I can remember my Father saying he missed the old blued safety razor blades. In his day the most modern razor was called a safety razor, and it had the common sort of postage stamp sized flat razor blade that just dropped in, then you closed the top flaps so that only the edges of the razor were left. What he must have been talking about was steel razor blades that became unavailable when stainless steel blades came out. In what I guess will have to be a different blog post some day, I'm going to sound off against dubious quality stainless steel taking over steel too often in all kinds of things, but for now let's just say from dealing with knives it's easy for me to believe the old blued steel blades were better, just needing to be replaced more often.
I really wasn't expecting to decide at some point razors were going to be a source of such disappointment in my life as well, but sure enough it has. Razor makers went from using stainless steel safety razor blades to designs that used what almost could be called a wire strip of stainless steel. These were marketed as multi-bladed almost immediately, with the famous illustration that claimed the first row of blades pulled the whisker out so that the second cut it even shorter when it passed through. Granted, you can shave pretty quick with these devices, but probably not for this reason. Needing a razor some 30 odd years ago, I wound up with the Gillette Atra, and I distinctly remember it was free, attached to a shaving cream can. There's no doubt that the idea is to get the razors out there to the public at a loss, then clean up on selling the blades at a huge profit.
I liked the Atra OK, and might concede it was possibly at least faster and somewhat safer than the old safety razors. Unfortunately it became impossible to buy the blades without getting this idiotic strip on them that ooze some kind of lubricant that is supposed to make shaving easier. I've always hated that stuff, as it doesn't work at all and makes it hard to grab your facial skin for what for me is a necessary tug to splay out the beard at an angle so that a second swipe in the opposite direction of the first can finish off what's left (notably this does not happen as in the famous illustration but requires this step)
Fortunately, you can wash this lubricant off, and I just got used to having to do this when I had to give up on the Atra. The old razor wouldn't grab the blade cartridge anymore. Time for a new razor, and again I already had one I got free; I think it was also attached to a shaving cream can. I decided not to try to get another Atra as I have to believe new blades will not be available some day soon. So anyway I needed to rob a liquor store so I could buy some blades for the new contraption: a Gillette Mach3. From the name I guess we are to imagine we can shave at 3 times the speed of sound. This monster takes the idea of multiple blades further, using 3 rows, without question decreasing the safety of it. I also do not believe it shaves a lick better than 2 row systems like the Atra, reinforcing my belief that the claim that whisker get pulled out to be cut shorter by following blades is a canard. And of course it is impossible to buy blades without the lubricating strip. Worst of all, I can't as safely or as effectively shave the mustache area, the menacing 3 rows can't seem to be arranged safely for this, and I'm finding myself getting nicks there. As a compromise I shave with the Mach3 except for above the lip where I use a disposable 2 row razor. Sue has noticed I seem to be trying to grow a mustache! Maybe the next time you see me I'll have grown one out of desperation.
If you click on the link above, you'll see a section that says this:
"The latest razor introduced by Gillette is the Gillette Fusion brand shaving system, which utilizes a five-blade cartridge razor with an additional single blade for trimming."
What the hell is that thing? Entirely too scary to contemplate! These young whippersnappers in the razor business are just screwing everything up! Some day I'm going to have to use one of those things? I hope not, I'm starting to think I've got to find ye olde straight razor and learn how to strop it!