I debated writing this column, which was triggered by previous writing about the inability to find the 100% cotton, basic brassieres I like. But after devoting 700 words to my bra quest, my latest Holy Grail, razor blades, deserves spotlighting.
How many of you have shopped lately for razor blade shaving cartridges? It’s an overwhelming experience. There’s a wall of possibilities at every store, with packaging more colorful than a candy display. All that for something as non-thrilling as razors? Geez.
Granted, my 12-year-old daughter was dazzled by and ended up smitten with a particularly colorful Bic shaver, but she should be the exception, not the rule in the razor department. She sees razors of evidence she’s maturing, while for mature razor users, shaving is more akin to mowing the lawn.
The sky was the limit with both choices and prices. Up to five bucks for a shaving head? You’ve got to be kidding! It would be cheaper to go to a salon for a body wax. But that’s not a viable option. Instead, I just stood there, trying to pick among the choices I wished I didn’t have to make. It there’s an upside, had I been considering self-harm via razor, choice paralysis just might have prevented it.
My choice should have been easy, the way it’s been for 30 years. I should have been able to simply walk straight to the razor aisle and grab a plain, 10-count package of Atra Plus shaving heads for my ancient Gillette razor. Except that in a world where some razor heads have a half-dozen blades, my trusty, three-bladed Atra Plus razor heads have been retired. Deemed obsolete.
Had I known it, I would have stocked up on Atra Plus blades using my income tax refund and stored them in a safe deposit box. Alternatively, I could move to a European country where Bohemian style calls for leaving your armpits and legs unshaven. I wouldn’t have just unwittingly burned through my existing stash of Atra Plus blades like there was no tomorrow. But alas, it’s too late.
I did the only thing a self-respecting leg-shaver with no intention of purchasing a fancy-schmancy, neon-colored, six-bladed, grossly-overpriced razor cartridge could do: I went to the amazing granny’s attic of eBay and engaged in a bidding war with another Atra Plus hanger-on-er. I’ll spare the gory details, but soon I had wagered $30 and my first born child on a 20-pack of blades, with an additional $3.50 for shipping. Talk about living on the razor’s edge!
Fortunately, I was outbid, which furthered online exploration. I found a vendor willing to sell me two 10-count packages of Atra Plus blades for “only” 12.95 each, plus free shipping. I fell to my knees and thanked God I would be getting out of this ordeal for slightly less than the price of two Fruit of the Loom bras. My kids couldn’t figure out why this victory so excited me.
“Well,” I said. “I was spared buying an even more over-priced, multi-tiered razor that cuts through budgets in a single pass – an expensive accident waiting to happen!” Additionally, some of the new razors looked capable of causing carpal tunnel syndrome and had so many bells and whistles they would require their own suitcase in order to be my traveling companions on business trips.
Three days later, my new Atra Plus razor heads arrived. I openly admired the understated-looking, yet highly-effective weapons against unwanted body hair that use technology only slightly ahead of the Cro-Magnon curve. They’re workhorses that get the job done without too much blood-letting. You really have to work if you want to cut yourself.
There’s nothing cool about my shave, the manufacturers told me by removing my razor refills from the market. And we all know how cool shaving should be. Spectator sport, right? I happen to think living within my means feels rather spectacular.
This begs the question: just how much should a shaving cartridge cost? A good shave shouldn’t run you more than a good meal. Maybe I should get a Gillette “Good News” razor to slash some of the cynicism from my attitude. Now there’s a nick-proof notion.