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Flex Ball is worthy rival to the straight-edge, but not cheap

The last time I let somebody shave me was in Istanbul three years ago.

The man with the straight-edge had a moustache, spoke no English, and flicked his lighter at the end and placed it next to my ear. Apparently, this is the old-school punctuation mark. Burn the ear hair.

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It felt glorious and special and classy.

But I live in a disposable world, where blue plastic razors are employed quickly every few mornings to make sure I’m presentable. I admit it: I hate shaving. I rarely avoid a few nicks. So I was glad to get the chance to test out Gillette’s new Robocop of a razor, the ProGlide Flex Ball.

For the test, I headed to Barbershop Deluxe on Columbus Street. That’s where Christina, my masterful and regular barberess, begged out. She doesn’t do shaves. I appreciated that honesty. Better she step away than leave me sliced.

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She handed me off to Luis Rodriguez, who promised he had experience.

The test, I decided, would be quite simple. A straight-edge on the left side, Flex Ball on the right.

Straight edges date to 1680. The Flex? Late April.

It didn’t take long to realize that these two blades were different. The reality, to cut to the results, was that both worked well. Perhaps this is a testament to Luis. But comfort-wise, straight-edge did tug more and left me with the natural fear that Luis, whom I had just met, might pull a Sweeney Todd at any moment.

The Flex Ball was clearly the easier shave.

The pivoting action allowed Luis to get around the contours of my mug without much effort.

Even he admitted he was surprised by the razor’s obvious agility. Both left me without even a nick.

Would I use the Flex Ball in the future?

Probably not. This is where cost comes in.

I’m willing to throw down $11.49 for a good six pack. But for one razor handle? Plus the replacement blades? For that, I’ll stick with my disposable Good News.

Geoff Edgers can be reached at gedgers@globe.com.
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