Farewell Straight Razor

Don Draper

Jon Hamm (as Don Draper)

This past winter I started watching Mad Men on Netflix. It wasn’t as good as Breaking Bad, but I was captivated by the personalities and storyline. The show revolves around the main character Don Draper. Don (played by Jon Hamm) is the epitome of manliness. Obviously the show centered on he alpha-male personality as much as it did the going on’s within the ad agency.

I got to thinking about all the things I had in common with Don. I wrote down “white male” and that was about it.

In one episode he gets a shave using a straight razor. “That’s It!” I thought, “I will buy a straight razor!” It was like getting my very own Don Draper Starter Kit. So I went to a local “shaving boutique” and got a very good Thiers Issard blade, strop (leather strap for sharpening blade) and shaving kit with lotions and creams. After leaving the store with one less arm and one less leg, I headed home feeling the testosterone swelling inside.

That night in front of my mirror I gave it a whirl. Within seconds my shaving cream had turned pink. I had lost more blood than whiskers. After a week of this I went back to the store for a tutorial. Went back home and much of the same. Oh sure, I was getting more whiskers but clearly I wasn’t doing it right. It wasn’t smooth to the touch like I expected.

Fast forward several weeks to late May. I was quietly minding my business when I felt God slapping me in the back of my head (which is bald). I kept getting an image of my straight razor and what felt like God saying “Seriously?”…..”Seriously?”

Crap, I hate when the Holy Spirit does this to me because it is a no win, no negotiating moment. But it was true. I was being a fake. It wasn’t that I had bought a straight razor. That’s a perfectly good thing to do. It wasn’t the cost…..it was the motive. What the heck am I, a married middle-aged dad, trying to emulate Don Draper (which if you watch the show you will quickly realize is hardly a man worth following – womanizer, hypercritical, ego-maniac, useless dad….)

It was a mixture of humbling and embarrassment. I immediately decided to try and sell it (to some other chump trying to be Don Draper)

As I head down the corridor of my 40s, I suppose assurance that I “still got it” is going be something I need to give up. Truth is in some areas of my life I don’t “still got it” and I need to simply accept that. I can’t go out run 15 miles today, then 10 tomorrow. I sometimes have to move the box away from my eyes so I can see the recipe, and have hair in my nostrils (sigh). I cannot put the burden of making me feel manly on my wife. It is a burden too great for her to bear.

Anyway, I bet Don Draper can’t deadhead coneflower as good as I can!


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