Monthly Archives: January 2015

To shave, or not to shave

Most women I have known have asked me at one point why men only need about ten minutes in the bathroom to get ready for a social function, but women need several times longer. It is true that most guys don’t worry about false eyelashes, or mascara, or moisturizer, or deciding the necessary color foundation for the anticipated lighting, or lip gloss, or other beauty enhancers. That is not to mean that most guys are the loutish oafs portrayed on television or in romantic comedies: slovenly gaseous fools with mismatched socks and garish attire. I do admit Lucy helped me quite a bit with my sartorial choices, especially since adult Garanimals do not exist (but should). But rest assured, most guys do put a lot of thought into their choices, even the seemingly simple ones. For example, deciding whether to shave or not to shave is complex and filled with deep thoughts and conflicting emotions:

To shave, or not to shave: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler for the skin to suffer
The stings and prickles of wind blown sleet,
Or to lay foam against a sea of stubble,
And then slicing it down? To nick: to bleed;
No more; and use styptic to staunch the flow.
The stinging and the crimson collar dots
Another shirt and necktie are spoiled
Destined to be cleaned. To shave, to nick;
To nick: perchance to bleed, ay, there’s the thought;
For in that time of choice what dreams may come
Where I will shuffle off to ponder more,
Must give me pause: there’s something better,
A cordless three head electric razor,
For which the nicks are replaced with razor burn,
No blood but an unsightly irritated rash,
The pangs of stinging fire from after shave,
Or go forth with stubble and risk scorn,
When his true love’s cheek gets some whisker burn,
When he himself might his flirting make.
And now to choose? A smooth bare face,
To grunt and sweat under glaring lights,
But that the dread of something afterwards,
The undiscover’d pimple from which a nick,
Brings instant pain and wince, and tries the will,
And makes us cuss so softly as we finish,
Rather than bellow all the swear words we know,
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
But keeps the domestic tranquility,
As the sink is rinsed and the towel is hung,
And enterprises of mild pain and stinging,
With this action the light are turned off,
And lose the roughness of stubble. Soft you now!
Your fair lady is pleased by your task,
And it is well worth it!

Perhaps it is not as eloquent as Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” soliloquy, but you get the general idea. As part of full disclosure, until a couple of years ago, I had some form of facial hair for almost 35 years. My full beard gradually gave way to a van dyke when the dark brown became salt-and-pepper. The van dyke went away when I was given a senior citizen’s discount reserved for ages 65+ on my 55th birthday. The first three weeks of shaving were difficult and even now, I avoid daily depilation whenever possible. It adds less than five minutes to my morning routine, so my choice is not for the sake of expediency, but rather for comfort.

Oh, and ladies, you don’t want to know what runs through a man’s head when it is time to part with a favored ratty T-shirt.

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Filed under humor, rebuilding

In with the new

January is half over as of this writing. The new calendar year debuted with stunning fireworks displays and occasional object drops ranging from a ball covered in Waterford crystal  to some truly bizarre items. It is also a time for new laws and taxes going into effect and for some old laws getting “sunsetted” or repealed. Of course, we know that for every law repealed, there are four new ones to take its place. Car makers showed prototypes of their 2017 model line before the opened champagne from the 2015 New Year’s celebrations went flat. Companies are hiring, merging, acquiring and divesting with “new money” for the new year.

New diets and exercise routines are common New Year’s resolutions. By this time of the year, most resolutions have already failed. Changing behavior is not easy, especially if trying to achieve an unrealistic goal. No matter how hard I work out, I definitely will never be the same weight I was in high school, because I am about four inches taller. No matter how much I write, I will probably never write a best seller because there are millions of authors striving for that goal. Nevertheless, I can set goals to eat healthier, to exercise more, and not obsess over metrics, especially misleading ones like Body Mass Index. I can keep writing for enjoyment and improve my writing style and audience reach. Dropping a couple of inches in the waist or seeing an increase in readership are two realistic goals. For me, dropping 60 pounds or setting a goal of 1,000 new readers this year is unrealistic (I don’t consider Facebook “Likes” a meaningful metric because of click farms). Gradual small changes are more effective for changing behavior than sudden major changes. New Year’s resolutions are an anachronism unless the goal has several achievable milestones. The old saying “Life is a journey” applies as does “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.

Becoming a better person does not occur overnight. It takes time, it takes support from loved ones and friends, and it takes determination. I set a goal of becoming a better person, and for 28 years, I had Lucy help me do so. The last (almost) three years have been a challenge without her guiding me, but I have had some wonderful friends step up and keep me mostly on track. In return, I strive to be a better friend to them.

Mutually beneficial goals are better than personally beneficial goals. It is a way to change the world one little bit at a time. Stick to your resolutions, but don’t be afraid to reassess the goal and objectively review progress. A stretch goal is only useful if one is not drawn and quartered while achieving it. Try being a supportive friend or loved one to someone trying to achieve a goal. Your boost can make all the difference.

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Filed under musings, philosophy, rebuilding