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To Shave or not to Shave

To shave, or not to shave, that is the question. Some activities remain the same whether or not a person has autism. Autism can and does make certain things more difficult for some people. A classic example is socialization and everything related to it. For some, coordination is a problem. Though this issue can be dealt with, in men it can be a problem due to shaving. Poor coordination with shaving can make a person look ungroomed or leave them with a sore face. The story about my problems with shaving begins!

I have poor coordination. This has caused me issues in numerous areas over the years. I was terrible in gym class performance. I needed eye exercises to learn how to drive, and had to wait until I was twenty years old to learn, though I had an interest since sixteen. Using power tools and sharp knives was deemed unsafe for many years until I obtained better coordination and someone to closely watch over me. Then of course shaving. It is necessary for men, but something I have always struggled with until recently.

When I was in sixth grade I started to grow light facial hair. It was enough that I probably should have shaved, but it was thought that it could bring more attention to the hair which could attract bullies. Fortunately, it was passable, and I didn’t have any bullying issues in grade school.

The following year, I couldn’t put shaving off any more. It was time to learn how to shave. My first razor was an electric razor. It didn’t use shaving cream, but instead a powder like substance that I rubbed over my face which came from a small round container that worked similarly to a deodorant container. The electric razor didn’t cut my face, but over time it proved not to be effective at taming my facial hair.

I had to switch to a straight razor. This proved problematic. My poor coordination caused me to repeatedly miss the same areas on my face, and also get all sorts of nasty cuts. My face was sore, and I can’t say it looked that good sometimes. Even when I went slowly, I had a problem shaving. I had trouble figuring out how much pressure to use while shaving. Sometimes hair would be missed because of a too light touch or the wrong angle. Other times I’d get cut because of pressing too hard, and I would still miss the hair. Either way it didn’t work well. I was happy during the time when I could get away without shaving such as Saturdays and during vacation as I could avoid the difficult task, and have a face that wasn’t sore.

Of course, as I went through my teens, my facial hair became thicker making shaving more important and even more difficult. Eventually I grew a moustache, to cut down on shaving. The area where my moustache grew was one of the harder areas to shave. With a moustache, the only thing I had to do to the area was have it trimmed occasionally. This was much better than having to shave the area every day.

I have tried numerous things over the years to try to improve my shaving. I tried a number of various razors. Some worked better than others, but none prevented getting my face cut, and none prevented me from missing spots. The major difference with the better razors were that they made it less likely that I would cut myself.

I also tried growing a beard in 2003, thinking that it would solve the problem of shaving, once and for all. When waiting for the beard to come in, the problem was solved as I didn’t have to shave. Once I acquired the beard, the major issue came. Beards need to be trimmed to keep them from looking scruffy. I tried to keep my beard tamed, and I inadvertently caused it to “slide off of my face.” That is exactly how it looked. When trying to keep it shaped, the area it covered moved lower and to the right side of my face causing the illusion that it was moving. Eventually, I decided that shaving the area looked better than my beard did. So back to square one.

The idea of going back to using an electric razor was played around with for a number of years, but never came to fruition. No one knew exactly why I stopped using one to begin with (though I knew that I was told it wasn’t working when the initial switch was made,) and it seemed every time a search for an electric razor happened, we never found one. It was all talk and no action. I guess taking the plunge seemed risky. Maybe electric razors were too costly to experiment with them or maybe because of the recollection of my previous one not working, my parents were afraid of buying me one that may have the same problems as the original one.

Eventually I received a nice electric razor that had good reviews. I learned to use it, and I haven’t cut myself since, and have had relatively minor areas missed. I don’t know if my skill with an electric razor has improved, if the razor is simply a better quality one, or both. Either way, I don’t have the problem anymore.

A little later, I used the moustache trimmer attachment, and trimmed it off, thinking it would make me look younger. I had no trouble using the attachment, and have successfully kept that area looking nice as well. It’s amazing how after all these years, only recently have I got a handle on shaving, something I am really happy about.

So, there you have it! I overcame the issue of shaving which was a major problem for a long time. A more important message from this piece is simply what can seem like ordinary tasks, can actually be huge stumbling blocks for some people. So often unless you have a problem in such an area, it wouldn’t even cross your mind that it could be hard for a person.

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