Appalachia Pap

To Shave or not?

Jerry Pap Wilson

Pap 1970 something.

A few days ago The Deer Hunter and I were watching some silly reality tv show, I believe it was Ax Men. One of the ax men is really more of a swamp tree hunter. I’m sure it was to add to the craziness of the show or to highlight the oddity of his character, but he was shown barreling down the water in a boat shaving with a razor at the same time-only he was dry shaving.

The Deer Hunter remarked “Ouch-that had to hurt!” While he was wincing with sympathetic pain, I was thinking of Pap. Just like in all areas of his life, Pap never thought about spending money on himself, not even for something as needful as shaving soap or a shaving brush.

Seems like it was only yesterday that I could stand on tip toes to watch Pap lather up a bar of Ivory soap then smooth the bubbles across his face, from the tops of his cheek bones to the curve of his chin. Then with sure fast strokes starting at the same spot on the ridge of his cheek bone he wiped it all off with the end of his razor only leaving behind small lines of soap that disappeared as soon as he wiped his face with a towel.

I don’t know if it was the era Pap was raised in or a hold over from his days of being a Marine, but I have never seen him with a beard or a mustache. I’ve rarely seen Pap with even stubble on his face, he keeps it smooth and clean shaven.

Most of the time my brother Steve has a mustache, but he has shaved it off a few times over the years.

Unlike Pap, Paul, and Steve, The Deer Hunter doesn’t have to shave every day since his beard grows much slower. Oh he wished he did though! I’m secretly glad he doesn’t because if he could he’d grow a beard that ended at his waist.

The Deer Hunter goes from having a mustache-to not having one-to having a goatee-to not having one-to having a beard during deer season-to not having one. In other words he changes his facial hair about as often as the wind blows. The first time the girls seen him without a mustache they cried. Actually they pitched a fit and wanted him to put it back. It was a real ordeal, two toddlers running through the house screaming, crying, and refusing to listen to us explain anything to them. All over a mustache.

The Art Of Manliness tells you how to shave like your Grandfather did-go here to read about it.

Want to make your own shaving soap? Check out this link:

Wellness Mama



You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    S.A. Hale
    July 11, 2019 at 9:32 am

    My Uncle Cecil always had his razor strap hanging in plain sight. His four boys and me knew the meaning of the strap, it wasn’t for shaving.

  • Reply
    Gary Powell
    June 14, 2016 at 9:29 am

    I have both my grandfather’s and father-in-law’s old straight razors. Don’t know what happened to the old leather strop. I don’t have the nerve to try to shave with them. I do have to shave every day.

  • Reply
    June 11, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Like Pap, my Dad is meticulous in everything he does. Shaved, tucked, and polished – even when he was on the tractor in the fields.

  • Reply
    June 11, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Hi Tipper,I’m really surprised not to see a comment on the old razor and razor strap.I remember them,does that mean I’m getting old? LOL. God Bless.Jean

  • Reply
    June 11, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    I shave every other day because any longer and it itches me like crazy. I got a cousin that looks like he belongs on Duck Dynasty, can’t see anything but them eyes. Bet he’s saved a lot of money tho, or just plain lazy.
    Every time I saw Pap, he was clean shaven, like Paul. To me Steve wouldn’t look right
    if he didn’t have a mustache. He is the Only Man that ever called me Mr. Roper. I kinda like that! …Ken

  • Reply
    June 11, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    The first steady job I got after we first married, the employer had a dress code and a mustache was the limit and it had to be kept neat,, the next job I got anything goes, so I grew a beard and I’ve had it every since.. Now it’s been going on over 25yrs.. But I keep it trimmed, I’m not into the Duck Dynasty look…

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 11, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    For almost 40 years I shaved at least every other day. I kept a mustache since 1989 because it covered up scars from an automobile accident. When I retired a couple of years ago all that went out the winder. The moustache came off and is now part of my irregular shaving schedule. Right now I am sporting a 10 day growth. I might shave today, maybe not.
    Not only do I shave my face (when I shave) I shave my whole head except for my eyebrows. During tick season I sometimes shave my whole body (at least what I can reach.) I am hairy all over and don’t want to give those little devils a place to hide. I am a tick magnet (that’s tick not chick).
    When my father in law was alive and in poor health, I had to go shave him sometimes. I noticed the beard around on both sides of his neck was wiry. The razor wouldn’t cut it. It took several passes to get it off. As I got older the same thing happened to me. On my neck under my ears, the razor won’t cut it, I have to wear it off. I was wondering if any of your readers have a remedy for that.
    I used to aggravate men who let their bread get scraggly. “What’s the matter? Did your bushhog break down?” Now it’s me that needs the heavy duty equipment.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    June 11, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Daddy had the mug & a round piece of soap that fit in the bottom and always used the double-edged razor blades–I have his razor. My brothers all have mustaches and have for years but Daddy never did. One of my brothers shaved his once & Mama told him he looked like a catfish!! I have to tell a secret here–some of them are artfully applying hair color for men on their mustaches to hide some of the gray!!
    My husband has had a full beard for years–he always hated to shave. His whiskers are almost totally gray now. Our son also has had a full beard for several years. It’s very thick for such a young man and quite red even though his hair is brown–makes me think of my red-headed Daddy.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    June 11, 2016 at 9:43 am

