The man’s guide to leg shaving: a step-by-step photo tutorial

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

I’ve been shaving my legs for years. I resisted the peer pressure in my first year of racing, but gave in in year 2. I won’t list the usual reasons for leg shaving in this letter, but they  are numerous. All of them lies except … “everyone else is doing it.” In life you’ll find that largely to be a destructive reason to do anything: namely drugs, alcohol, promiscuous behavior, and keeping up with the Jones’s. As it relates to leg shaving though I think it’s mostly harmless.

Over the years I’ve seen some gnarly shave jobs on men at triathlons and bike races. Those random missed tufts of leg hair sticking out like Sloth’s hair in the movie Goonies or like daddy long leg spider anklets.

So, as a favor to all of the guy cyclists and triathletes out there here’s my illustrated guide to silky smooth leg shaving for guys:

Step one: turn on some tunes. Nothing fruity like John Mayer or anyone your wife listens to while she’s taking a bubble bath. Cowboy country is probably best. Robert Earl Keen works well.

Step two: run a flaming hot bath. So hot it turns your feet red.

Step three: Get the clippers out and shave both legs down to just stubble. Skipping this step will result in a shave job that lasts all day (warning: do this before you get in the tub):

Step Four: Gather the necessary tools. Use man stuff. Your wife’s pink lady razor with the “lotion built into the razor” won’t work on your man stubble.

Step 5: Now, saddle up on the edge of that garden tub cowboy. This is a key moment…skipping this step will result in sure razor burn and a bath that looks like a scene from Jaws. Get a hot wash cloth and warm up your legs. I usually read something while my legs are warming up. Something manly like Outside Magazine or Hemingway.

Step 6: Get a quarter size squirt of shave gel and lather your first leg up. I generally stop where my tri shorts stop. Anything higher up the leg than that and your getting a little too cute:

Step 7: Start at the ankles and work your way up. Not sure why I do it this way, it just seems to make sense.

Slow down as you run the razor along your shin bone. Your former battle scars stick up here and this is a sure spot to take chunks out of your flesh if you’re in too big of a hurry.

Step 8: Very careful shaving around your achilles tendon. Again, patience. Taking a hunk out of this spot is a good way to stain the back of your new shoes or socks red.

Step 9: Here’s where the artistry comes in: The Knees. If your knees are knobby like mine you’re going to have to twist and turn that razor at every angle possible to get all of those fine white hairs from the peaks and valleys. Go slow and be creative:

Step 10: Those hard to reach spaces. At this point I usually stand up in the bath and do a back bend as I arch and reach for my calves and hamstrings. Be careful with those tendons behind your knees. That’s another painful spot to cut. Hey look! My age is still on my calve from a race 8 days ago!

Step 11: Repeat these steps on the other side. Duh. That is unless you want to really confuse people by saying “the aerodynamic wrap around my body is increased by the friction of one hairy and one not hairy leg. I’m a scientist.”

Step: 12: Repeat that wash cloth warming step from earlier. Your legs are probably feeling a little vulnerable and naked right now, so a nice warm towel will help.

Step 13: Man up and slather on some medicated Gold Bond. Sure it burns and smells a little a minty, but it’ll give you that silky race ready shine you’re looking for.

Once you’ve completed the leg shaving process and are lotioned up, go rub your legs up against your wife’s legs and listen for the “gross! your legs are smoother than mine!”

It makes ya faster. I promise.

– Daddy