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Sorry Broadway Joe, I’ve gone electric

By Walter Geiger Some of my earliest memories are of watching my Daddy and Granddaddy shave. I would stand in the bathroom and watch in awe as they lathered up and cast off the previous night’s crop of whiskers with a big old safety razor. Sometimes, they would let me coat my face with shaving cream then remove it from my whiskerless skin with the razor without a blade in it. I felt so grown. When I was taken to the barber shop, I watched in fascination as the barber put an edge on his straight razor with a long leather strap. I can still remember the ‘˜swop, swop’ sound it made. He then removed what little hair I had on the back of my neck and applied some sort of after shave that smelled mighty manly and both soothed and burned at the same time. Most kids hated the barber shop. I liked it. They had magazines in there that we didn’t get at home and I would learn a little new colorful language or a joke I couldn’t repeat on just about every trip. Gillette and Shick were the two main razor and razor blade companies when I was coming along and they still are today. They had little competition then and they have little now. They also both made shaving cream but so did others. Noxzema was the funny smelling stuff that only my grandmother Geiger kept around the house but the company went mainstream when it entered the shaving cream market. In 1967, it made a commercial with a husky-voiced Swedish actress saying, ‘Nothing takes it off like Noxzema.’ The man in the commercial then begins to shave accompanied by classic stripper music. I had no need to shave in 1967 but I became a Noxzema man. They hit gold in 1973 when they hired Super Bowl quarterback Joe Namath and pinup queen Farrah Fawcett who, as I recall, rocked the shag haircut before Rod Stewart did. Joe is standing at the mirror with a huge grin on his face and says, ‘I am about to get creamed’. Then Farrah appears to apply the Noxzema to his face in a very sultry fashion. By that time, I did need to shave about three times a week and you can bet I used Noxzema. Now everybody makes shaving cream. There is no monopoly so it is cheap. Barbisol is a good choice. If you have been cleaning fish, you can wash your hands twice in Barbisol and the fish scent will be gone. Granddaddy taught me that, too. Razor blades are not cheap. They cost from $4-$7 apiece or about a dollar a shave or so the experts say. One day I was looking at the Mach III blades I used and right next to them was a Remington electric shaver for $19.95 or about half the price of the blades. So, I bought it. I remembered another old commercial for Williams Lectric Shave and picked up a bottle on the cheap and I have not looked back. Does my el cheapo electric razor shave as close as a blade? No. But, Farrah’s past her peak and, quite frankly, so am I.

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