I had to stop reading this New York Times article about learning to shave with a straight razor with Seth Kugel wrote the following:
Like back-scratching, shaving is an act much more easily performed on others than on oneself. Which explains why our grandfathers went to the barber for a shave (though not why they wore ties to baseball games — that’s still a mystery).
Modern men have been spoiled by today’s razors, taking for granted the ever-increasing number of blades from Trac II to Mach3 to Quattro to the five-bladed Fusion. The new technology allows us to shave our face in just about any direction at any reasonable speed, like a freewheeling painter working on a shaving cream canvas.
I know, what a shame, all this convenience of easy shaving without slicing your cheek open! We’re not "spoiled" by the current state of razor-technology. We demanded it over the years because our grandfathers — the stalwart sort who wore ties to the stadium and had office-couch dalliances with Miss Holloway — were sick of paying money for a shave or hacking up their faces when they tried it themselves. This is progress. The good sort.
Maybe twice I have paid for a barber to shave my face. I left the experiences with two thoughts: first, Hmm, my face is marginally smoother than if I shaved myself, and second, I really can’t justify this expense. We are on the verge of a global economic nightmare. The fellow paying a Kugelesque $70 to learn how to use an antiquated piece of grooming technology is either not going to survive the coming winter or deserves to be hung by the suspenders from a lamppost as an example.
Update: Eric Rauchway informs me that bearers of my name have complicated relationships with the straight razor.