“I envy your grey hair,” says Tom.
We are walking down the street, Tom, two french ladies, and I, surveying the neighborhood, chatting, our pairings rearrange occasionally. Now Tom is on my embellished side, and, apparently, he’s been checking it out.
I started having my hair colored about a year and a half ago, under the pretense of wanting raspberry highlights. The highlights were great. Having the few grey hairs disappear under the appropriate base color was as well.
Now that I have the hair cropped on one side, the cut begs to be maintained more often that I want to bother with the color, and all the greys on that side get exposed when I go to the salon just for a trim. There are many more of them than I remember from a couple of years ago.
The first time the exposure happened, my heart sunk a bit. I got home from the salon, took another look in the mirror… and loved the grey hair. The short grey specs were in even more contrast with the longer browns, and in harmony with the studs spangling that ear. I felt a bit more vulnerable, because I looked more my age, but then also a bit wiser, for the same reason. More exposed, more real. I was happy to have the greys colored at the next salon visit though.
Now I have just gone for another trim. The greys are out again. Tom envies them. He is older than I. Taller, too, but from down here, I can’t see a single grey hair among his dark red ones. I give him a side glance: “You just give it some time.” “Won’t help,” he sighs, “My dad even doesn’t have many. Not in our genes.”
Now I am thinking… I get it why women would cover their greys. I can’t read everyone’s mind, obviously, but I know I tell myself that I would be perceived unfavorably, if I don’t cover. It’s conceivable that others feel likewise. In addition to that, the biases against women, against older looking people, against older looking women, likely, exist, objectively.
On the other hand, I am usually the first in line to perceive myself unfavorably, everyone else generously invited to join me. Bowing to the biases is insidious for two related reasons. One, to embrace them is to condone them. Two, inviting them to guide me poisons my thoughts and my freedom.
Sure, playing with hair styles and colors is fun, and at this time I can afford it financially, but there are other, more subtle, costs. Do I care for them?
Now, let’s make it clear, by no means I will entirely neglect sunscreen, exercise, and reasonably healthy eating, and yes, part of the motivation is to look young-ish as long as possible.
But as far as hair is concerned, maybe next time at the salon, I’ll opt for cold grey highlights, forgo changing the base color, and let it transform to what it wants to be. Importantly, that would not be entirely against the current fashion, as evidenced by this article from, yes, a fashion blog. Importantly, Tom likes grey hair.