    My dad shaved everyday as well. He was very picky about his appearance. He would not dare leave the house without shaving and putting on his aftershave. I can still smell his scent and he’s been gone almost 20 years. Even when he was sick and in the hospital and unable to shave he asked me to do it for him and it was an honor to do so. As a child It was so wonderful to watch him shave and I wanted to do it so bad. I would take the blade out of his safety razor and pretend to shave. I loved lathering up my face with the brush and slapping on the Old Spice aftershave.
    I was clean shaven for years but now I wear a very short beard. I’ve used all sorts of soaps for shaving but the best thing I have found is a cheap bottle of hair conditioner. It last a long time and does a great job. I have Old Spice too but it doesn’t smell like it used to when it came in the glass bottle with the plastic stopper. My barber mixes her own blend of essential oils for beards. It’s called Wild Turkey Beard Oil, Spit and Drum.
    I put it on my beard everyday after shaving around the edges. It has a very manly smell and keeps your beard from being so prickly.

  • Reply
    June 11, 2016 at 9:23 am

    This story reminded me of the time my children’s dad shaved his mustache when they were young. They had probably never seen him without facial hair. My youngest daughter started laughing and couldn’t quit pointing her finger at his face. She finally told him he was ugly. Being the big baby he was, he got mad at her and pouted for hours, proving he was ugly inside and out.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    June 11, 2016 at 9:15 am

    A few years ago, while visiting Roy’s cousins in Colorado we decided to explore Escalante Canyon (remember I love Paul’s song). They range cattle in the canyon and we came upon a rancher and some cowboys. Roy’s cousin, Joe, was sporting a full beard — when he said hello and introduced Roy, the rancher said, “Well, Joe, I just about didn’t recognize you all haired out!”

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    June 11, 2016 at 8:24 am

    I have a pretty heavy beard and shave every day. For much of my life, I used an electric shaver, but I discovered the fun of taking a boar hair brush and whipping up a lather, brushing it into my face, and shaving with a safety razor. I have used the multi-blade wonders the razor companies want me to use and can’t tell the difference except for the much higher cost of the cartridges!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    June 11, 2016 at 8:10 am

    Love this post…How long did it take for the girls to finally accept Deer Hunter without the mustache?
    Funny how even at such an early age we try to become creatures of habit. Change can be a shock especially the way one always appears to look!
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…From three plants…8 zucchini, 4 yellow squash. Also, our first sun gold tomato, sooo good and sweet…
    The cucurbit report…4 cukes so far and so tasty, picked small to help kick them off and due to the high temperatures…The Asian long climbers “Suyo”… are still climbing and starting to bloom heavily…the Specialty (Richmond Green Apple) climbing bloom heavy as well, ones are blooming the Marketmores have taken off in the big garden!
    Oh my…Kens’ beans are still climbing and blooming and have tiny beans….The Asian, long beans, are climbing and trying to bloom…The Rattlesnake beans have gone viral and blooming and climbing as well as the Kentucky Wonders….The Morning glory’s “Heavenly Blue” and “Moon Flowers” are nearly to the top of the trellis…The Peppers are being very slow this year…but we have picked one “Gypsy” small, to give the plant a “knee-jerk”, so to speak or as an incentive to keep blooming! ha
    Taters, onions, okra, cukes in big garden all growing….but we need rain in the worst way….

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 11, 2016 at 8:03 am

    With your Dad I expect it was both the era he grew up in and the Marines. My Dad was the same way. He always had to be shaved, have his hair combed, his face washed, his shirt tail tucked in and a belt on. Must have rubbed off on my brother and I because we’ve always been clean-shaven to. Shaving is a nuisance. As my Dad would say, “Wisht I had a dollar for everytime I’ve done it.” That would be about $16,000.

  • Reply
    Steve in Tn
    June 11, 2016 at 7:45 am

    Every kid wants to start shaving–every man wants to quit.

  • Reply
    anita griffith
    June 11, 2016 at 7:41 am

    This made me think of my basic training days at Ft Benning Ga.One of the young men went awol.He was captured in the town of Columbus Ga. and returned to camp.The drill sergeants gathered around him and tried to get him to take a swing at them so they could give him a beating.He was too scared to do anything.Next they made him dry shave,and put him in the stockade.I guess they can’t get by with that sort of thing today.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 11, 2016 at 7:24 am

    It seems to me that men make a much bigger deal out of shaving than women do. I’ve shaved my legs since I was a teen. I’ve always used a bar of soap and I always put lotion after…and that’s it, no discussion.
    I’ve never thought of the Deer Hunters beard as growing slow. I guess that’s because he is always changing it. Like you said, beard one day and gone the next, mustache there one day and gone the next. It seems so easy for him to grow facial hair and then remove it. He’s so pretty I like him without facial hair…..please don’t tell him his mom said he was pretty, but he is!

  • Leave a Reply