Saturday, September 8, 2007

Saturday this and that.

This article caught my eye yesterday: Going Gray.

While I was out on leave post-brain surgery and the hair started to grow back, I went about 2 months without coloring the rest of my hair, and grew some impressive gray roots. And I toyed with the idea of keeping it, but decided against it, at this time in my life. So I was interested to read her experiences as a woman who chose to go gray and write about it - she found it was more of an issue in the workplace than in her personal life. That's what I had thought/expected too. I work with a lot of 35 and under people, and while one of the few "older women" lets her gray hair go natural (and looks stunning with it, because it sets off her young, rosy complexion) the rest of us kill the grays. If I lived in a different place or worked in a different business, where I didn't sit in late afternoon meetings under harsh florescent lighting with people who are almost all 10-15 years younger than I am, I think I'd be tempted to let the gray go natural. But now is not the time for me.

I did think it was interesting that after the author went gray she lost 15 pounds and bought better clothes. I think that's a huge factor in "how well one ages." It's possible to be gray and look utterly fabulous and sexy. Look at Jamie Lee Curtis. But she's not schlumping around in ill-fitting mom jeans in public, though she seems like the kind of gal who'd own a pair and wear them to wash the dog.

So, though I don't quite feel the urge to abandon the brown from a box just yet, I think the day is coming - and as it approaches I will prepare for it with working out, weight loss and the aforementioned closet purge.


Cheryl, the jungian Knitter said...

I waited until my hair was mostly grey before stopping coloring it -- that was a span of 25 years. And then I was delighted to see it was silvery and that I live the color. I have been grey now for 5 years.

It is also true that I am in private practice so I don't have to worry about ageism in the workplace, something I am forever grateful for.

I am mindful that even though my mother continued to color her hair well into her 70's, I am a younger 61 than she and her friends were at this age.

Jane said...

Very interesting...your posts always make me think! Because my hair is fading into mousy grey rather than turning silver grey, I'm coloring it at age 52. My stylist has a secret and magical formula that takes all those dull strands and makes them blend into my natural reddish-brown so that it doesn't even look like my hair's been colored.

I'm not afraid of looking my age, but I like the warmth that my hair color brings to my face. I'm not ready to go mouse-brown-grey just yet, though I'm not even all that consistent about getting to the salon.

The time will come, as you say, but right now I'm loving how I feel when I look in the mirror.

Catherine said...

I had thought my gray would be mousy because my natural brown is ashy (the brown from a box looks more "natural" on me than the original brown). But post brain surgery my roots are bright silver, and I actually like it. I think after all of the incoming hair is that bright silver I'll be tempted to do an Emmylou Harris and let it be that color, but right now it's still a mix of the ashy brown and the gray, and that does look dull.

Cheryl, I think it was on my old blog that I wrote about my sudden realization that I am now older than the Aunts were at my grandmother's funeral. I remember these well-upholstered "older" ladies in flowered Aunt Bea dresses and sensible shoes, and I did the math - when I was 12, they were younger than I am now. So while 50 may not be the new 30, we aren't aging the way our parents' generation did. And this is a good thing, I think.

sallyjo said...

I talk about the aging thing frequently with a friend. She was telling me about a (young, female) doctor complaining that women of my friend's age (a few years older than me) never exercised. My friend patiently explained to her that women of her age were told when they were young that exercise was BAD for women, and the doctor was shocked. I can remember when girls' high school basketball went from half court to full court.
So, yeah, the aunts were much older.
And I don't color my hair because both of my brothers were 50% grey when they were 25, and I'm about that now, at twice their age. It's bragging.

Bess said...

Interesting thoughts. I'll read the article about going grey. But I'm not ready to do it myself.

My own grey is coming in fast and furiously and very pretty. In fact, I seriously thought about just going grey this spring and so, let the color fade. Each different lighter color was fascinating - and garnered so many compliments ... "I love your highlights!" "who does your hair?" "Wow! what have you done with your hair?"

Then suddenly - all the brown-in-a-box was gone and that pretty silvery hair became almost transparent. You could See My Skull! UGH!

I asked my hairdresser if I was losing hair. It was never all that thick to start with. But, nope. Same skimpy hair I'd always had - just that it's not silver, it's clear.

So, till I can get an all over silver tatoo on my skull, I'll keep on with the brown. The many shades of ever fading browns, since that's how my hair does its thing, are fine, but I do not want pink scalp showing through the mylar.

Bess said...

Oh. well. Heck. She got more respect because she got a grown up haircut. sheesh!

Ginnie said...

I am mostly gray. Once in a great while, I get bored and color to my natural boring light brown, but it makes so little difference, it really isn't worth the bother. I am a very low maintenance person, and I am the kind of woman that would wait way too long between colors and have horrid roots and all. I am also incredibly not vain. At least not about hair color. So, I just don't mess with it, and I am fine with it.

Catherine said...

Bess, I agree about the more grownup haircut, she looked better not because of the gray but because she'd gotten a more grownup, sophisticated style. I don't think deciding to let your hair go natural is as profound as she makes it sound (but then, she did get a book out of it and they're shilling for it in Newsweek, so what do I know?) I also think that men face the same discrimination in the workplace if they look "mature," so I don't think it's purely a female issue either.

Bess, if I had transparent hair I'd color it forever! I've heard of that, never actually saw it. I only let my roots come in for a while, until the scar healed and I could even it all out with some color before going back to work, so I don't know how my fine hair would look if I really did let it go gray. I'll test it one of these days, but now is not the time.

Catherine said...

Sallyjo, what a great point about the attitude toward women and exercise in that generation! I hadn't thought of that, but you are absolutely right. And it did show - one of the "aunts" who isn't really an aunt but a family friend, is still alive and kicking at 80, she is feisty and vibrant, but she has looked almost the same for the last 40+ years - has worn her hair the same way, similar shape, similar clothes, etc., for as long as I can remember her. It's like that generation settled into a comfortable old age early and stuck with it. I'm not sure that's totally a bad idea, it's probably better, and certainly easier, than chasing youth with plastic surgery and such, but I'll aim for a happy medium, I think.