I had no problems shaving my legs as a woman. I enjoyed it so much I did it almost everyday. I couldn't wait to do it the next day. I would lather the shaving gel in my hands and rub an even layer of white foam from the top of my knees all the way to my bony ankles. My eyes followed the two bladed yellow razor as it plowed back the white foam, clearing a shiny path of smooth skin.
"You shave your legs every day? Wow. I'm lucky I do it twice a week," the neighborhood girls would say as we compared shaving techniques.
My favorite part of shaving my legs was watching the paths become clear like plowed streets after a heavy snowfall.
In the shower a few weeks ago I decided to shave my face without a mirror for the first time. I was staying at my bother Kevin's three bedroom house for a week dog-sitting.
I can grow about as much facial hair as Kevin and it surprises me that his razor has five sharp blades on it. At 40, he can grow a goatee.
I look like a pubescent teenager with a fresh layer of soft black hairs on my upper lip and chin. Although it feels nice to actually feel something there, I've reached my patience with it.
This wasn't just a razor, it was a tool. It was heavy. It was metal.
Slowly I moved the razor to my face, the fine blades touched my cheek and I thought of my father's bearded face.
"Dad, do you know that I'm in my 30's and I still don't know what your face looks like. Can't you just shave?"
"You can shave my beard when I'm dead," he quickly replies.
Pictures are not the same. I could look at old photographs of my parents and see glimpses of their former selves but I don't know what my dad's face feels like. Is it rough? Does he have scars from acne? Does the hair that grows out of his moles grow back faster than the others like mine?
I want to see his chin.
Even before testosterone made my jaw line and cheeks lose their soft lines or gave my nose more dangling hairs poking out from below, I've always resembled my dad.
Shaving my face blindly got easier as I got closer to being done with it. I paid more attention to the edges of my chin and the sensitive spots near the bottom of my nostrils that always seem to invite cuts and never stop bleeding.
Tonight at dinner, my brothers and I compared hairlines and numbers of grey hair.
"At least you have hair, you should see the drain in the shower when I'm done," said my younger brother Nathan.
"Mine's starting to fall out," I reply.
He drinks his beer.
"I have a grey hair that sticks straight up, right here in the middle of my head," says Kevin as he points to the top of his head.
Our dad sits at the head of the table, quietly eating his dinner, not joining the conversation but my eyes end up on him as the conversation continues. He's looking at us, his three sons, none of which have facial hair, and I wonder if he's worried if any food is stuck in his beard.