can't remember how crudely insensitive i've been on this subject here before, but i saw something a minute ago i simply just don't have the good sense not to share. maybe it's not fair, because i'm going on 6'2", and most of the unwitting (it would appear) subjects for this little incivility are going on not quite so much as that, but, you see, there's often no way for me to escape having a good look at the part in their hair on the top of their heads, and, well, good god, women, (and you know who you are), wtf are you thinking???
i get that it's a double standard, and us "gray on a man is distinguished" types are getting away with a profound inequity just by being able to walk around with our natural hair color standing out naturally on our over-privileged heads, while still being thought attractive, or at least non-offensive, in the process. and, yes, being free in america means all rights guaranteed and respected for you to pour whatever self-respect you can out of a bottle and look any way that you choose. but, honestly women, (and you know who you are), isn't there some parallel to a bad comb-over that you'd understand?
aging is an inexorable washing-out and washing-up process. i look at the pictures of mohamed al-fayed as he spurs the impolite investigation into diana's mortal reproductive situation, and i can't help think to myself that you can hardly discern from his photographs the difference between his coloration and that of the sclerotic british aristocracy he rails against. older, regardless of how proudly colorful you feel yourself to have started, means paler, whiter and, lets face it, more washed out every day. and if it were just the hair on the top of your head, that would be one thing, but it's your skin, (save the liver spots), your eyebrows, and even your irises that will fade and fail you, and there's just nothing easy to be done about all that. so when you pour the miss clairol, or the l'oreal if you're worth it, onto your head, and you later, rinse and repeat as necessary to recapture that subtle shade of youth, you need to know that you're simply highlighting the contrast to the rest of yourself, not least being the stubbornly vigorous explosion of gray, persistently and constantly erupting from the roots at the part in your hair every minute of every moment, waking or otherwise.
two suggestions, if i may, and then a poor man's plea:
first, you may have been red or auburn or exactly selma hayek's personal shade of brunette, but you aren't anymore, and you haven't been for some time. (or you wouldn't be reaching for that bottle, now would you). so when you're first making your color choice, for heaven's sake, and for those taller who will be not yet so faded of eyesight to notice, why don't you pick something closer to the new stuff growing out, than the old stuff that long ago littered the hairdresser's floor? after all, you're not working to compliment the colors in that high school graduation photo, nor those of the inimitable tresses of your spitting-image progeny, but, rather, those that are still riding that ride of the six hundred across your aging visage, and they're not looking so good held up to the harsh light of scrutiny and the latest hue from revlon.
second, as quickly over time as the original has dulled, even embedded as it is within your very dna, the new stuff soaked on from the outside just doesn't hold up the way they like to promise on the box, or you'd like to think. if that wasn't scary enough, there are also those roots we've been talking about, festering and erupting like a angry boil from your very scalp, and screaming their presence from the careful folding apart of their camouflaging upper bits wherever you draw your separating comb. and i hate to break it to you, ladies, (and you know who you are), but as un-vital as you may feel yourselves to be while climbing stairs or lugging groceries or doing whatever it was you used to do so easily, not quite so easily anymore, your hair suffers none of that timidity to do whatever it's always done. grow. inexorably. so get the home touch-up kit, or something. something. not next month or even, possibly, next week. now. it's right there in the mirror, if you don't believe me, and don't forget to lean your head forward and spread the part a little if you're unsure.
but, as i suggested, what i'd really like to leave you with is one man's plea, explained with a little preamble:
you know what makes you look old? it's not the gray. honest. there's a woman whose progeny is contemporary to my own, who let hers go gray unabashedly and without so much as a baseball cap to hide it. and she's fit, and her eyes sparkle with a vibrancy that's as youthful as it makes a man feel to see it. want to know what the women say? (you know you women talk about things far more and far more interestingly than us guys do). "oh, she's so young, she can get away with it". whuh??? her kids are in school with your kids. she didn't get them there by picking them up on her way home from jr. high. she's considered young because she LOOKS young. even with a head covered with that scourge of gray hair. actually, in many ways, *because* her head is covered with that beautifully honest gray hair. i always run a "parents vs. the kids" soccer game/practice at the end of the spring season, and the last time i did that, there wasn't a father in the group who could keep up with her keeping up with me. she was amazing. determined i wasn't going to make sport of all the parents the way it's always funniest when i do, and giving not one inch nor accepting any millimeter of quarter. it occurred to me as the sweat imbued her t-shirt with the incandescent glow of youth, that there wasn't a woman i'd seen in years as beautiful.
if you don't like the way you look, take a long look. don't distract yourself with the superficialities of color, but really look. are your hips the hips of the woman you'd like to imagine yourself to be? is your stamina the stamina of the woman you'd like others to see when they look at you? the solution doesn't come out of a bottle, it comes out of your will to be. young. unbowed. fit. proud. beautiful.
color me imagining myself waiting for someone like that.