I ordered off of Amazon a Parker SR with Shark blades. It came with bowl, soap and brush. I had used DE's before and have used bowl and brush for years, however I had not used a straight razor before. I have a collection of antique straights, none that I have restored yet to shave ready. With these, shaving is out of the question until I spend the serious money to get them up to spec. That being said, I shaved with the Parker this morning, and It is, without question the closest shave I have had, in recent memory. I did cut myself, knew that going in, so having a styptic pencil close by was a must. Why do I find so much pleasure in performing a task with this blade that today caused so much physical trauma? My wife, she stopped trying to figure me out years ago, just gave me a strange look as I stood there bleeding around my goatee. Is it just a guy thing? Do we like the challenge? What is the attraction? Needless to say that I will continue to utilize this device of destruction as I know I will get better and better at it. That and the fact that I truely enjoyed shaving with it.
I am going back to the old DE shaving method. I purchased a couple of Gillette adjustable DE's off ebay. I got tired of spending a small fortune on cartridge refills. I get to relearn how to shave, and even get to relearn how to treat razor cuts. There are several interesting forums/blogs on shaving out there. Some of those guys get really carried away. You can also find online shops where you can purchase sample packs of different blades. I have enjoyed my couple of shaves but will not become one of those fanatics.
I think the attraction is both psychological and physical. The simple act of shaving with a straight razor makes you feel masculine, since most of us can easily link straight razor shaving with at least one of the great men we've known. As well as, it makes you look manly to those who see you doing so (who else but a man could hold a razor to his throat and not tremble). You also sound like more of a classic, chivalry-isn't-dead, manly-man when people find out you straight razor shave since most other guys (who lack manly qualities) use disposable multiblade razors. I associate a disposable razor to a teenage boy learning to shave since that's what I used when I learned; meanwhile my grandfather hasn't used a disposable since my father was born 50+ years ago.
For me personally, as a college student, I could attract quite a few ladies by being the only guy on campus with enough character to hold a razor to my neck. Sadly, I have yet to buy all my straight razor items since I know without a doubt the first time I shave my neck some guy in our community bathroom will walk up behind me and shake me around as a joke. I'm not willing to risk slicing my jugular until I know it'd be my own stupidity that does it.
The straight razor "craze" truly is a "guy thing" as you say. I've told a couple people about my wanting to start straight razor shaving and I get a mixture of shock and confusion from women, while a respectful understanding from men.