For probably the past three years, I’ve had my stylist color my hair. The stray grays started popping up when I was in college. My mother was mainly the one who found them. We would almost always be shopping somewhere, and as I perused clothing racks or makeup or shoes, unsuspecting to her inquisitive stares at my dark brown hair, she would speak with an almost maniacal glee, “Ooh, I see a gray hair!”
I don’t know why she felt like she had to rub it in. To this day, at age 58, (59 in October… that’s right, Ma, you point out my gray hair, but I will announce your age to the Intarwebs! Victory is mine!) she’s barely 50/50 with her gray and it’s all nice and even and looks great. Me? I have these patches — a solid patch at my right temple with uneven graying from the right to the left of my scalp. Have I mentioned that I’m 36?
I think that one day I will have a nice head of white hair if I live up to my grandmothers’ color consistencies. I know that their premature graying doomed me from the beginning. I remember asking my mother how old her mother was when she started going gray. “Oh, Nanny [that’s how we refer to my maternal grandmother] has had gray hair for as long as I can remember.”
Great… thanks Mom.
And I’m really lamenting the gray hair now that my job is ending on Friday, and my regular hair coloring schedule of every 10 weeks is going to take a hit. I had been going to the salon, but I’m going to have to resort to the store brands again — something I loathe to do because I don’t trust myself doing anything more than a wash, blow-dry, and style on my own. Also, in the past, I’ve been a slacker when it comes to being responsible for my own root cover-up. And we’re just talking one color, I’d definitely have to kiss my subtle red highlights good-bye. *sniff*
I bring up this self-pity party because of this woman. I saw an article about her and her book about how she freed herself by letting her gray hair come back. I was curious and wondered how old she was when she made that decision.
Forty-nine. She was 49, and I have more gray hair now than she did then, according to the photos I saw on AOL.
You know, that’s great. I do say bravo to her, but what about me? I’m thirty-freakin’-six. I let my hair go gray, and I’ll look 49!
Cinlach has no sympathy for me. “You wanna trade?” he always asks as he points to the top of his hairless scalp. But that’s not really a fair question because a lot less women have problems with a guy being bald than men over a woman being bald.
And as an aside, I have no problem with bald men. My dad and brother are bald, and both my grandfathers were bald. As a matter of fact, I’d rather a guy have no hair than long hair because I just don’t like long hair on a guy. Sean Connery? Nice lookin’. Jason Statham (of the The Transporter)? Hot. Chris Daughtry? Not just hot, but hawt. My only exceptions to the rule are Brad Pitt (Hello? Legends of the Fall) and Hugh Jackman.
But back to my self-pity party. When I read about Anne Kreamer and her decision to let her gray come through, I felt myself feeling self-conscious about coloring my hair. She made it sound like those of us who continue to color our hair are posers, and as she makes references to herself, talks about how we’re not fooling anyone with our dark stains along the hairline on our scalps after a fresh root cover-up. I felt like I should be embarrassed about coloring my gray, and I could feel myself getting defensive.
I do applaud her choice. She took a stand and discovered new things about herself, and at 49, I probably will be tired of coloring my hair, and I most likely will let my gray hair come through — which by then, there will probably be a head full of it. But for now, I’ll be going to Tar-jay every six weeks and choosing a bottle/tube of some dark brown hue until I can find a steady income to afford to let my stylist work her magic again.
And I defend that choice to no one.