I was perusing SuperSaver’s shaving cream section when I came across the row of tiny boxes, and I immediately was taken in by their classic simplicity. I thought of all the men who had grown up before the days of air-compressed shaving cream. Back then, it was either mug soap or nothin’. So that’s what they grew up using. That’s all they knew. And as I stood there in SuperSaver holding my Edge Active Care Gel, I was grateful to Colgate for still making mug soap for all the old men of the world. I imagine it’s not a big seller. But for the few that faithfully purchase it, it means a lot.
I didn’t see the mug soap again until last Monday night when I was shopping at Russ’s Market with Ben and Ashley. I pointed it out to Ashley and shared with her my like for its packaging. Then I noticed something sitting next to it: the Burma-Shave Shaving Brush.
I picked up the box and read, “Stores are full of shaving aids, but all you need is this and blades.” At this, I chuckled. There I was, standing amidst an entire row of shaving supplies. How right you are, Burma-Shave, I thought. How right you are.
When I turned the box over I found another slogan: “Feel your face as you ride by. Now don’t you think it’s time to try.” I’ll admit, I didn’t quite understand what the “ride by” had to do with anything, but I did wonder if it was “time to try.”
Ashley wasted no time wondering. She said, “I think you should buy them.”
I picked them up and carried them with me to the other end of the aisle. Then I carried them back and placed them in their spot on the shelf. Then I took them down again and looked at them severely. Do I need you? I thought at them.
We’re reasonably inexpensive, they thought back at me. Have you ever used a shaving mug, brush, or soap to shave with before? What is the purpose of living if not to experience new things
The next morning after my shower I got a mug, placed the soap inside, wet the bristles of my shaving brush with hot water, and went to work. The box said to “stir brush in shave mug to whip up hot lather.” Simple enough, I thought. But it took quite a lot of stirring in the shave mug to get any lather at all. And then by the time I had enough lather to even begin thinking of brushing it on my face, it wasn’t so much a “hot lather” anymore as much as it was the tepid, shivery kind.
When I touched the brush to my cheek I could barely feel the lather. I’m accustomed to a shaving gel that becomes rich and creamy, and I’m accustomed to using way too much of it. Whereas this lather seemed to soak into my skin and disappear as I brushed it on. And, speaking of the brushing, it felt, and smelled, like I was rubbing a wet horse all over my face. It took two painstaking layers before I was satisfied enough to start shaving.
I’m grateful that the men who are accustomed to, and hopefully skilled at, using this stuff are still able to do so.
Furthermore, I’m grateful I don’t have to.
Maybe there’s a better kind of mug soap. Kingsley, Williams, and Colonel Conk all have their own varieties. You try them out if you want, but it doesn’t make any difference to me. I know what suits my fancy, and it looks a little something like this: