How come a woman shaving her legs wears out a man’s razor so fast?

Dear Cecil:

Last night I inserted a new blade cartridge in my modern safety razor. This AM my true love used said instrument (unbeknownst to me) to remove unwanted hair from her lower extremities. Now, a half hour later, I am trying to figure out how to apply a tourniquet to my upper lip after using the same blade for my morning ablutions. My question is, how can delicate female down so completely ravage a blade that regularly stands up to my hard-bitten stubble?

Cecil replies:

It’s simple, compadre. While the little lady’s leg hair tends to be finer than your face hair, she’s got a whole lot more shaving acreage than you do, particularly if she decides to shave her underarms too. So she wears the blade out a lot faster. (Remember, it’s not just hair that clogs up a razor but dead skin cells as well.) If she’s not wetting her legs sufficiently it’ll make things even worse.

The blade companies wimpishly decline to speculate on what the female-to-male wear-per-shave ratio might be, saying individual variation makes averages meaningless (which certainly ought to come as news to people in the statistics business), but let’s say it’s 4:1. You put in a new blade and experience the silky smoothness of shave #1. Your inamorata comes along and thoughtlessly scrapes her gams with the selfsame razor, using up the equivalent of shaves #2, #3, #4, and #5. The next morning you pick up the razor expecting shave #3 and instead what you get is the equivalent of shave #6. Being psychologically unprepared, you gouge divots out of your face, straining the bonds of affection and causing you to wonder whether this relationship is really worth it. The obvious solution is separate-but-equal shaving equipment. Sounds reactionary, but there are times when the liberal impulse has to give way to the instinct for survival.

Send questions to Cecil via cecil@straightdope.com.

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