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Quotations about Shaving



The scissors cut the long-grown hair;
The razor scrapes the remnant fuzz.
Small-jawed, weak-chinned, big-eyed, I stare
At the forgotten boy I was.
~John Updike (1932–2009), "Upon Shaving Off One's Beard"


The care that we bestow on our person is a species of politeness towards others; thus it is that many persons shave some part of their beard, in order to unite freedom of toilette with an appearance of cleanliness and trimness. ~Charles Blanc, Art in Ornament and Dress, 1875


The barber learns to shave at the beards of fools. ~Italian proverb


I often cry, "Oh goodness gracious! My whiskers, rank, apocynaceous, grow faster every year; it takes so much of toil and trouble, to mow away the doggone stubble—I still must shear and shear." I'm shaving, with the lather foaming, at early morn and in the gloaming, and by the midnight lamp; I'm shaving when I should be earning some coin to keep the fires a-burning, till I have a barber's cramp. The time men waste, their whiskers mowing, if it were spent in useful sowing, would renovate the earth; why, ask the Innocent Bystanders, do faces run to oleanders, which have no price or worth? It must be great to be a woman, upon whose face, so fair and bloomin', alfalfa doesn't grow; she doesn't, with her sisters, gather, at barbershops, the taste of lather she doesn't ever know. But man must always be a-stropping; to mow away the new outcropping, his tools must have an edge; and if his whiskers are neglected, his friends will cry, till he's dejected, "Come from behind the hedge!" ~Walt Mason (1862–1939), "Whiskers"


Shaving the Face robs a Man of his Individuality and forces him into a poverty of Worldly Conformity. ~ManStache Men's Co, manstachemensco.com


There is always a period when a man with a beard shaves it off. This period does not last. He returns headlong to his beard. ~Jean Cocteau, 1929, translated from French


Another unfair thing is that you can and often do get bald on top,
But your whiskers don't stop...
~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "Woodman, Spare Not That Underbrush"


There comes a time in the life of western civilization when it is the duty of every well-wisher of the world to speak out what is in his mind. Such a time is now. The growth of the clean-shaving habit in this epoch is becoming everywhere a serious national menace... All the dignitaries and leaders of today are fashioning themselves into the likeness of schoolboys. ~Stephen Leacock, "Studies in the Progress of Human Knowledge — The Restoration of Whiskers A Neglected Factor in the Decline of Knowledge," The Garden of Folly, 1924


One is amazed at the vanity of human beings who will thus expose their features to general view when nature has provided so easy a means of disguising them. It is not even that they get any pleasure from shaving. There is no operation more tedious, quite apart from the danger of being infected with anthrax from the shaving-brush. As for being shaved by a barber, that, too, has its perils. I remember being shaved during a thunderstorm by a little French barber who leaped into the air at every flash of lightning, and brought the razor back to my throat like a guillotine in his unsteady hand. On another occasion the barber was tipsy, and by the time he had covered all one side of my face with duelling-marks I had to beg him to desist, and went out into the world shaven (more or less) on the right side of the face, and with a stubble of beard on the left. It is strange what perils men will face merely in order not to look different from their neighbours. It may be that most men do not care how they look, so long as they do not look ridiculous, and their conception of looking ridiculous is that they should look different from anybody else... The convention of one age is the laughing-stock of the next. In regard to shaving, the view of the conventionalist is that it does not much matter whether we shave or grow beards provided we all shave or grow beards at the same time, and ninety-nine men out of a hundred are conventionalists. ~Robert Lynd, "Beaver," Solomon in All His Glory, 1923  [This essay first appeared in 1922 in the New Statesman with a slightly different wording. —tg]


Keep a stiff upper lip — especially when you're shaving yourself. ~Noah Lott (George V. Hobart), The Silly Syclopedia, 1905


One day soon the Gillette company will announce the development of a razor that, thanks to a computer microchip, can actually travel ahead in time and shave beard hairs that don't even exist yet. Men will buy this razor. Men can get into shaving, because it reminds them of what stud hombres they are, having to tame their manliness on a regular basis. ~Dave Barry, "Body Hair, Tennis: What's Love Got To Do With It?," 1992


A little girl had been looking at some pictures of angels and she turned to her mamma and asked: "Mamma, why are there no men in heaven?" "But there are men in heaven," replied her mother. "Then why is it," asked the child, "that we never see any pictures of angels with whiskers or mustache?" "True," was the reply," but there are men in heaven, only they get in by a close shave. ~The Independent, 1902


I'm not growing a beard; I'm just too lazy to shave. ~Erik Gagnon, 2000


Jones being impatient to be drest... thought the Shaver was very tedious in preparing his Suds, and begged him to make Haste... "Sir," said he, "since I have dealt in Suds, I could never discover more than two Reasons for shaving, the one is to get a Beard, and the other to get rid of one. I conjecture, Sir, it may not be long since you shaved, from the former of these Motives..." ~Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, 1749  [The entire exchange is quite humorous, or at least as a quotation addict I find it so, as the barber is continually spouting Latin and proverbs — to Jones' rushed disgust — and is self-admittedly "too much addicted to the Study of Philosophy." –tg]


Despite all the perils of the shaving-brush, and the still greater perils of the barber's shop, it seems to me likely that Englishmen will continue to shave till a queen sits on the throne again. ~Robert Lynd, "Beaver," Solomon in All His Glory, 1923  [This essay first appeared in 1922 in the New Statesman with a slightly different wording. —tg]


Susan:  "Sally, does it ever occur to you that age brings wisdom and greater confidence?"
Sally:  "Susan, age brings you more to shave."
~Coupling, "Flushed," original airdate 12 May 2000, written by Steven Moffat





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Original post date 2013 October 2nd
Last saved 2021 Aug 27 Fri 15:29 PDT
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