- a siliconmom in Britain
Venus in the bathroom
Venus in the bathroom By Deborah Gale “Buying a new razor might not smack of legitimate acceptance of a new country but I beg to differ…” There are certain defining moments in life. I think I just had one. The true measure of acceptance of a new country comes in many forms to those of us who decide to stray from the homeland. Mine came in a most unexpected but quite staggering fashion when I capitulated on a decade long holdout and bought a new razor in England. Looked at in isolation, this might not smack of legitimate acceptance of a new country but I beg to differ. Allow me to explain. My dear friend from my life in the beloved valley of silicon blew into London on what can only be described as a California induced burst of enthusiasm. I am still recovering from her visit nearly a month later. She bounded off the aircraft at dawn with no obvious signs of jet lag, demanded Starbucks and before I could say Staines (not even half as nice as it sounds, this little hamlet also boasts the closest Starbucks to Heathrow!) she had launched into a breathless discourse on a number of change your life products that she presumed I needed to be made aware of immediately. Up until that point I hadn't realized what a cave I had been living in. I had been a Personal Touch (PT) razor product aficionado; an early innovator in this lofty product’s life cycle and one of its first proud owners. This breakthrough, at the time, women's razor, had a strip on it with some softening agent or other designed to set the stubble up and prepare it for the sharp, swift, surge of a fresh razor. It had been my preferred personal hygiene weapon since women first got a razor of their own and no longer did furtive borrowing from fathers, brothers, boyfriends and/or spouses. I loved that amber, mock tortoise shell handle, believed the hype about that strip, bought into the dream that if we had our own razors we would be one step closer to the cutting edge of corporate America. This was one of those "I am woman hear me roar" kind of days, so work with me here. I had traveled far and wide, lived in two countries, visited or traveled through twenty, sent out change of address cards fifteen times and even produced five children but I simply refused to give up that brand of razor. Running low on replacement blades would send me into a mild panic. I endured the taunts of my husband when I once had them Fed Ex'd to me in Paris after a particularly tricky time with three babies aged eighteen months and under...or was that the Desitin emergency? I am fuzzy on the details but suffice it to say every visitor from the US was not welcome back unless they were in possession of at least one PT razor cartridge. Fast forward twelve years and I have been led down the penultimate primrose path by my California coffee cohort and latest fad champion, joyously arm twisted into buying into a new dream, this one marketed as “Venus”. Now, hear this. I have been Venus'd to death ever since John Gray burst onto the scene with his revelations about how the differences between men and women could be attributed to planetary peccadilloes. As if it could be that easy. However, optimist that I am, the whole notion of abandoning a geographically undesirable PT anchor for this relative Venus newcomer, available at chemists locally, was exactly the right thing to do. At the 14 months-out-of-California mark, it was definitely time to shake things up a bit. I LOVE MY NEW VENUS and its triple edge swivel head features which leave me blissfully denuded. I am now quite keen to learn about the other change-my-life products I have somehow managed to miss out on since I strayed from the valley. Stay tuned. I have heard rumblings about facials at 30,000 feet.... About the author: Deborah S. Gale is a Pennsylvania native, loving mother of five daughters aged four to nine including two sets of twins. Married to a classically cynical, witty Brit with whom she enjoyed DINKY status briefly. She hasn’t held a full time bill paying or spa treatment-covering job since the children and spent most of the '90's as an expat. wife and mother in Paris and London. After 23 years of calling Silicon Valley home, she bid adieu to the South Bay in December 2000 when she made a permanent move back to the UK. She writes a regular column for the American in Britain magazine.