You will hear these words usually after something has failed to work or is on the verge of breaking down. It speaks to two concepts:
The first concept revolves around feeling of nostalgia, we have memories and attachments to things, we need a connection the past in the face of the ever marching now. The second concept has more to do with being able to recover concepts and ideas from the past that are superior to their contemporary replacements.
Let's immediately launch into the mundane. I have a full beard and it is more truck driver than lawyer in length and volume. Most of my shaving has to do with border patrol in order keep the neck beard at bay. The modern workplace is already full beard hostile, even more so as you move eastward towards the Atlantic. Working in the software field allows you an out as beards are not entirely shocking. However one must maintain at least the pretense of professionalism; token efforts are both noticed and appreciated by HR.
The most common shaving options in the States seems to be either an electric razor or a multi-blade (cartridge) razor. I had an electric razor when I was 16. I thought the commercials on TV were impressive, but I don't remember it being that great. Feel free to update me if I am missing some breakthroughs in electric razor development. The real step backwards was the move from the safety razor to the cartridge razor.
A safety razor is what men used to shave with prior to the introduction of the disposable and cartridge razor in the 1970s. Depending on your age, you probably remember your father having a razor of this type. Here is a picture if you need some context. The safety razor was a good idea as it was a replacement for the straight razor and was significantly safer for day to day use. There are those that claim that there is no better shave than a straight razor. You can lose a lot of skin if you are not skilled or paying attention. Daily use of a straight razor is more extreme sport than grooming.
The cartridge razor is a razor that uses a cartridge with 2-5 individual blades and a proprietary connector between cartridge and razor handle.
There has been an ongoing arms race amongst companies for the number of blades per cartridge, more blades promising better results. This idea is pretty easy to mock though the marketing department will claim that more blades = better shave.
The cartridge razor system is an inferior replacement to the safety razor for the following reasons:
- The default razor handle is a cheap piece of plastic, though it costs around $8. It is as disposable as the cartridges.
- You have to buy into a system. Cartridges have proprietary connections, so if the local store does not carry your brand/blade count, you are out of luck.
- Expensive. A Gillette Fusion ProGlide Power Cartridges 8 pack will set you back about $30. Ouch, that shave better be from the future for that kind of money.
- Plastic. The surrounding ecosystem has no current need for more plastic. Cartridge razors (disposables even more so) maximize the amount of plastic trash per shave.
The alternative option is to go the safety razor route. You can pick up a fine all metal razor for about $30. This style of razor has a pleasing heft to it, it will likely last until you lose it. Stainless steel razor blades are about $6 for a package of 10, and they last for quite a while in my experience. They are interchangeable; Brand A and Brand B double-edged razor blades will work equally fine with any safety razor. The used blade is just steel, easy to recycle.
Sometimes the latest is not the greatest. Sometimes innovation is just another way to make you pay more for something that doesn't need improvement. The development of the safety razor was a response to the very real dangers inherit in using a straight razor. As far as I can tell, the development of the cartridge razor is really more about making more trash and taking your cash.