Good Manners, Etiquette and the Art of Shaving

History repeats itself in clothing fashions, but I’d like to see the former teaching of etiquette and good manners make a comeback. Oddly enough, a simple example is shaving.


Both men and women have been shaving off unwanted hair since before 3000 BC. Luckily, our methods have improved over time. I imagine that shaving with water and a sharpened stone, clam shell or copper wouldn’t have tickled.

Since then, the method of shaving has been greatly improved with modern razors and creams. In fact, shaving was considered a thing of expertise in the 1800’s. A sophisticated gent would own a shaving kit with all the necessities: a folding or shraight-edged razor which was sharpened on a leather strop, a brush of soft badger hair, lathering cream and a china shaving mug, aftershave lotion, and cologne.

Excerpt from a book featuring life in the late 1800’s.

Once barbershops opened, men would go to a barber to have his hair trimmed and his beard shaved.

This is a picture of a man named Glenn Porter Black, who was known as “Porter the Barber” in the small Quaker borough of Millville, Pennsylvania, for 73 years.

Nowadays, men and women generally buy a razor at the grocery store, perhaps a can of shaving cream and call it good. But the heart behind the tradition has been lost. Granted it takes more time, but like many of the old traditions, we’ve lost the beauty of etiquette. In many modern homes, children aren’t taught the art of gentility and good manners. Young men don’t know what it means to be gentlemen and young girls don’t know what it means to be ladies. I find this disheartening.


That is why I found this store in the Woodland Mall (Grand Rapids, MI) so special: The Art of Shaving. This store cares about the old tradition of shaving and desires to bring it back. I found it fascinating, as did my husband, who left the store with a kit of his own!



My thought is this… if you have to shave, why not enjoy it?