The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres


August 2009
Dad, can you show me how to shave before the school holidays are over?


October 2009
Dad, can you show me how to shave before the school holidays are over?

I don’t know. It’s over 20 years since I last did it. Look it up on YouTube

December 2009
Dad, can you show me how to shave before the school holidays are over?

I got you a razor and some shaving foam for Christmas. Did you check out YouTube?

April 2010
Dad, I’m just going for a shower. In 15 minutes you’re going to show me how to shave.


And so it came to pass that this morning I did indeed supervise my son’s first shave, having frantically searched YouTube for instruction videos.

It seems these days you’re supposed to shave down the way, in the same direction the hair grows, rather than up the way against the growth, as I was taught. Apparently it reduces razor burn, skin rashes and the chances of in-growing hairs.

But if it hadn’t been for the fact that each time I shaved it was rough, sore and frequently bloody as I skimmed the tops of the rashes with the razor, caused by the previous day’s shave, then I might never have decided to grow a beard at the earliest chance I could get away with it.

In which case, it’s quite possible my wife wouldn’t have been quite so susceptible to my charms (she’s always had a thing about beards).

And almost certainly I would not have started a blog nearly 5 years ago called, “Ramblings of the Bearded One”

It appears my son will have his own path to follow.


Carole said...

I was alarmed when I noticed the heading of your post. I thought, "This photography thing has gotten out of hand, if he wants to take a picture without the beard." But my fears were unfounded. Whew.

Pat said...

'But if it hadn’t been for the fact that each time I shaved it was rough, sore and frequently bloody as I skimmed the tops of the rashes with the razor, caused by the previous day’s shave...'

Rogan has a lovely skin and I'm keen the above doesn't happen to him. (nothing against beards my eldest now sports one)
Don't be influenced by the Scot's mantra that any skin care for men is cissy. There is nothing heroic about a damaged skin (one of our most valuable organs) There are excellent products on the market for men and he needs to protect and moisturise at least until his skin has toughened up. You know it makes sense.

Eryl Shields said...

Maybe he'll chose to grow a beard for better reasons than to prevent pain.

Suz said...

I, too, was afraid you would show up clean shaven and have to re-name your blog.

I'm sure your son did a fine job under your watchful eye. How old is he?

angryparsnip said...

What a great post, and I too thought Oh No ! he shaved ?

My son asked me to help him with his tie for prom... I had to ask a neighbor, who showed him how.
I can deal with almost everything after my husband walked out... plumbing/carpentry no problem ! but knotting a tie is beyond me.
Never thought of YouTube.

Hindsfeet said...

Love can make a story out of anything...

Charlie said...

I've always hated shaving, so I grew a moustache and beard. Now I have to trim those so they don't end up soaking up my soup.

Rogan is too young for a beard yet—he needs to pay his shaving dues like the rest of us, including going to school with bits of toilet paper stuck to his cuts.

Aoife.Troxel said...

Hmmm, I shaved my dad when I was four, but he says he wouldn't trust me now :)
He always shaves up too...he used to have a beard, and when he shaved it off, one of his best friends saw him in a restaurant and didn't recognise him. I'm not the one to ask advice from my parents, they just assume I want it and give it...usually after the fact, because otherwise they'd do the whole 'Why? Look it up?' bit, or even worse spend a good hour on the advice.

Mimi and Tilly said...

This really made me smile. My nephew started shaving recently. It's all about the skin care products, so he tells me.

On a different note, don't get me started on the perils of shaving your legs.

Vextasy said...

I'm impressed that your son
chose to start with a proper
(wet) shave. He could have
opted to use an electric razor
but would have missed out on
that really close shave that
only a blade can give.

I might be a little biased
against electric shavers.
In my youth I was given a
(rather cheap, I imagine)
battery operated shaver and I
had the misfortune to have
it run out of power in the middle
of a shave with its foil clamped
firmly to my unshaven chin.

It's been a blade ever since
for me.

Thrup'ny bits said...

I got a chuckle out of this. After years of watching dad shave I didn't need a lesson; learned by painful experiment and then, as you did, decided it was too much pain and bother.

My wife's fascination puzzled me the first time I shaved in front of her then she told me her father used an electric razor.

Kim Ayres said...

Carole - on a few occasions I've thought about shaving off my beard, but my wife wouldn't have it. 19 and a half years we've been together, and she's never seen my chin

Pat - Don't worry, I'm not advocating the idea he should have a chin that looks like he took a cheese grater to it. I'm quite relieved he doesn't have to go through that process

Eryl - I somehow doubt he'll ever deliberately grow one...

Suz - Rogan is 14 years and 10 months old - coincidentally exactly the same age I was when I had my first shave

Parsnip - I wrote about ties back on September 19th - trying to remember how to tie one for a funeral. I still can't do it if I apply conscious thought...

Hindfeet - what a lovely compliment, thank you :)

Charlie - no toilet roll needed this morning, but the time will come, I'm sure...

