This may come as some surprise to those who use small electric lawnmowers or incredibly expensive multibladed system razors to shave with, but part of the tactile pleasure of real shaving is the sound. If you are listening then a single blade in an all metal razor gives you a continuous audio feedback. It is talking to you. It is singing to you.
The most obvious thing that it is telling you straight away is how fast you are going. It is giving you a real time feedback loop, telling you when you are going too fast or too slow, giving your shave a rhythm to settle into.
The next thing it is telling you is how much work the blade is doing, just how many hairs it is scything through. If any at all. You can’t see your stubble through the lather so you don’t know how much is left. And it can be difficult to know if you have the blade at the right angle. All this is revealed just by listening.
But there is more. Each razor has its own unique sound, as if they are a collection of musical instruments. And there are subtle nuances, shaving against the grain sounds different to shaving with the grain. It is obvious really, the blade is doing a different job. I am sure that different brands of blade sound different too. And different lathers will also change the sound. There is probably even more that real shavers with a better ear can tell me about.
Those of you who are already real shavers will know exactly what I am talking about. Those of you who aren’t may possibly think that I am slightly mad. If this is the case then you don’t realise the joy and subtleties of the experience that real shaving is. You are missing out.