Friday, March 11, 2005

Taylorism and Shaving

Ok, I know that half of you are out there scratching your heads thinking "what can Taylorism and shaving have in common?" (while the remaining half of you are out there scratching your heads thinking "What in the world is Taylorism?"). In a nutshell, Taylorism is the study and science of efficiency, named after Frederick Winslow Taylor. He wrote The Principles of Scientific Management in 1911, based on employee productivity, efficiency, abilities, incentive, blah, blah, blah. Long story short, he studied the process of attaining a desired result in the fewest steps possible, a concept which I love. The man is my hero.

I know I'm going ultra geek here (and totally losing some of you in the process), so I'll throw in a fun side note. Word on the street is that in his personal life, FWT was a complete nutjob, taking his "science" of efficiency far too seriously. I remember reading in college where he actually studied the most efficient way to dry his body (with the fewest number of towel passes) when he exited the shower. Oh come on, who doesn't do that? Am I the only one who does? Uh.. nevermind.

But it's the perfect segue to today's topic - cut to this morning as I'm getting out of the shower, preparing to shave. Horror of all horrors, I realize that I am COMPLETELY OUT OF SHAVING CREAM. There wasn't even the little bit at the end of the can that teases you as it spits out tiny shaving cream particles. Nothing. Empty can. Normally, this is where I would completely freak out and run to the nearest grocery store to buy more (hopefully remembering to put on some pants first), but instead I calmly searched my mental archives. I knew that something could be done in a time of crisis. Well, I recalled an article I read years ago that said if you run out of shaving cream, you can use hair conditioner as a "in time of need" replacement. I just knew all that reading would come in handy one day.

So I begin to slather conditioner on my beard (granted, it doesn't lather nearly as well as shaving cream, and we all know that most of the fun of shaving IS the lather) but it covers my stubble well enough, so I continue. You may not believe this, but as I begin to shave, it actually feels BETTER than shaving with shaving cream. It was fantastic. Upon finishing, my shave was closer and my skin felt smoother than ever before. I stood dumbfounded in front of the mirror, caressing my newly shaven jawline and smiling - oddly enough, exactly like all those men in the shaving commercials.

So this is where the Taylorism kicks in, and why I'm as giddy as a 14 year old geek on his way to a comic book convention. What if I can combine my hair conditioning and shaving into one giant step? I would no longer need to buy shaving cream - 1.) eliminating yet another step in my life and 2.) eliminating the senseless clutter of shaving cream cans. I could rely solely on my trusty bottle of conditioner. My mind races as I ponder the beauty of it all.

I know it sounds crazy. I think so too. So, before I can commit to such a major life change, I will need to do a test. A true, honest-to-goodness test. So here's what I'm thinking. I will, IN THE INTEREST OF SCIENCE, sacrifice myself and shave half of my face with conditioner, and the other half with shaving cream for the period of one week. After said timeperiod, I will randomly sample 25 complete strangers and ask them to feel both sides of my face as to which one they think is a better shave. Assuming I don't get clobbered to death by said 25 complete strangers, I'll be back to you in a week with the results. Keep your fingers crossed, and stay tuned, Taylorism fans...


Anonymous Penny said...

Okay, so I'm late to the game! We just got back from Phoenix and I'm trying to catch up.

I'm very confused; doesn't everyone try to do things in the most efficient manner possible? I'm a little troubled that I'm identifying with some of your OCD quirks! Could an obsession with efficiency lead to road rage?? Road rage would disappear if everyone drove with efficiency!

It will be interesting to see how your experiment turns out. As long as you're the one asking people to touch your face rather than you randomly touching strangers' faces (remember George Costanza after his bra salesman interview losing his job because he felt some girl's blouse?).

Kudos to you for putting yourself out there in the blog world. I've toyed with the idea of blogging but fear I may be a tad too introverted to put myself out there. TTFN!

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are something else. I crack up at every "blog" I read. Keep up the great writing Mateo!

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Beto said...

I didn't mean to be anonymous! Let me try again...

8:25 AM  

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