I am a fanatic. If a little is good, a lot is better. And when I get into something it’s whole-hog; no dithering dabbler I. And worse, I’m a purist. Everything has to be authentic; no replicas or “tributes” to the real thing please. Take gourmet shaving for example. It’s been a great ride and I’ve enjoyed it so much while learning a lot. But I’m conflicted. I love high-tech gizmos. For years I was the first on my block with any new technology. My friends had learned that if they held off their own purchases a couple of months they could score a huge deal on my “obsolete” stuff. I love to try new, leading-edge gear, although more often than not I’ll soon abandon it for my tried-tested-and-true stuff, or the next best thing.

Bridging these two worlds of the retrosaur and the geek is stressful. It requires all kinds of mental gymnastics to rationalize my excursions into each world while maintaining intellectual integrity. For example, the demands of travel have provided a ready-made excuse for using a Fusion razor when away from home. But on a recent trip, I tried Bliss Thermal Shaving Cream with the Fusion and really enjoyed it. Yesterday I saw Schick’s new Hydro 5 razor and bought one. Gillette will be launching their redesigned Fusion Proglide on June 6th and I’m tempted to give it a go.

Today I shaved with the Bliss cream and the Hydro 5…at home. I really enjoyed it. The end-result was outstanding, and the alum block revealed nary a hint of irritation. And it was damned fast. No rinsing between passes (I used the traditional 3-pass form);  just redistribute the leftover cream from the left hand back onto the beard. I want to take the Hydro 5 on an extended test run to see just how long a $4 cartridge can go (I typically get 3 shaves from a 40 cent DE blade) in order to judge the economics of the cartridge. More importantly, I know that irritation often sets in after sustained use, so I want to see if/when the Hydro 5 shave starts to fall apart.

So for the next few weeks I’m going to enter the Dark Side and try to see the Devil’s face. I may well return chastened like the Prodigal Son and seeking forgiveness from the DE spirits. We’ll see.