Withering Glance: Hot foam and a very close shave

  • Article by: CLAUDE PECK and RICK NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 20, 2010 - 8:42 AM

Who knew the process, which normally takes me about two minutes, could occupy almost an hour?

Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.

CP: Heavens to baby's behind, that was a smooth shave. All afternoon I have had an overwhelming desire to kiss myself.

RN: No kidding. That was easily the best 45 minutes and $35 I've ever spent at the Mall of America. Thanks for the suggestion.

CP: A professional shave by a master barber at the new Art of Shaving. ... Who knew the process, which normally takes me about two minutes, could occupy almost an hour? Were you at all nervous when that young woman came at you with a gleaming straight-edge razor?

RN: Talia has been gently nudging whiskers off her clients' mugs for several years, so I wasn't nervous. Within two minutes I was utterly and blissfully relaxed, although that barber's chair was clearly made for someone about 6 inches shorter than my 6-foot-2 frame.

CP: My guy, Jerry, put me at ease. He was just 24, but he had 10 months at barber college and one year as an apprentice. A hand as steady as a brain surgeon's. Now if he could just stop over at the house each morning about 8:30.

RN: Complete with the hot towels, soothing oils, heated shave cream and the double shave. You know, once with the grain of my whiskers, then a second that cut diagonally across them. My 5 o'clock shadow didn't materialize for two days.

CP: Jerry said there are two keys to a good at-home shave: pre-shave oil and a sharp razor. I asked him how long I can use my disposable razor before disposing of it. He said he would toss it after one or two shaves.

RN: No way.

CP: Can you imagine? I try to get a couple, three weeks out of one, even if it means those last few shaves look like scenes from "Saw VIII."

RN: Getting a shave was the kind of extravagance that I'd totally indulge in on, say, my wedding day. That is, if our government allowed taxpayers like myself to marry the loves of our lives. But that's a different discussion, when my cheeks don't smell of sandalwood.

CP: I liked the vintage tunes by Sinatra and Nat King Cole.

RN: I was secretly hoping for a song from "Sweeney Todd." I appreciated how nary a single staffer pushed product on me. I was a tiny bit freaked when I saw that my personal grooming procedure was a sideshow for some H&M bag-toting onlookers. That doesn't happen at my massage therapist's office.

CP: I swear I saw one of your wide-eyed gawkers mouthing the words, "Is that the Rick Nelson?"

RN: Yeah, right. The Art of Shaving has done the impossible. After one visit, I'm prepared to take back every nasty thing I've ever said about the Mall of America.

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