The Problem of RAD

Safety Razor
A Modern Twist-To-Open Safety Razor

Hi, I’m Kevin, and I have Razor Acquisition Disorder. I just wanted to save money, I swear. Yes, I know that’s funny, but I did, I really did. Cartridges are so expensive, I was looking for a cheaper way to shave.

It started with my old razor. I’d kept my very first. Back then the Gillette Trac II and disposables were around, but you could still get the traditional safety razors. That’s what my father used, and that’s how I started out. When a fixed twin blade was the shaving marvel, the only difference between all of them was the traditional shaving razors required just a little more attention to what you were doing, because even cartridges had a fixed head back then. I used the same shaving cream as my Dad, and the same after shave, at least at the beginning. It was just shaving, you know?

There were signs even then. Like when I found a mug and shaving soap, and bought that and a brush just to try. I liked it, and would use it on occasion. Back then they were already scarce, then everything but the soap went away entirely, and then some shaving soaps, too. There’s more mugs and soap and brushes in stores now than then. But I just had to try it, you know? I got a better shave that way, but it took slightly more time.

Then I went to a cartridge. It was the Gillette Atra. It pivoted and that was supposed to be better, and I tried it and thought it was, and kept my old razor for traveling. I should have stopped there, but then there was the Gillette Sensor, and the blades were supposed to be flexible and better and I tried it and thought it was. That was it for a long time. Well, I did go to the Sensor Excel, with the little fins at the bottom, and Gillette started putting a lubrication strip on it that I didn’t care about either way, but that was it. I ignored the Sensor 3 cartridges, and chortled at the Mach 3 and laughed at the Fusion. I was content.

Except for the prices. Cartridges went up. And up. I’d cringe when I looked at the prices. One day I needed new cartridges and I just couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t. Tried some disposables and didn’t like them. But I saw some blades for my very first razor, They were a lot cheaper, and I bought them.

The shave, well, it’d been years since I used that razor. The first shave wasn’t as good as the Sensor cartridge. I missed places. I had a five o’clock shadow. I looked like I was growing a goatee. But I didn’t cut my face to pieces – come to think of it, I never did – and it was cheaper, so I kept at it and the shaves got better.

Ah, those blissful days. I’d walk past modern shaving gear and try not to snicker. I used to keep using the same cartridge until it got so dull I’d get hair bumps, but with these I could afford a new blade every week. Who needed expensive cartridges?

I should have left well enough alone. But I started reading about shaving with old style shaving gear. I did it to get better at it, but it opened up a whole new world. I wasn’t alone. There were many like me, who eschewed modern razors for old. I learned there were all sorts of different razors: Single edge; double edge; razors with combs instead of solid safety bars; hybrid safety bars that combined solid with comb; slant razors with the blade held so it cut at a slight angle to motion instead of straight; and even straight razors. There were metal razors; plastic razors; vintage razors; modern versions of vintage razors. And the blades; so many blades; and soaps; and aftershaves. What an amazing world.

Just one new razor. What would that hurt? Just one, to see if I liked it. Then came another. And another. I started looking for vintage razors. There were so many kinds.

I knew I had a problem when I bought the Mach 3. Why did I think it would be better? But I’d never tried one, and it was a razor I didn’t have. I didn’t like it was much as the Sensor, but it was new. I used the thing, even though the next day I’d reach for a traditional safety razor to clean up the stubble. And I looked for the Mach 3 with the battery in it, even though I thought I wouldn’t like it. It was then I knew. One morning I looked at my razor collection, minuscule compared to some, and said to my forlorn reflection “Kevin, you have a problem.”

I held off, for a time. I’d use razors in rotation, occasionally using a cartridge, trying new techniques. But I wasn’t content. You can’t be, with RAD. I held off. I tried so hard.

My eyes wandered. I thought about The Beast, the Muhle R41 rumored to be the most aggressive safety razor on the market. I thought about the Fatip Piccolo, which is supposed to be right up there with it. I thought about vintage adjustables at fabulous prices. I thought about razors plated with rhodium, harder than nickle and more expensive than gold.

Then I slipped. I fell, I bought a new, inexpensive, razor, one I had previously turned up my nose at in favor of better. But I bought it because I didn’t have one like it and because I could afford it. And no sooner had I shaved it with did I think about trying another.

Oh, the shame of it all!

That was my low point, My perigee. My nadir. Having RAD is a terrible thing.

I’m doing better now. Every morning is a new day. Every day without a new razor is another victory. The longest journey takes one step at a time.

Instead, I’m using the blades I already have on hand, and they make a big difference in how each razor shaves. It’s like a new razor with every different blade.

I’ve got my eye on a new blade to try. It’s just one pack of blades. Or maybe a sampler of razor blades. Just one sampler. Or two. That can’t hurt, can it?