Friday, January 30, 2004

My First Shave

I think it was Mindy. We were in band, but we weren't playing that day. I was sitting with Mindy (french horn, junior), Carol (french horn, junior), and Levi (trombone, senior), which, in case you were wondering, made the baddest ass freshman who ever LIVED. Mindy was trying to be nice and she told me that if I wanted my moustache to be darker, I should shave it off and let it grow back in.

My what? The who?

I was horrified. I was liquified. I died inside. I had the world's largest crush on Mindy, who was short, and red haired, and wore unusual stockings. And she talked to me, her and her friend Carol, and sometimes they flirted with me. And it wasn't serious to them, not at all, but myohmy I was infatuated. With them BOTH. And Levi, he was just rad. He was a senior, remember? And he drove a pick-up truck and he had hit Preston with that truck in 8th grade and broken Preston's legs, which was quite the scandal in my last year of junior high. And now here was the kid responsible, and this kid was my FRIEND.

And then Mindy gave me shaving advice? Good lord, I felt small. I don't remember what was said next, probably something from Carol or Levi to soothe the blubbering embarrassment that came out of my mouth, but that night I shaved for the very first time. I hadn't even realized I had a moustache in the first place.

I had no idea where to begin. It had never been mentioned before. My brother was away on a ship somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, and my dad and I weren't talking much at the time I believe, partly because he was on a new work schedule that involved him going to bed around 7 in the evening; partly because I was 14 and that's how those things go sometimes. We haven't spoken much since then either, I suppose, but I tend to remember it when we do. And sometimes when we're not talking we're sitting in the room together, and that's at least something. We had never shared the same interests, not a single one, ever since I could remember, so just watching the Two Towers together this past Xmas is a pretty big achievement in my mind.

I remember being a kid, I mean a young kid, and taking a bath. Part of my bath time ritual was to play in the bath for a bit before the actual bathing happened. The tub would be filled with water, a minimal amount of bubbles were involved, and I had bath toys. Boats, ducks, monsters, all that. Once Dad was in the bathroom while I was playing, and he was shaving. It was at night. He took a blob of shaving cream and plopped it into the water. He was playing around with me, and like I said that didn't happen too often, but I freaked out. I was a bit of a tender young lad, the one who didn't want to get dirty, or who was scared to get hurt. My dad had liked playing sports, liked knocking people around, and I wasn't like that at all. I don't know how it turned out that way, and sometimes I wonder what he thought about having two sons like that. I was moreso that way than my brother, so I imagine I was secretly held as One More Chance when I was born 10 years after Dave. But then, there I was, yelling for help from Mom because a blob of shaving cream was in the bathtub with me, and I wasn't sure what would happen if I touched it. Imagine Dad's pride!

So, 14, and standing in front of a mirror. Dad had a razor with disposal blades, but I didn't want to snag one of his. Mom had a bag of disposal razors, and I knew they were for ladies and all, but I couldn't imagine there being much difference. I chose one of them and let my hand hover over the canister of shaving cream. Maybe it was some latent fear of Things What Are Gross, but I just didn't know where to begin with it. So, locked in the bathroom, I used one of my mom's disposal razors on my dry face to give myself my first shave.

It didn't hurt the first time, but when I did it again (possibly the next day, though there was no need) it felt like burning. I decided I should experiment with the shaving cream after all, and no one was hurt. My sister-in-law, who was living with us with the two kids she had with Dave, noticed it and laughed, I think. My mom didn't say anything, and my dad wasn't around when it was spotted. I hadn't realized the dark streak over my top lip had been that noticeable, but apparently it was. Now that it was gone, at least.

The next day at school Mindy thought I looked different, but she couldn't place why. I shrugged my shoulders as if I wouldn't know, either. Mindy asked Carol what was different about me, and I think Carol guessed right off. She didn't say anything and Mindy figured it out on her own. She laughed again, and tried to tell me she wasn't trying to be mean when she pointed it out. She followed this up by saying I looked really good without it.

Without the moustache, I mean.

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