SOTD, SOTN, BBS..... what's with all of these abbreviations?
Those in the world of wet shaving will recognize them as Shave Of The Day, Shave Of The Night and Baby Butt Smooth. I'll admit that my first few times visiting shaving forums, all of these "code words" left me confused and made me realize there is more to wet shaving than just a razor and some soap. Wet shaving has its own language and its own lingo. Learning it is part of the experience and ritual- one that should be enjoyed as much as the shave itself. I can't say with any certainty where these abbreviations came from. I suspect that the internet has something to do with it because, quite frankly, how else would you share your SOTD pre-internet days?
Social media has not only changed the way we interact with each other, it's also changed the way we share our hobbies and our passions. Wet shaving is no different. A quick visit to Instagram and Facebook will yield thousands of posts and pages dedicated to this ritual. Naturally, the most common post is the Shave of the Day or SOTD posts. It's hard to pin point exactly when someone started posting their SOTD. In any case, to the untrained eye, a person will see a razor, a brush- probably with some lather and maybe a mug or bowl. To the wet shaving aficionado, one will observe the type of razor and blade, the knot size of the brush and lather quality to name a few. In other words, there's more to these pictures than just inanimate objects. There are stories, experiences and events behind them. The true wet shaver respects the SOTD picture from their fellow wet shaver.
Men and women (yes women too) set up these beautiful pictures with their favourite razor, brush, mug and shaving cream. The pictures are often of magazine quality. Fine details like water droplets or a carefully placed rock or plant often add to the ambiance of the picture. Like a food connoisseur evaluates the meal in front of them, the wet shaving connoisseur evaluates their hardware and their software. How did the shave soap lather? Did it cushion the shave? Was it slick enough? The beauty of all of this of course is that it's entirely subjective. What works for one person doesn't work for someone else.
I'll never forget my first SOTD- I finished shaving and had some lather left over. I carefully set the brush in the bowl and had the razor on the side. Was the lighting ok? Did it look natural? Was the lather visible? Should I take the photo vertically or horizontally? Flash or No Flash? I took a picture - ok I took 9. I found a good one, and posted it to a popular forum. I was nervous as ever. What if someone didn't like it? What if my information was wrong? Did I load the brush correctly? Would I get shunned? It seemed like an eternity, but within minutes I was rewarded with my first "like". Shortly thereafter, I was was rewarded with compliments- "Nice Picture"- said a complete stranger. "Nice Lather" remarked someone else. Suddenly I felt welcomed to this community.
I've since learned to try and slow down and stage my SOTD pictures. Why rush it? Wet shaving is a ritual to be enjoyed and shared. People share their SOTD pictures when they're going to work, celebrating a birthday, an anniversary, a milestone or perhaps mourning the loss of a family member or cherished pet. These pictures might capture a moment in time that we are quick to forget, but can also capture memories that we can reflect upon. These pictures are sacred to the wet-shaver.
The next time you shave, share your SOTD picture. I'd love to see it and maybe we'll even post it for you!
Below are just a handful of other random abbreviations used in the wet-shaving world.
BBS- Baby Butt Smooth
CF- Castle Forbes
CWS- Cold Water Shave
DE- Double Edge
EO- Essential Oil
SOTD -Shave of the Day
SOTN- Shave of the Night
STR8- Straight Razor
TOBS- Taylor of Old Bond Street
WTS- Want to Sell
WTT- Want to Trade
XTG- Cross the Grain
YMMV- Your Mileage May Vary (experience or how long a product lasts may vary per user)