Barbershop Voyeurism: For Want of a Shave

A luxury I have pined for but have never partaken in is the old-timey barbershop straight razor shave. They always appear so soothing, but I could never justify the expense ($25 for the simple shave at the local shop.)Then, our friends at Groupon offered up a straight razor shave and shoe shine from Baltimore’s Quintessential Gentleman, a high-end men’s barbershop, for $22. Enticed, I read further:

The 45-minute Quintessential shave starts with a serving of silky pre-shave oil and a hot lather, preparing the beard for the blade. Then, with precision and sensitivity, your barber will finely tune your finish using a super-sharp straight-razor baton. This process is repeated—the first time follows the grain of growth and the second time goes against it— ensuring a skin surface as smooth as a baby’s butter stash. Premium after-shave and an ice-cold towel help soothe the freshly shaven skin and seal the pores, and then the whole service is finished with an extended face massage.

Cash. Ching. Purchased.

Those poetic (almost, dare I say, erotic?) lines triggered a hunt for sweet barbershop shaves on Youtube. I watched, mesmerized, as video after video of men enjoying professional shaves rolled through. The pre-shave oils. Hot towels. Shaving cream. Badger brushes. With the grain, against the grain. Fine straight blades.

Each clip lead to another, and I realized I’d spent a few hours on YouTube in search of the perfect shave.

Now, this is not an entirely new concept. Women post pro makeup tips on the YouTubes all the time. And, surprisingly, there is a market for this type of voyeurism.

So, I submit, I have inside me the inklings of a Barbershop shave fetish. I watch the videos. I’ve already started researching razor/brush kits. I want to know what type of oil/cream package is right for me. And I have a date with a professional in my pocket now.

To subside me, I will post a new video of a sweet barbershop shave. Today, we head to New Orleans, for a shave and beer at the Magazine Street Barbershop. Unique to this technique: No badger brush, and a fine one-blade safety razor.

And it begins.


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