Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The pleasures of preparation

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SOTD 5 Jan 2013

I realized recently that one pleasure derived from shaving, apart from the sensuous pleasures of warmth, textures, fragrance, touch, sound, and so on, is the pleasure of preparation—not “prep”, as in the shaving step, but the entire ritual in preparing the shaver for the day: getting his appearance, mood, attitude, and spirit ready to walk out the door and encounter the world.

We see this sort of pleasure—in readying oneself—in a variety of contexts, from getting ready for a big event, so that when you leave your apartment/house you feel at the top of your game and looking good. Certainly there’s the pleasure of anticipation of the event, but I’m talking about the pleasures of getting ready, making yourself maximally presentable. Here’s an examle from one particular cultural context:

Another example that captures the repeated ritual aspect better would be preparing for a holiday family dinner: getting out the special plates and silverware and tablecloth, rearranging the room for the expected family, cooking familiar dishes, and finally bringing the feast to the table: a ritual of preparation that provides enjoyment in itself, in part because it is associated with a good time, but also because of the familiarity and the feeling that you’re creating a special setting that is maximally presentable.

The morning shave, rightly conceived and approached, is another “getting-ready” ritual, in which one can derive considerable pleasure in the familiarity of the process, leavened with spontaneities of this particular shave, while centering the spirit to embraced and experience the day ahead.

Today, for example, was a familiar ritual but with new aspects. The Boreal boar brush is new, a freebie included with my most recent order from It’s an Italian boar brush, so I expect good things to come, though this is but its first outing. You’ll note a few loose bristles in the photo, and in the course of the shave I did lose some, and probably will for another shave or two, but then it will settle down. I let it soak while I showered, of course.

Musgo Real Orange Amber shaving cream has a very nice fragrance—that’s a good combination, as it turns out. The amber tames the orange and together the two smell quite fine. I smeared a bit on my beard and worked the lather up, taking my time.

The two razors shown are very like the 1940’s Aristocrat, but where it has a section of smooth fluting at top and bottom, these are chequered throughout. The one in rhodium plate (originally nickel plate) is the President; the identical razor in gold plate is called (I believe) the Ambassador (or perhaps the Diplomat—something with an international flair). One held an Astra Superior Platinum blade, one a Swedish Gillette blade, and they both shave quite well. Three passes, alternating razors, and final rinse, dry, and a hearty splash of Musgo Real aftershave: all tuned up and ready for the day.

Written by LeisureGuy

5 January 2013 at 10:20 am

Posted in Shaving

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