Monday 26 Sep 2016

Helping Me Shave
AJ Robinson

The first love, of a little, girl is her father; that saying common. I know that to be true. My daughter and I always had fun together. For her, playing a game with me was the height of fun; she especially loved it when we could share a book, movie or television show. We’d refer to something, quote a line and she’d smile and giggle.


We shared something else, too.

There was one time when she helped me to shave. She was a toddler, no more than four, and one morning I was getting ready to go out; she was getting ready too.

My wife had her dressed. She was in a very nice outfit. All that remained was for me to shave and get dressed.

I was in my underwear, standing at the sink, waiting for my little shaving machine to heat up the cream. I loved the machine. It made the cream nice and toasty warm, which helped to soften my beard. I have quite the tough and hard skin.

My daughter, seeing me like that, got inspired. Now, mind you, she was dressed up nice and fancy, all ready to go out. It was with a great degree of surprise that I looked down to see her standing next to me, on her little step stool, in nothing but her little panties.


She wanted to be just like me and help me shave.

I walked her through the whole process: running hot water over my face to soften it, spreading the shaving cream all over the appropriate area, and then warming the razor before using it. She stood there; mouth and eyes open, and watched every move I made, every step of the process.

My wife came in and saw us, heaving a sigh at the sight before her. After all her hard work in getting our daughter dressed, she was back to square one. Yet, she couldn’t help but find the whole scene quite cute.

My daughter and I, standing there in our underwear, put a memory in the mind of my wife; a similar event of her own childhood. She’d done the same, which is something little girls and their dads do, I think. Anyway, my wife snapped a picture of the two of us from behind.

Two people, one big man, one very little girl, both in her undies, briefs and underoos. Both focused on the simple act of shaving.

Once I was cleaned up and ready, I got dressed, we got our little girl dressed and we set off. Here’s the thing: I don’t recall what was so important that day, what event we had to attend. All I remember is sharing a brief memory with my daughter and I think that’s the most critical thing of the day.


That was a great photograph.

We were very happy to get the picture developed, this was in the days of film and no digital cameras and so we got all the pictures in the roll printed at the local drug store. That one of the two of us, it was something special, and we framed it and put it on the bedside table.

I’d like to think that someday I get to share that event again, when I have grandchildren. It’s nothing special, nothing big, just a simple memory of life with my daughter, but it is one of my favourites.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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