This article was originally published on Better After 50.
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes may be how you measure a year, but it feels like that's how much time I spend every year just on my hair. Worrying about it, fixing it, covering the gray, highlighting it, talking about it, cutting it, blow drying it, shampooing it, spritzing it, deep conditioning it, curling it, straightening it, putting it up in a pony, picking it out of the drain.
At 50-something, my hair still seems to be the bane of my existence, and I know I am not alone. Hair seems is big topic of conversation amongst women of all races, ethnicity, and age. But at midlife, there is a big part of me that wants to look in the mirror and say to my hair, "enough about you already!"
So what would you say if you could have a talk with your hair? Would you thank it? Would you tell it to calm down? Would you confess your obsession?
I had a few of my own ideas, but when I asked my friends, "If you could talk to your hair, what would you say?" they had plenty more. I hope you find these enlightening:
1. "What do you mean, 'if"-- of course I talk to my hair!"
2. "Lie still, would ya?"
3. "Why are you so good to me when we are home alone, yet so difficult when we go somewhere special?"
4. "You... in the back, sit down!"
5. "I'll try to find you hard water -- I know you don't do well in soft."
6. "I'm in charge, so get in place."
7. "I would say, 'Thank you for being this glowing, attractive crown on my head and helping turn other heads to look at me.' Then my hair would reply, 'thank you for learning to take care of me, eating well and not over blow drying or processing me, and by the way, I love the hair conditioning packs in the steam room twice a week for the last 35 years. You spoiled me, so I thought I should spoil you'."
8. "Do you think you could grab onto that color a little longer?"
9. "Why is it so easy for you to thin out, and the rest of me can't?"
10. "My hair and I don't like each other. It wouldn't be a pleasant conversation. We would probably both blame each other."
11. "Behave for once...please!"
12. "Please hang around!"
13. "Chill out and calm down."
14. "You totally rule me."
14. "You seem to get bigger as I get older. What's with that?"
15. "Undependable, good-for-nothing, ne'er-do-well, you!"
16. "FU. Really, FU."
17. "Stop falling out everywhere, you are littering my house up with your hairy selves."
18. "'I wish I could let you go gray.' Every time I go to the hairdresser to get you dyed and cut and blow dried, I think 'this is so boring, I'm never doing this again. Yet I do... and it's not like child birth -- I haven't forgotten the pain, I just can't surrender to aging."
19. "When did you get so kinky?"
20. "To my gray hairs which are much more brittle than my brown ones, I would say 'slow down', and to my natural curls I would say, 'loosen up.'
21. "Where the hell did you go?"
22. "I hope you are thankful that I found out I had a thyroid condition and got the proper treatment AND I went into menopause and got on the proper bio-identical HRT. That is why you are still here- thick and healthy!!"
23. "Why do you get frizzier as I get older?"
24. "Hair, what's with you? You used to be rich auburn brown but now you are salt and pepper drab. You used to be thick and actually cover my scalp. What's the deal?"
25. "I wrestle with you every day, I show you attention, I use lotions, potions and calming words to keep us in the same zip code, I take you to a professional every three weeks. I admit it... you are the boss of me."
26. "Hair, I want you to know that I don't really care for the silver wings at the temples look and I cannot afford to see Keith every time you do this. So...let's just stay blonde and stop reflecting my age and anxiety. Thanks. "
27. "Why don't you love me like you used to."
28. "I am very happy you are still here."
29. "I am so sorry. I should have never started with that straightening iron. I just couldn't help myself."
30. "I promise... I will wash you soon -- it's just that it was such an awesome blow dry and it's so hard to say goodbye."
31. "Men have it so easy. That's all I have to say."
32. "If you promise to be good, I will not go swimming tomorrow."
33. "What color are you really? I forget."
34. "You can thank my mom for the lousy hair genes."
34. "Looks like rain. Want to go curly?"
35. "Aren't you glad we are not part of Ringling Brother's circus hair dangling act?"
36. "Really? You expect me to take you out looking like THAT today?"
37. "Brittle is the new black."
38. "You actually look better in humidity. Let's move to New Orleans."
39. "Please don't leave me."
40. "Why is it always about YOU?"
41. "I don't just love you for your body."
42. "It's a bad YOU day."
43. "Please come back. All is forgiven."
What would you say to your hair if you had the chance?
A huge big thank you to all the BA50 writers, friends and my wonderful class members from the Brown University class of '80 who submitted their ideas for this post.
Read more from Better After 50:
6 Things You Need To Know To Go Gray Gracefully
Win One of These Great Books! Summer Book Suggestions From BA50
Updating My Hairstyle
Hey, Sister- Was That Your AARP Card You Just Trashed?