Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bet George Washington Carver Never Saw This One Coming

Now there was a problem. I’d run out of shaving cream. And just before the big event that I was definitely going to. But I had read somewhere that it’s possible to shave using one of the two greatest foods ever: peanut butter. It is sadly hard to shave using bacon. This is how it was done.

I took a knife and plunged it into the pristine plastic jar of taste, scooping up a generous serving and holding it poised over my bristly cheek. Was there a better way to do this, as in without using a knife? I thought about using a plastic spatula, and went hunting for one before I realized that two men living in a college dorm don’t ever have a plastic spatula. So it was back to the knife. My roommate suggested I use a butter knife instead of a steak knife, and I decided that was a good idea. So I had my instrument ready, and a fresh jar of peanut butter, I was ready to go for real.
Me. Sometimes.

But how much to use? How thinly to spread it? As much as I liked the idea of a beard made out of peanut butter, I needed to be smart. It would be irresponsible to have to tell my R.A. that I had clogged our bathroom sink with peanut butter.


It took me a while to learn how to spread it. If you think it’s hard spreading it on a piece of toast you’ve lived an easy life. I had to remove a good bit of the PB before I got what I determined to be an acceptable layer. While too much PB isn’t a bad thing, it does cause quite a mess. Too little may result in razor burn, an uneven shave, or ingrown hairs. So, with this information in mind, I aired on the side of “too much,” but not too much.

After the spreading was done, I let my face marinate for a little bit, which was not a step unique to peanut butter, but was only part of my own shaving ritual. I liked the fact that I smelt like a bagel.

Next it is important to point out that I dislike shaving advertisements. I like the products, as shaving is an art and I am an artist, but the ads themselves disgust me. One, the man shaving is clearly clean-shaven already. Two, making a hideously long cut from below the sideburns to the bottom of the neck is a terribly inefficient way to shave, usually resulting in missed hairs and a general mess. It is much more efficient and gentlemanly to shave using short vertical strokes, washing the blade after every five or six cuts.

I got to work and scraped the peanut butter away from my cheek, relishing the pressure of the blade. I was of course using a real shaving-razor by this point and not a knife. It worked well, though it seemed as if I had indeed applied more peanut butter than needed. I had to wash a good bit off of my razor into the sink. I did my cheeks and nodded with satisfaction.

Next I did the upper lip, a sensitive area. I admit I’m glad I talked myself out of using chunky peanut butter, as this section would have been difficult with it. It went well, and I was pleased.

Next I did the lower lip. I realize that another bonus of using peanut butter is that if you get some on your lip you can just lick it off instead of spitting it out. The chin also went well, and I was left with a respectable result. Now on to the neck, my least favorite part of the process.

It was fine at first, the PB peeled away and brought the hairs with it. The hot water from the sink needed to clean the razor added to the comfort and pleasure of the chore. But then disaster. In the past I learned how to avoid cutting myself but I had gotten sloppy. Maybe it was the peanut butter or maybe it was my wandering mind but it happened. I sliced a cut directly under my chin and lived through the initial pain . Then oh my goodness it hurts and it burns so much.

I wiped the tears from my eyes. How could peanut butter hurt more than a normal cut? I couldn’t figure it out for the life of me. What was I supposed to do? Dab it with a piece of bread? But the pain left after a minute or two, and I continued shaving, more careful now. Finally I finished.
Tools of the trade

I considered doing a second draft of my face, as the writer does a second draft of his book, but allowed myself the realization that I had done well enough the first, and smiled. The cut bled but it was nothing to worry about. I almost ended up with a face covered in strawberry jelly, but corrected myself and put on normal aftershave. I admired the finished product.

My face had a healthy brown sheen; noticeable but not in-your-face. It smelled like the peanut fields of Georgia after a harvest; pleasant but not overpowering. The cut still hurt but was dulling. The sink hadn’t clogged and the mess present was the usual one. I dubbed it a job well-done.