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Jinny has been very ill and is currently undergoing rehabilitation in a Bangor facility so she will not be writing her article for awhile. She is making excellent progress and hopes to be able to return to writing her column in the near future... Adele.

My son, Chuck, and I were having a conversation the other day the content of which was essentially about little news items in his life. He started out by mentioning something that occurred in school and then went on to tell me about a new friend he had made. It went something like this:
"I made a new friend today."
"That's great." I said. "What's his name?"
"Nick," He responded.
"Did you meet him through some shared interest or something?" I asked.
"Yep, we both like the same video games and books. We met in the library because we were both looking for the same book, and by the way, I have a girlfriend."
It took me a minute to process the transition from Nick in the library to the girlfriend. I had no idea if he wanted me to notice or was throwing it in casually in the hopes that I wouldn't notice and when I found out about it later he could always claim that he mentioned it and I ignored him. Either way, it wasn't something I could just let go. I decided to ask the obvious question first.
"Uh, Nick isn't your girlfriend, is he?"
Chuck rolled his eyes. "Mom, only you would ask that question."
"Well," I said reasonably, "I just wanted to check. It's not like I would go crazy or anything if he were, but I thought that I should ask"
"My girlfriend is named Miranda."
"That's a nice name." I said. I knew that it was a lame response, but I wanted to appear as neutral as possible about his first foray into romance.
"I met her on the bus." He told me.
"That's nice." I answered. OK, I was getting lamer by the minute, but I didn't want to scare him off from telling me about her.
"What does being her boyfriend actually entail?" I asked
"Not much." He admitted. "We sit next to each other on the bus and hold hands."
I could live with that. It seemed pretty low key.
"Did you ask her to be your girlfriend?" I asked.
"No, she asked me." He admitted.
Boy, times have changed. In my day, no 13 year old girl would have done anything so brash, but there is no denying that modern girls are much more aggressive than my generation. It's scary, actually.
The bottom line is that Chuck has changed. He has changed so much during the past year that he is an entirely different person in some ways. For one thing, he is taller than I am and has a mustache. The mustache has become a source of some considerable pride for him and also a consistent topic of discussion between Chuck and his older brother. Jamie has teased him about the mustache on a fairly regular basis and Chuck has taken it manfully. Finally, Jamie told him that it was time that he do something about the dirt on his upper lip. Evidently, it was time to shave.
Chuck was not thrilled about shaving off the visible evidence of his entry into manhood, but his sister-in-law finally convinced him that girls would not find it attractive, so he agreed to take the plunge. I took him to the store to get a razor, a process that I thought would be fairly quick and simple. I forgot how Chuck operates.
I incorrectly assumed that we could just pick up some disposable razors and call it good. He didn't need anything fancy; he wasn't exactly hirsute or anything. But Chuck had other ideas; he wanted a non-disposable razor and he wanted just the right one. Knowing next to nothing about shaving, he wasn't as interested in the quality of the razor as much as he was interested in how it looked. He picked out some ridiculously expensive thing that looked absurdly complicated, with replacement blades that were so expensive they required taking out a loan. I told him that unless the razor were solid gold and had been used by Abraham Lincoln in the White House, I wasn't buying it.
"But it has titanium blades," he insisted, "that's what they use in F-22 fighter jets and rockets."
"That would be impressive if you were headed for a dogfight over France or going on a trip to Mars," I told him, "but we're only interested in shaving off your fluffy little mustache, so I really don't think that we need titanium blades."
He gave up on the super-sonic razor and finally settled on one that looked suitably space-age. Leave it to Chuck to chose a razor that Luke Skywalker might have stored in the bathroom of the Millennium Falcon.
Once we chose the razor he insisted on picking out just the right shaving cream, informing me that gels were the best kind. I have no idea what brought him to this conclusion, probably some commercial on TV. We also had to get some kind of men's body spray, which had nothing to do with shaving, but is apparently a necessary grooming product in the arsenal of the modern male.
When we got home from the store he immediately went to shave off the mustache. When he came out of the bathroom the offending hair was gone and he was nick and cut free. I'm glad he figured it out for himself since I have no real experience with the process. I imagine he learned how to do it from watching handsome guy on a TV commercial who shaved and then cuddled up to some gorgeous babe who was passionately impressed by his baby-smooth face . At any rate, we got through the girlfriend thing and the shaving thing virtually unscathed. I hope that his further adolescent milestones go as smoothly. Fortunately, even if you can afford titanium razors, shaving isn't rocket science.
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