A straight razor. A cut-throat razor. An open razor. Whatever name it goes by, it's what he uses. Has for centuries.
When he was younger, it was fashionable to use a sonic razor. Simple and efficient, it would keep stubble away for weeks if one used the proper setting. Since discovering Earth, however, he likes their method of shaving much better.
A lovely barber off Fleet Street shaved him once with a straight razor when he was in his first incarnation. He thought the concept was silly, but he tried it anyway to learn about the daily habits of humans. It was only a few minutes in the chair and a splash of aftershave later to make him stay with shaving that way for life.
It's so simple. Foam and water to soften the hair, then an upwards swipe of a sharp blade just above the skin, cutting the hair above the follicle. Sure, it'll grow back in a day or so, but the smoothness left behind when it's done right is wonderful.
The first time he tried it on his own, he cut himself fairly badly underneath the nose. The shock of the error and the smear of red against the white of the foam was almost a relief. It was imperfect, unlike the sonic razor which could never pierce skin. Anything but a 30 degree angle and anything but a microscopically sharp edge and something could go horrifically wrong.
Millions of humans use this method and do it without fault, but a Time Lord with an intellect two hundred times theirs he can still make the same mistake. He likes that, it's humbling. After 900 years, he doesn't cut himself anymore except when he's first shaving a new face. The knowledge that he can, though, the knowledge that an imperfection can be made is the best part.
He's bought twenty-two single-edge razors from the same silversmith in Earth, 1935. He always takes care of each, but no matter how well he protects each razor, shaving and sharpening for several decades will always eventually wear out the blade. The first sixteen had silver handles and square ends like the barber had. His later incarnations have all have had long, thin hands, and a wider ivory handle is much easier to use. He's discovered that with an ivory handle and rounded end, he can even shave the delicate skin around his adam's apple during heavy TARDIS turbulence without much difficulty.
He's just finished sliding the blade across the strop when Rose steps into his bedroom. He has a sink on the opposite end of it, and he's already lathered up his face when she steps inside. She takes a few more steps in the room and he can feel her eyes watching him. He instantly wishes he had his suit on, not just his trousers and a towel over his shoulders. He feels positively naked in front of her. He won't ask her to leave, of course. Mi casa es su casa, he said once. No reason to go back on it just now.
"You're shaving," she says.
"Mmm," he nods. "Daily thing for men. Thought you knew a thing or two about blokes." He smirks at her, and then turns back to his mirror. He's only just gotten a hang of the whole sideburns thing, and he easily slides the blade across his jaw.
"Yeah, but it's not one of those things I expect you to do, you know?" She leans against the wall near the mirror and watches him with curious eyes. It shouldn't be so interesting, he thinks, just watching him shave.
"Well, Time Lords are a lot like humans that way. Same sort of hair." He wipes off the blade and makes another swipe across his jaw.
"Ow!" Well, it's been a good long while since he's done that. A tiny bubble of blood appears on his jaw and he swears under his breath. Rose smirks. 'Everywhere'. That's Rose: knocking him off guard on something he knows how to do quite well.
"Let me." She takes a few steps forward and offers her hand for his razor. He looks at her warily.
"Not exactly an easy trick," the Doctor replies. He hasn't had someone else shave him since that barber back in London. He can't remember a morning where it wasn't just a simple task for him.
"Thirty degree angle, not too much pressure," Rose replies easily. "Part of Mum's classes, she taught me some."
They don't call it a cut-throat razor for nothing, but he imagines that it won't hurt too much…just letting her shave him once. And she sounds confident, at least. He's actually less worried about her cutting him and more---no, no, he's fairly worried about her cutting him. He doesn't want to have little bits of paper all over his face on the next planet they walk out on.
That, and the act of shaving someone else seems…well, it seems like it would be intimate. It's something he does every day, like her brushing her hair or something. He wouldn't ask Rose to brush her hair.
All the same, he hands the blade over, ivory handle first. She takes it in her hand and examines it for a moment. He wonders why she finds it so fascinating, it's just a simple straight razor. Of course, it's a very simple straight razor used by a man from centuries before she was born and millions of light years away. And she finds the strangest things about him fascinating. Well, at least this thing is hygienic.
She presses her thumb against the side of his jaw and he tenses as he feels the blade slide up the sensitive part of his throat. Her strokes are shorter than his usually are, but she's not used to shaving his face and he is. The blade doesn't come back thick with blood, so he feels himself relax a little more as she continues.
"Mum used to practice on Mickey," she says as she works. "You think he's terrified of Slitheen and Cybermen? Got nothing on mum with a razor."
He very nearly smiles at that, but the razor moves near his cheek and he freezes.
"You're too tall. Sit." He does as instructed, dropping down onto his desk chair. She leans over him and continues. She's not bad, actually. It's not going to be nearly as smooth as he likes it, but he does like the feel of her fingertips against his skin, and it's fairly relaxing---when it's not completely terrifying---to have her shave him.
"You've got a little scar," she says as she swipes the razor under his nose. She presses a finger to the scar, just touching his upper lip. "Right there."
He looks up at her and she looks down at him for a long moment. It's just beginning to feel a little awkward. Her finger against his lip while he's half-naked and they're both in his bedroom. Intimate doesn't begin to cover it, and it's…domestic. But not domestic in a bad way. A little of his shaving foam is in her hair and he wants to clear it away, but that would increase the intimacy. Her lips part and it's almost as if, for a moment, she wants him to do something. And, just maybe, he does.
Instead, he freezes. She moves back a little. The moment ends, such as it was, and she moves away and wipes off the razor on the towel.
"Is it?" He looks to the mirror and runs a hand on his cheek. She's missed a little spot by his chin, but he slides his hand over it as if it's not there. No reason to hand her back the blade and fuss over him again.
"Very nice," he says. He wipes off the rest of the shaving foam with the towel and tosses it onto the chair. "You should think about barbering."
"Ha." She tosses him the bottle of Venusian aftershave he has on his counter. "Hurry up, we've just landed. Can't have you primping all day."
"Primping???" He glares at the door, but she's already gone, wandering off to the console room where he's the Doctor and she's Rose. He considers fixing the missed spot on his face, but shakes his head and splashes some aftershave instead.
No use ruining a good shave just because it's imperfect.
After all, that's why he likes doing it the human way.
Muse: The Doctor (Ten)
Fandom: Doctor Who
Word Count: 1,404