It started when my wife asked me an awkward question.
You know the kind of question. Sure you do. The kind of question that makes your mouth go dry; the sort of question that prods you in the stomach like an unseen fist. The sort of question that demands a carefully weighed response; the type of response that has consequences.
"Why", she asked, did I "need so much shaving soap"? That type of question was delivered with italic emphasis too.
Now, perhaps I flatter myself when I think that I am of average intelligence, but I feel that that sort of deep question should be submitted in writing and in advance. I should have been given the opportunity to sit down, gather my thoughts and then, answer.
To you a bunch of fine shaving soap. To me a moral dilemma. Part of my soap hoard.
Well, one possible answer to that question is, of course, I don't need the variety and quantities of soap that I own. Well, not in same way that I need to breathe and eat. So, I decided not to attempt to justify a need. I also passed on the opportunity to discuss the materialistic and accumulative nature of our culture.
My only real alternative was to do what we have always done: blame someone else. I blamed the soap makers. Yes, wonderful artisan soap makers, I blame you Wickham Soap Company; Wet the Face; Cold River Soap Works I accuse you.
There, I've said it. I am not accountable for my purchasing decisions when faced with such fine shaving soap. I mean, if these people keep producing such fine soaps, what's a man to do?
We can take heart, the state of the wetshaving world is healthy, judging by the wide range of excellent soaps produced. Not just in the USA and Europe; my friends at River Valley Trading sent me some superb soap from South Africa too. So, potentially, all over the globe, men could be having uncomfortable conversations about their soap hoards.
Of course, shaving soap is an essential for #real wetshaving, although some prefer oil or, some other concoction. Soap, provides, slide, glide and smoothness. Particularly for a straight razor shaver. You may have a lovely Wade & Butcher, a Filarmonica or a Mappin & Webb; poor soap, or great soap, badly prepared and applied, can spoil a shave. A bad straight razor shave could ruin your entire day.
I started wetshaving in the 1980s with what was easily available: sticks of soap.
These were the products my grandfather used. It seemed natural to do the same. The method he employed and I copied was to rub the shaving brush in a circular motion round the tip of the soap, building up the lather in the bristles.
These are, by the way, fine soaps. If you want to shave well on a budget, these soaps are perfect. It's just amazing that today there are so many fine soaps being produced to suit all tastes.
It's also amazing that today's soap makers are making soap to an exemplary standard. So, even though they are to blame for feeding your addiction, support them.
When it comes to fine shaving soap: explore, share, tell. Don't feel guilty if you get shtick for a shtikl soap.
Fine soaps from fine makers. Check them out!
What are your favourites? What was your first soap? Why not comment below?