Hair. Since the
first caveman realized he was covered
with it, efforts have been ongoing in
an attempt to tame, conquer and control
it. In fact, it seems that humanity’s
appropriate management of hair, beards
or locks has played a part in separating
the civilized from the not-so-civilized
- the groomed from the not-so-groomed.
In the popular
battlefield of “etymology,” where
the learned duke it out over word origins and
word roots, questions pertaining to hair remain
debated. One popular question is, does the word
‘barbarian’ come from the Latin word,
‘barbarus,’ meaning foreigners who
are lacking in refinement - or did it come from
the Greek word, ‘barbaros,’ meaning
foreigners who talk funny and say strange things
no one can understand, like, “bar-bar, bar-bar.”
etymologists apparently remain divided over the
“bar-bar,” roots, at some point other
bystanders noticed that the barbarians were generally
uncouth in appearance. They did not conform to
the customary principles of personal grooming.
Their faces were hidden behind woolly, rag-tag
beards, and covering the rest of their bodies
were shaggy mats of shorter, but equally unkempt,
wild hairs - something recognized by all as probable
breeding grounds for various life forms, while
also evoking the well-known aroma of eau de barbarian.
It was perhaps inevitable that someone would finally
put two and two together, and realize that “bar-bar!
bar-bar!” was a cry for help. Those people
were in search of barbers!
It is safe
to say that personal grooming has been a part
of civilized man’s daily routine since day
one. This is because good grooming habits are
found universally in all living species. Grooming,
a necessary part of daily routine, is a means
of acquiring and maintaining optimal health. It
is an act of health maintenance. Birds groom,
bees groom. It is only natural for humanity to
follow suit and also do what comes naturally.
Appropriate hair grooming, including shaving,
not only helps curb the growth of pests (visible
and invisible), but also sends out a visible signal
to others saying, “This person takes good
care of him/herself.” Good grooming is a
universally desired trait.
have, thankfully, evolved since day one and the
Stone Age. Shaving and other hair-removal methods
have varied throughout the centuries, with earlier
techniques (and some modern ones as well) sometimes
being crude, painful, and downright injurious.
Nevertheless, the desire to remove and conquer
hair, one way or another, has remained forever
has evolved, the skin has been found to be a living,
functioning organ rather than a convenient, nearly
indestructible form of packaging. More thought
continues to be put into its proper care. Professional
opinion now holds that shaving and skin care can
actually go hand-in-hand, and that there are both
science and an art to proper shaving.
can help bring about an image that is sleek and
healthy in appearance. Doing it improperly, however,
can result in shredded skin, razor burn, nicks,
cuts and rashes. Far from being sleek and healthy,
improper shaving can result in skin that is rough,
raw and infected. Setting one of the body's major
organs up for infection is never good.
purposes, having a sharp and clean blade is the
first and most fundamental step in achieving the
desirable, sleek and healthy appearance. The blade
should be thoroughly cleaned before each use to
help maintain and assure conformity of the blade
edge. It should then be cleaned again after each
use to help prevent the buildup of debris, which
can also be a breeding ground for bacteria.
skin and softening the beard with warm water,
oils and sudsy foam comes next. The next step
is the shaving technique, itself - and according
to grooming guru, Kyan Douglas of Queer Eye for
the Straight Guy, this means shaving in the direction
of the hair growth rather than against it. He
suggests that the art and science of shaving not
be rushed, that appropriate time for all steps
What it all
comes down to is that good grooming seems to be
a great and ancient factor that continues to separate
barbarians from the rest of us. Never leave home
of the shaving materials will vary according to
personal tastes and needs, with some skin types
requiring only the very best and most expensive
shaving products that can be obtained. Regardless
of the brand selected, taking a moment to clean
the blade before and after use with the Razor
Gator ($1.79) will help give you a more sleek
and comfortable shave, as well as reduce razor
burn and keep disposable razors shaving smooth.
was written by Mary Sparrowdancer, author of Love
Song of the Universe.