Feb 062016
 

chisel1I heard from the Chisel Shave Club folks about a month ago. Lauren, a member of their press team, had seen my Harry’s reviews and asked if I’d be interested in trying traditional wet shaving with their products. I replied and let Lauren know that I’d be glad to look at the Chisel Shave Club experience, but that if I wrote a review I would be honest in my assessment of the products, and that I would disclose that I had received them free of charge. She agreed, and there is that disclosure.

The box makes a masculine and elegant first impression. There are wonderful and earthy smells in here, from shave soap, face wash, and such. The brush and the razor immediately feel like items you’ll have for a good while, without even a whiff of cheapness on them.

chisel2

My initial impression was that this is definitely nice stuff, but am I supposed to bother with all of this every day? How much time do the Chisel Shave Club people think I have—indeed, think men in general have, in the morning? Read on.

I’ve been shaving since 1987, and I’m certain I’ve never used a classic safety razor. This is a hefty chunk of stainless steel. The handle screws into the two parts on top, securing the blade in place. After I loaded it, I eyed it warily for a moment. What if I slice my face to ribbons?

chisel3

Ha! No worries. I followed the excellent directions, lathering up the brush with the shave soap and spreading it liberally on my face. Then I shaved first with the grain, and then against. So what do we have here?

chisel4

The shave is excellent. You know that clogging you have to deal with when you use a razor cartridge with multiple blades? That is totally absent from this experience. A simple and quick rinse of the blade every few strokes, more for aesthetics than anything else, was all I needed. A rinse, a dry, and an aftershave, and the smoothness is impressive indeed. (No blood, either!) Also, my skin doesn’t feel or look the least bit angry. I will use the Chisel Shave Club products exclusively until I exhaust them so that I can report on skin effects over time, and post a follow-up comment.

So, as I said above, I was initially skeptical about how well wet shaving would fit into the typical rushed weekday morning. After I actually had the shaving experience, I relaxed on that point a good bit. I think this will probably always take a little bit longer than shaving gel and a disposable razor or cartridge, but I suspect only minimally so when it becomes routine.

The Chisel Shave Club experience is unambiguously one of luxury. Each month, you receive a different selection of shave soaps, blades, lotions, and other related products. The cost is $26.99 to $29.99 per month, depending on the length of the term for which you sign up. The six-month and year plans include the safety razor and the shaving brush, or they can be purchased separately. BoWilliams.com readers can receive a 10% discount on their first order by using the coupon code BOW10.

Chisel Shave Club isn’t going to win any head-to-head budget battles against more common alternatives, but it’s not designed to. There is a masculine ritual here that I enjoyed and had not experienced before. Are you interested in slowing it down just a bit with a high-quality, “retrotech” solution? Maybe you’ll go to a bit more trouble for something warmer and more satisfying? Maybe you’re a tube amp or mechanical watch kind of guy too? This is a fine experience.

9/10

 Posted by at 10:12 am
Feb 052016
 

I worked with a guy some time back. Let’s call him Steve. I would guess Steve is 58 or 60 now. He’s been single as long as I’ve known him. He’s currently taking an extended vacation somewhere in a tropical part of the world, evaluating it as a possible spot for retirement. He posts beach and sunset photos periodically.

So Steve recently posted a photo of an attractive, and young, woman, calling her his “new friend.” She looked like she might have been 30, but she initially hit me as 26 or 27. The resulting comments were predictable: way to go Steve, how old is she, can she be everyone’s new friend, and so forth.

Now, sensing a golden comedic opportunity, I didn’t want to squander it. So I thought quite a bit before I commented “Hey, maybe she could have you over for cookies and milk and then y’all could play Barbies!”

Unfriended.

Now I think the line is quite funny, but I’d have still withheld it had I known he’d take it so hard. But, really, what is the great offense here? How is my comment so different from what went before it? It’s a huge age difference. To be charitably vague, there are likely some dynamics in play here that are generally not in play with two people closer in age. That’s the subtext of the previous comments, just like it is mine, is it not?

So Steve can’t come back with a “yeah, yeah”? A “you’re just jealous that I’m at the beach with her, and you’re at work in cold, wet Huntsville”?

I’ve mentioned before that so far, my taste in women has tracked reliably with my age, and that I consider that a good thing. If yours doesn’t, more power to you both, and all the best.

(But grow a little skin. It’s small to take a smartass jab so seriously.)

 Posted by at 3:43 pm
Jan 192016
 

So my friend Paula had, on her Facebook page, an invitation to join her DietBet. I plunged. DietBet is an intriguing concept. For the wager I joined, you pay a fee to enter, and your bet is that you can lose 4% of your body weight in four weeks. If you succeed, you split the […]

 Posted by at 10:47 am
Jan 152016
 

I was fascinated by this recent story of a fellow who runs a Silicon Valley startup, yet doesn’t own or carry a smartphone (or, indeed, any mobile phone). Certainly, there are parts of the narrative that sound appealing. He speaks of thinking more clearly, and rediscovering peace. But–but!–he does confess that he makes occasional use […]

 Posted by at 12:09 pm

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