Gentleman of Leisure: Shaving.

Gentleman of Leisure is writer, erstwhile lecturer and notionally overeducated Martin Marks‘s PAPERMAG column on the things he likes and why.

Once upon a time, all a man needed for a good shave was a sharp blade, a bar of soap, an old mug, and a freshly caught badger (the bristles for lathering, the haunches for eating). But as razors started taking on the names and structural components once reserved for F-16 fighter jets, we entered the Era of the Product, and my bathroom soon filled with enough balms, salves, and ointments to give the pachyderms at Barnum and Bailey’s a spa day. Pre- shave, post-shave, meta-shave, inter- and intra-shave — prefixes so difficult to parse that I did what any sensible person would do; I grew a beard. But when my facial hair transitioned from refined to academic to Unabomber-esque, I thought it high time to go back to the medicine cabinet. Read more at

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