Smooth operator

28 04 2010

Let’s get this out of the way early in the history of this blog; yes, I shave my legs.

And yes, it’s all about vanity. I like the look of my smooth legs. Especially in the meat of the cycling season, when the calf muscles are nicely toned, and my legs nicely tanned.

My smooth legs hanging out on Montjuic in Barcelona, June, 2009.

It also makes applying sun screen much easier and neater, no globs of creme tangled in hair.

All that other stuff pro-shavers cite as justification for their affectation, better for massages, less chance of infection in cases of road rash, don’t really apply to me; I don’t race.

I think I’ve been shaving my gams for about five years now, although I toyed with the idea for months before I actually applied blade to shin.

At the time, the whole idea frightened the hell out of me; would I gouge myself? how often would I have to do it? would it make me feel less, uh, manly? would my friends laugh?

I solicited female acquaintances for advice. I read the multiple pages of discussion and debate in various cycling forums (the shaving discussion always seems to inflame people’s passions). I researched blades and cremes.

I bought a bottle of Neet. But one whiff when I opened it convinced me the easy way was anything but; how can something so toxic-smelling possibly be anything but dangerous.

I tried shaving a patch with the clipper on my electric shaver and promptly ruined it.

There would be no escaping the blade.

My first few attempts were a disaster. The cheap disposable razors left my legs looking like I’d just hopped the barbed wire fence at Alcatraz. The stock price of Johnson & Johnson spiked because of all the bandages I was buying.

Then I discovered the joys of those triple-bladed women’s razors. Sure they were pricey, but they were designed for legs. Maybe not manly legs, but legs nonetheless.

Since then, I haven’t looked back. I still gouge myself, especially when I’ve just swapped out the blades. And now that I have a wife, when I dump my basket of razors and cans of fruit-scented cremes on the conveyor at the drug store checkout counter, I can justify in my head that I’m buying all this stuff for her.

Well, actually I am; she happens to quite like my smooth gams!