky bits to shave), and maybe it’ll get you off of this blade race that you’re on and start you on a more enlightened way to design (and market) razors. And while you’re at it, how about lowering the price of those refill cartridges for the Mach 3 so I don’t have to sell a kidney every time I want a new pack of them, okay?