Some 25 years ago during my first dalliance with gourmet shaving I bought a straight-edge razor from one of the few obscure shops that had such items buried in a back drawer somewhere. It was, I remember, a Henkel with a beautiful imitation-ivory handle. Of course, no one told me that you have to sharpen it prior to use, and since to the naked thumb it felt pretty sharp, I assumed it was ready to go. I lathered up and I remember dragging the blade across my cheek to no avail…it was like shaving with a butter knife – the blade smoothly cruised on top of the whiskers, leaving them intact and unshaven. I gave up in disgust, realizing that I wasn’t ready to get so deeply involved with shaving at that time – with a wife, an infant, a black-hole of a triplex emptying my pockets, and a demanding career with 50% travel – there was less-than-little time to indulge such activities.
But the fascination with the straight-edge and the beautiful designs available has endured all these years, as has the trepidation to once again Dance with The Devil.
Well sir, the Gem G-Bar has rekindled the interest to once again jump into the flames. It is, I believe, as close as one can come to shaving with a straight razor in a safety razor configuration. With its massive blade exposure and the need to keep it virtually flat on the face, it clearly mimics its deadlier cousins. The G-Bar makes a huge sound as it cuts the whiskers…you can virtually hear every blade being sheared off. And the result is wonderful…a perpetual dance between closeness and irritation that challenges you like a Zen koan to enter a new perceptual reality. The G-Bar gets lots of flak on the shaving discussion boards and I can see why….unless you go real slow and are very careful with blade angle, you’ll either get no shave at all, or wind up in the hospital! Hey that sounds just like Str8 shaving!