HAVANA TIMES, Jan 20 — With the money I’ll receive for my journalistic collaborations, I was planning to take care of some of my most pressing problems. One of them, seemingly simple, may even end up affecting my health. It has to do with shaving razors.
In Cuba, the act of shaving is literally becoming a pain in the neck because almost no good razors exist for shaving facial hair without overly damaging one’s skin.
When I say that almost none of these exist, I’m speaking in term of decent razors that are available to everyday people, since the quality of the ones that are around are atrocious. They cost about nine national pesos (about $.45 USD), and they’re sold everywhere. But sometimes even the first time you use them you’ll cut your skin.
Other ones appear less regularly in stock though these are more expensive, costing what’s a fortune here – between $2 and $7 USD. I haven’t been able to compare the quality of these, and the fact is that I don’t know anyone who has tried them who can tell me whether the quality is worth the price.
In any case, those prices and are well beyond the reach of ordinary Cubans, and well below the expectations of the island’s elite – who use Gillette.
For some twenty-odd US dollars, really almost thirty, on the black market you can find your Gillette razor along with three or four extra blade heads. Actually that’s was what I had planned to do before receiving the money, but now my budget can’t handle it.
The last two years I’ve gotten by using those plastic disposable Gillette razors, which were given to me by some friends who brought them from abroad.
Nonetheless, sometimes I’ve still had to shave with old blades, blunt ones, because I don’t have nine pesos to shell out on a product that I know beforehand will be a waste of money.
Unfortunately, I have a sensitive skin and it gets inflamed to the point of bleeding without me even having cut myself.
I’m not the only one suffering this cruel fate; there are hundreds of thousands — or millions — of us here who have to scrape away at our faces, legs and other parts of our bodies using dull and irregular blades.
In Cuba there’s a phrase for people who are close to death from old age. Ironically, we usually say “this person has only a few good shaves left.”
If people could really tell each other’s age by the number of times they’ve shaved, and if all of us suddenly decided — owing to a lack of razors — that we would only shave when absolutely necessary, then we could say with the same irony and without the fear of being mistaken, that there are only a few good shaves left for us as well.