When I think of Fifty Shades of Grey, I'm not thinking of the mouth wateringly naughty best seller; the one I just couldn't put down. I'm referring to the ever burgeoning growth of silver on the top of my head.
I blame it on my father. You see, I inherited many good things from him; his wit, his warmth, his fondness for fresh baked goods, and the one thing I didn't want, his prematurely grey hair. My mom, bless her heart, didn't get her first grey hair until she was 50.
My first rogue hair reared it's steely head when I was just 23. They visited now and then in my thirties, and then came back with a vengeance in my forties. I have a silvery stripe that grows smack in the middle of my head, like a skunk. It could be growing down the back too, but I don't look there. Why upset myself.
It used to be that I could go six weeks in between salon appointments. Over time, it dropped to five, then four, and now three weeks. I can actually see the silver line creeping up between the dark hair at week two, but I draw the line right there. Dyeing my hair every two weeks would put me over the edge, and I'm teetering on the edge as it is. I don't need encouragement.
Fortunately for me I'm tall, and when I wear heels no one other than my 6'4 husband and son can see my silvery crown. Sometimes I forget it's a symbol of old age, because in the right light it actually appears to sparkle, like tinsel. When I'm feeling good about myself, I call it my bling.
The question is: At what point will I say to hell with this and stop coloring my hair? I casually brought up the subject that I might not color my hair anymore at the family dinner table one night. It was if I said I was running off with a band of gypsies and never coming back. They were devastated. "Are you SERIOUS?!" asked one child. "Don't EVER do that," said the other. My husband just looked at me dumbfounded, because from him, there was no right answer.
Would I look like a silver fox or look like my sweet old grandma (may she rest in peace)? We may never know. I don't want to look young, I just don't want to look old. My kids don't want to see me look old, either. Is that too much to ask? I may be nearing half a century, but inside I'm still 25.
As they saying goes, "You're only as old as you feel," and I would feel very old if I let myself go grey. I can't speak for others, but for me, it would feel like I was giving up. A man turns grey and he looks more distinguished. A woman turns grey and her shelf life is up. It's just not fair.
Am I ready to see myself that way? Willing to give up my vanity? I say nae. I'm not giving up my Lady Clairol any time soon. Not while everything from my eyes to my derrière are starting to go. Not while I'm becoming painfully aware that the last remnants of my youthful glow (thanks to years of exfoliating) are holding on by a thread. Vanity might be all I have left.
Perhaps, I should change my perspective. After all, I'm lucky I still have hair. Maybe it's time I buy Fifty Shades of Grey's Book 2 & 3. I'm going to need something entertaining to read since I'll be spending so much time in that salon chair.
Writer, animal rights advocate, and co-founder of The Deja Foundation (b. 1951) "A wise friend told me that your fifties can be the time you discover what freedom means for you. And she was right."
Business development director (b. 1972) "The first one I got, I cried actually. I saw it and I pulled it out and I absolutely cried. I couldn't believe I had a gray hair at 15."
Artist (b. 1961) "Silver...It's the new blonde."
Photographer and professor (b. 1944) "I think of myself as being a much younger person than I think I appear. So that idea that I'm a wise elder has not gotten into my psyche yet."
Television news journalist and founder and executive director of the cancer agency Latinas Contra Cancer (b.1947) "In reality, the white hair seemed a minor thing to me. It was just another passage. It has given me a new opportunity, a new spotlight on the stage, because so many people now recognize me right away, and as I once said driving down the freeway, 'I don't blend in anymore...with all those brunettes.'"
Actress, writer, producer, and former Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts (b. 1939) "...I find now, for me, the way that doors are opening is by taking care of others in my life, meeting new people, finding out that they are thinking, what they are doing...but it is a bit harder because they don't present themselves to you in the same way. You have to find them and recognize that they are doors."
Visual artist and educator (b. 1945) "...more importantly, life is a distillation of feelings and experiences that are common to everyone -- hopes and desires, blending the blurred boundaries between the hidden and revealed. What is important is that I feel good about who I am and to make creative contributions to the world that will live longer than I."
Painter and teaching artist (b. 1952) "I started coloring my hair when I was about 40. I used semi-permanent color because of my illness and I knew I was very sensitive to chemicals. I realized that dyeing my hair gave me headaches and then finally I just decided to let the color go."
Renaissance woman (b. 1942) "I had just come out of the hairdresser's after having my hair cut, not colored. It was fully white then. A woman came up to me and asked where I got it colored because she liked it so much."
Healer, writer and artist (b. 1950) "I never dyed my gray hair. I never associated it with age. I always associated it with the art of being."
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