Aoife.Troxel - ah, parental answers... When my children ask me something, I now have to question whether they want the 30 second or 30 minute answer...

Emma - never having shaved legs before, do you go with or against the grain?

Vextasy - he went with a wet shave because I bought him a razor and some shaving cream. Not having shaved for over 20 years myself, we have no shaving implements in the house, and a razor was cheaper...

Alan - I've often wondered what it might be like to have a shave by a barber, like they do in the movies. That might be worth not having a beard for a few weeks...

litzi said...

Hi Kim,
Between acquiring spectacles (only for occasional use) and having Rogan begin shaving, you’re now officially middle age!

Kim Ayres said...

Litzi - I fear I've been middle-aged all my life. Certainly I've been in the midst of a mid-life crisis for at least 25 years...

Ruth said...

great post Kim! very entertaining

my oldest has just begun shaving..eeks! two more to follow soon

mapstew said...

As One said on the FB, 3 Daughters, and not one of them showing a beard yet! :¬)

Ron Tipton said...

"Ramblings of the Bearded One" would have been the title of my blog but it was ALREADY TAKEN. With some indignation I navigated my way to this usurper blog to see just who this "Bearded One" was. If not for the title I would never have discovered this talented Scot that you are my friend Kim Ayers.

I am no longer indignant that someone had the chutzpah to take MY TITLE and instead now I am one of your many fans. Thank you Kim for sharing your charms with the rest of us, the Great Unwashed out here in cyberspace.

V said...

Oooh, I'm glad i'm not a teenager any more! So many firsts that all too quickly become part of everyday life.

One of my fondest memories of my dad is the strange evening when he ended up helping me shave my legs! Home from uni for the weekend and off on a big night out, I couldn't find anything lurking to aid the process apart from my father's old fashioned shaving soap. How does this stuff work? I had to ask for help as I couldn't get the brush making it fluffy as I knew it should be. So, we ended up with me with a leg at a time propped up on the bathroom sink while dad swirled the brush around, showing me how to do it and then criticising my technique with a razor. So, daughters can have shaving lessons too. We had a giggle and it was one of those small moments that will always stay wih me.

hope said...

It's enough to make me glad I'm a girl. :)

And yet, my Dad's morning ritual of shaving was so timed, I knew EXACTLY how much longer I had to lie in bed before he came down the hall to knock on the door and yell, "Time to get up!"

It was that squeaky medicine cabinet door. I miss that. :)

litzi said...

Hi Kim,
You’re only as old as you feel….groan! I prefer You’re only as young as you feel or better yet, You’re only as young as you “think”.

Your mid-life crises will eventually pass…and be replaced with OLD AGE!

Kim Ayres said...

Ruth - there are already kids in his class that shave every day. I remember when I was his age, there was one guy who had 5 o'clock shadow before school ended at 3.30pm

Mapstew - perhaps you should read V's comment above :)

Ron - you still haven't learned how to spell Ayres though... ;)

V - what a great memory :) I am so glad I am not a teenager. I couldn't wait to be free of the teens and welcomed my 20s with open arms :)

Hope - there are all sorts of sounds you don't realise are associated with your parents or childhood until they are long past. There was a way my father would grunt, cough and adjust his belt as he got out of the seat, that would make the dogs leap up excitedly, anticipating a walk. Of course the worrying thing was the day I realised I'd just stood up and grunted and adjusted my belt in exactly the same way...

Litzi - the other version is you're ony as old as the person you feel - so you need to start feeling younger people :)

Jayne Martin said...

Isn't that one of those mandatory bonding moments between father and son? Kudos for rising to the occasion, my friend.

And be happy you didn't have to name your blog "Ramblings of the Bald One." ;)

Anonymous said...

What an interesting story although I have to say I'm glad I did't have to teach my daughter how to shave. How did he fare?

Falak said...


Mary Witzl said...

Ha! I vote for 'Ramblings of the Clean Shaven,' but maybe he'll grow a beard and grow out of the title.

TechnoBabe said...

My poor son was sandwiched between two sisters and he taught himself to shave.

Kim Ayres said...

Jayne - I'm definitely getting a little thinner on that patch at the top of my head. That new title might eventually come...

Allen - surprisingly well. I've not yet had the chance to teach him how to tear off little bits of toilet paper to stick over the cuts

Falak - :)

Mary - his own (never updated) blog is called "Ramblings of the Unbearded Son"

Technobabe - tell him a beard is an easier solution :)

Ruth said...

Kim - he doesn't WANT to shave frequently or at all because he doesn't want to encourage it to grow thicker etc. as the tale goes. ;)

V!! the legs - your Dad - how precious! and I NEVER would have let that happen... I think my Dad pretended puberty didn't occur, he just sort of hid until it was over and we were out.

Mimi and Tilly said...

Against the grain, definately against the grain.

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