Against the grain. You shave against the grain. That’s common knowledge to a newly pubescent boy. When the peach fuzz-like hairs begin to grow on your chin and your upper lip, you know that it’s time to try your hand at this technique. Or at least, that’s what the health teacher told you (along with “It’s time to ask your parents to buy you deodorant…” and “Boys! Listen up: size doesn’t matter!”).
You go into your father’s bathroom, open up the medicine cabinet and grab his shaving cream and razor. Paint and brush are in hand, and the palate is your face. Wet your skin, lather up your hands and smudge the white foam all over. The foam is fun! Like Santa, you give yourself a beard with a pointed tip. Enough messing around–Now the butchery begins– glide the razor up a little bit here… ouch! No, not too high… ouch again! This isn’t going well. You gloss off every square centimeter of the shaving cream (which incidentally blinded you from observing the grooves and lines of your face). Look in the mirror for the damage report, and see that you’ve cut yourself in several spots. Rinse the rest of the treacherous foam off of your face and find a bandaid. Scratch that. You need at least three. “Shit!”, you think. You don’t like shaving.