When we walked into the party– one of the first real summertime kickoffs– a neighborhood extravaganza, complete with meat cooked underground, a fire pit, kids running wild, climbing on trucks and dirt piles, some clutching bags of contraband chips (I even saw two brothers splitting a can of soda)— when we walked in, worried we were “late” (as if such a thing applies, as if this kind of miraculous chaotic friendstival has a tight format) — when we did, one of the first people I saw was my three-doors-down-neighbor. About my age, sometimes a fan of the band, an architect. I don’t know her well. I have been a bit in awe of her because a) she is beautiful, an b) she is a damn architect! (An architect, Jerry!)
And when I saw her I noticed, or maybe realized, that her hair is mostly gray. It wasn’t, when I first met her, and now it is.
She may have dyed it and stopped? She may have gone gray over the time I’ve known her. Like I said, I don’t really know her all that well.
I noticed, though… and noticed my noticing.
These days my hair is… 50% gray? I don’t know. When I pull it up, the sides, underneath, are basically all white. It’s kinda shocking when I see it in pictures at times
but honestly on a day-to-day basis I don’t really debate much about it any more. I don’t want to dump gross chemicals on my head (I’ll ingest ’em the way god intended, thanks– fried, with ranch dressing.)
So I stared a bit. Checked her out. Almost, ALmost, walked over and told her I thought her hair was beautiful—- because, no joke, she looked great.
But I didn’t– I felt shy about calling attention to it. I wouldn’t have gone out of my way — like, walked across the outdoor party with the sole intention of—-to compliment an acquaintance on a haircut, or a fresh coloration, or a body change like weight loss or boob job, you know? If we were in the midst of chatting, I might say something– probably would, in fact, but it felt like making a big deal about it was about ME…. like I was trying to connect in some “sisterhood of the young silverhairs” — and it felt off, to me.
The last time I got my hair cut…
it was a lovely experience, for the most part. When it comes to haircuts ,I hop around. I have no salon loyalty. I WANT to, but I just don’t have “A” person to go to. Anyway, it was very nice, until, as she was blow-drying it (with a diffuser which is why it looks like that in the picture above and never will again) the tentative subject of “color” came up. In her defense, I bet if I had been more adamant, she wouldn’t have said it at all. But I was feeling lulled by lavender and chit-chat and so I said, “I don’t know. Sometimes I think about it.” And she pounced. “You SHOULD. How old are you?”
“You don’t even have any wrinkles. You totally should.”
Dangit, no. You telling me I “should” makes me feel MORE like “NO”.
Now, if you had said, “Oh, you know what would be so pretty…” Or “your hair would look so great if we….”
But no. It isn’t that I “should’ color my hair because of what will be, it’s because of what I must hate, fear, and avoid.
Because I look “too young” for the hair that I, guess what? –actually HAVE!!!
Because I’m somehow selling myself short, aging myself–which, obviously, THAT’s horrible?
Because I owe it to someone or something— most insidiously, because I owe it to myself. (?) That makes me all cranky and crabby and rebellious.
This is me:
I may still have my moments of freaking out about it, but if gray hair is the first thing someone notices in that picture, that sure as hell is not MY problem.