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Close Shave

As someone who stares at a blinking cursor for a living, I'm not accustomed to seeing myself. Okay, that's not entirely accurate. I constantly check how I look in the mirror, my rampant narcissism tempered by insecurities bordering on body dysmorphic disorder. In other words, I have no idea what I really look like.

So imagine my shock when I watched myself on AM Northwest yesterday. Actually, you don't have to imagine because I'm going to tell you. That's what blogs are for — to provide more than you want to know. Forget the Information Age, we're living in the Too Much Information Age.

Anyway, while I was relieved that I managed to speak in complete sentences, all I could think was "What's up with that vein in my neck?" and "Why didn't I trim the hair on my chinny-chin-chin?"

So, after visiting KBOO for my second interview of the day (where I made up the word "relevatory" — aka "revelatory"), I decided to take my five o'clock shadow to Chopperz, the "non-salon men's grooming lounge," for an old-school straight razor shave.

The thought terrified me, which is why I did it. Part of my year-long quest to do something new every day has involved things which scare me; that's why I wore a python as a boa, held a tarantula, and wore four-inch stilettos.

But none of those put me in danger of having my throat slit.

Chopperz is designed specifically for "retrosexuals," offering sports on hi-def plasma TVs at each station, as well as a selection of microbrews and specialty cocktails.

I understand why they serve booze. While men have shaved with straight razors for centuries, Rebecca, the pretty, twenty-something stylist with the sparkly makeup, certainly hasn't.

Since I don't drink, Rebecca put me at ease with various lotions and hot towels.

But once she came at me with the blade, all I could think of was blood gushing from that ropey vein in my neck.

In that vein — pun intended — I asked Rebecca whether she'd seen the Tim Burton film of Sweeney Todd.

"It made me cringe," she said.

"It was pretty gory," I agreed.

"No, not that," she said. "Johnny Depp's shaving technique was all wrong."

Maybe that's why so many writers subscribe to the Hemingway and Bukowski school of personal hygiene.

÷ ÷ ÷

Marc Acito's debut novel, How I Paid for College, won the Ken Kesey Award for the Novel and was also selected as an Editors' Choice by the New York Times. Acito is a popular contributor to the New York Times and National Public Radio's "All Things Considered." He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Books mentioned in this post

Marc Acito is the author of Attack of the Theater People

2 Responses to "Close Shave"

    carlam April 24th, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    Hi, Marc

    I've been enjoying your blog this week..

    Last night I dreamt that you owned a Mexican Restaurant.. and I was trying to query you discreetly as to whether it was a high-end establishment or a Taco Dive, so as not to insult you if it was a dive.. Unfortunately, I woke up before enlightenment..

    So which is it???

    Ummm, I wonder where that came from? .. Go figure..

    "How can there be confusement?"

    Lewis October 11th, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Excellent article Marc. Seriously, everybody can do this at home. All that is needed is a brush, a razor and good shaving cream. The process is very simple. I personally like Al's Shaving cream because of its high quality and ease of lathering . This is the way that out fathers all shaved and it is the best.

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