I loved watching my father shave. No, I loved watching my father (period). As a young boy, I idolized him. Whatever he was doing, I was watching, soaking up his emanating masculinity. And nothing was more masculine than watching him shave.
It was the early 60’s and my dad shaved like most men of his generation: he used an old shaving mug and brush. He would pour hot water in the mug and vigorously stir the soap with his shaving brush until the lather foamed up to the rim. Using the brush, he would lather his face, then take his stainless steel double edged safety razor and shave off his black stubble.
I would climb up on the toilet, taking my seat on the porcelain tank and revel in this manly morning ritual. Dad would sometimes pick me up before shaving and rub his whiskered cheek against mine. I would scream with delight. His unshaved face felt rough yet comforting. It was as if he was injecting his blessing through hundreds of little bristles.
On the mornings when he wasn’t in a hurry, dad would take the shaving brush and lather up my boy face. He’d then hand me the bladeless razor and let me shave.
The smell of shaving cream and Old Spice would transform the small bathroom into our own father-son man cave.
I can’t imagine growing up absent of this father-son ritual. Actually, I don’t think I could have grown up without it. I think I would have been stuck in a Peter Panish state of never-never land with a bunch of other lost boys still awaiting their masculine blessings.
I’m a man now. Not because I have whiskers, or any other physical traits of the adult male. I’m a man because my father blessed it to me.
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