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On male grooming…

11 July 2012

Dear Mum,

I remember that while I was growing up, I had a lot of admiration for dad’s trimmed moustache and beard. In addition even though he didn’t wear a ‘5-5′ (that hairline that drops down from the crown over the cheek down to the side of the chin), I kept asking my friends whether I was likely to have some when I grew up. I was somewhat disturbed when one day in a bus, I sat behind a nice-looking gentleman busily scratching his five-five intermittently. Then I reflected on the advice Quarshie gave me sometime; “…the more you shave, the more hair grows”. So if more hair grows in my face as I wanted, is this how I would itch, I asked myself.

After a few years, I begun to experience facial hair. I wasn’t as thick as my colleague-adviser, nor that fellow bus passenger. However, when I went to the barber’s they would manage to trim it to look like they had in their style posters. I looked on in the mirror once at the barber’s, and just told him to shave everything off. He asked me for confirmation… I remained resolute. At that time it took sometime to regrow. Now in my late 20s, it takes just three days to see and feel hair roots shooting up again just after a shave, with their attendant itching. Woe betides you that you scratch… you welcome razor bumps (which they say could result in keloids; need to verify that). It takes some guts to not scratch; same discipline you need to remind the barber to apply meth spirit after a shave to kill the sores a bit and to lower the risk of infections (I think)… no matter how hot it is. However, for a non-regular-income-earning student like me who cannot afford three or four shaves a month, I need to be kempt while minimising the cost of doing so. Averagely in my vicinity, a haircut costs between $1.50 and $3.. never mind that it is meager as compared to the minimum of $18 on Calhoun Drive, Garden City beach in South Carolina; 3 hours of work at Macdonalds can pay for ’em.

So once in a conversation with another friend he was describing a grooming treat he had at some expensive barber’s. After he was shaved, they applied a towel soaked in warm water on his scalp, even though he could not fathom the reason for that. I decided to try same after shaving my five-five and beard. To my surprise, it reduces the itchiness drastically, and perfectly fitting my grooming plan.

1st day of every month; visit the barber’s for a thorough shave
When 5-5, beard/moustache is growing, shave with razor.. then use towel soaked in warm water.
Take a shower.

Mom, did you like dad’s hair short or long? Just teasing… let me read from you soon. Have a good one.
Your son, Kweku

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