words William Wiles
Razor blades are the most absurdly over-designed high-volume product in the shops. Even at the cheapo, face-lacerating generic end of the market there are a number of competing ways of attaching razor to handles, and to add to the fun it’s normally difficult to tell which is which from looking at the box. Higher up the market, every competing product line has its own proprietary clip, locking you into its particular system of horribly overpriced “cartridges”. In order to justify the maddening expense – £13.50 for eight is daylight robbery – the average cartridge has more features than a family car: more blades than a secondary school, massage pads, protective bars and lubricating strips oozing slimy aloe, jojoba and omega-3. One new model vibrates. All this gets used once, then it’s straight to landfill. And the damn stuff just keeps growing.
The handles, meanwhile, are a carnival of the ugly. Men get sold bulbous, sinewy limbs like the steroid-boosted, spandex-clad arm of a superhero. Women get condescendingly large, child-grip confections in nausea-inducing pastels and a type of plastic that almost immediately begins to rot. Everyone gets treated like an idiot by marketing at its most offensively gender-driven: you’re either a testosterone-soaked, gadget-obsessed chump or an oestrogen-addled, low-self-esteem chumpette.
We want an end to the blade-multiplying, vibrating, moisturising arms race, a bit of sanity on the handles and a USB-like universal connector for the blades. And ads that treat us like adults.