Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Gentleman Shaves

Dear Mr. Smith: I was getting ready for a first date and asked two women if I should shave for it. A friend my age – 24 – said emphatically not, but my sister-in-law, who is 33, said I should always shave, especially on a first date. Personally, I think I look better with three-day-old stubble, but we're talking about a real date here, a dinner-and-wine deal. Is shaving necessary? 
I have answered this question before, but I have strong views on the matter – views that turn out to be controversial. Whether or not to shave for dates is probably the argument I have most with my readers. So let's do it again.

Age, of course, is a factor here. The question strikes someone of my vintage as ludicrous. (Honestly, they'll be asking me if they should shower next.) A gentleman shaves. He wants to show he has made some effort for his date. He wants to impress on her his maturity and sophistication.

A woman, after all, does not want to be dating a teenager; she wants to be dating a man. A man who does not need to prove his manliness by sprouting bristle like a thug.

Okay, so what about that 24-year-old female friend of yours? Is she not a woman? Don't her tastes matter? Good point. There are indeed people who are so young that they are thrilled by the mere fact their date needs to shave at all, and like to be reminded of it. Maybe your date will be one of those. Maybe she also likes unwashed hair and ironic T-shirts, in which case you shouldn't be taking her out for a dinner with wine. Take her instead to a tavern to see some ironically whiny indie rock. Order a pitcher of beer. You guys aren't ready for restaurants yet.

Remember, though, that she, too, will one day be a woman of 33. Why not accelerate her maturity? Why not be the one who introduces her to the kind of pleasures – non-ironic restaurants, for example – that await then?

Try to think of the other diners too. You may think that you look better with stubble; I think you just look dirty.


  1. I like facial hair! I don't like stylized facial hair (no goatees for me) but I definately love a beard. If a guy looks like he's lived in a cave or has been camping for a week, count me in.


  2. Stubble on a gentleman can be very becoming, although I admit, the idea of a caveman doesn't impress me personally! :)



Related Posts with Thumbnails