By Kelly Hines
I started going gray in my early twenties. It was a novel thing then; it made me feel sophisticated and wise. And it was fun for me to roll my eyes and complain to my friends.
“Oh my gah, you guys! I’m so old!”, I’d say, as I pulled tiny pants over a tummy unmarked by carbs and children, up to a waistline that did not yet meet my boobs. (It was an alarming experience to look in the mirror one day recently and wonder what the funny lump on my stomach was, only to touch it and discover it was my nipple.)
The novelty faded as I hit my thirties and the gray took over. I colored and highlighted, cut and covered. The cute little streak at my part grew into a Cruella Deville swath of hair that mocked my attempts at styling it. I blew it dry, it went the other way. I straightened it, it kinked up.
I cut my hair short.
I hit forty and decided that the gray wasn’t really gray, it was white. White sounds better, white sounds dignified. I convinced myself that white, unlike gray, blends beautifully into blonde.
“I’m just going to grow it out,” I said to my husband. He, being a smart man, said nothing. I lasted a month before I caught my reflection in the rear view mirror and discovered that gray, even when you call it white, does not blend.
“OMG, Mom! Your eyebrow are turning white!” My daughter is watching me pluck a hair out of my chin. A hair that is hard to find because it too has gone gray, but easy because it sticks straight out like the bristle of a broom. I’m aware that my brown brows are going white – I pencil them in daily, and have been checking out the Just For Men products at the drug store. My facial hair has started the slow march into gray. I’m turning into Wilford Brimley.
Standing in the shower a few days ago, I felt a small bump in a delicate area. I was certain it was an ingrown hair or something equally innocuous, but when you feel something funky down at the lady station, you check it out. I won’t go into detail about the position I had to get into, but suffice it to say that when the mirror swiveled into position, I screamed.
“Well, what did you expect?”, my mother asked.
“I don’t know, it just seems…insulting, somehow!”, I replied.
“You could always have your hairdresser mix a batch to match…”
“NO! Just stop, that is insane.”
“Oh honey,” she sighed, “I wouldn’t freak out. It all falls out anyway.”
“Oh, that’s a relief. Wait…WHAT?”