Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Short and Gray

Hair is just a state of mind.  Kidding.  It's about as real as anything we women (and men, too) think about when we look in the mirror (and even when we're not looking) - when to get it cut, when it needs to be colored, what the weather is going to do to it, will it have to be washed after a day at the beach, what a hat is going to do to it, will it be a "bad hair day," will I have "bed head," why her hair always looks better than mine, why it is always curly or frizzy or straight or limp, will something important  come up in between coloring appointments, what hair tools must I pack for travel, etc., etc.  It's a bit obsessive.  Interesting perhaps, but obsessive.  No, not even terribly interesting.  So, feel free to move on to another blog post...just this once.

My hair is curly (always has been, except when I've tried to beat it, in medieval torturous ways, into straight hair submission).  It was, until recently, quite long, and was also, until recently, dark brown.  However, sometimes, changes in one's life should be made in large clumps, like the large clumps of curly brown hair I saw on the floor under my hair salon chair a couple of months ago.  I did this because I felt it wasn't enough to simply have short brown hair; rather, I should have extremely short gray hair.  (Perhaps I should have had something else done with my head instead, like have it examined?)  

Nonetheless, I've decided that gray hair is in.  No?  Well, it's happening on my head in any case, so I decided to stop covering those little shiny silvery roots I started to see shoot out around my temple about two weeks after each coloring and see what was going on under there.  And about two months later, after I couldn't take the skunk stripe any longer, and I ran out of creative ways to pull it aside or back (when all that was left to consider was the Donald Trump option), it was time to cut.

During that growing time, I checked out every gray hair I saw on other people in the subway, on the street and everywhere I went.  I tried to take pics of a few, but it wasn't easy (they move too quickly!).  Trust me when I say that there are some beautiful and fashionable women with various shades of gray hair in all kinds of styles walking around New York City.  

Even in beauty salon windows -
Even on Lady Gaga, depending on the moment (not that she's my inspiration, but I resorted to that when trying to explain this move to my children; it didn't work on them either).  For further encouragement, I even resorted to the internet to see photos and read bios of beautiful, accomplished and well-known women (d'un certain âge) around the world, looking fabulous and confident with their gray hair.

Although it will not end world hunger or solve the geopolitical issues of the day, it was, in fact, a serious decision for me, as I am sure it is for each woman who finally cuts the cord from the dye bottle and her "colorist."  Another source of encouragement came from Anne Kreamer, who wrote an intelligent book on the subject called "Going Gray, What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Matters,"  which was triggered by her decision to do likewise.  I also have to thank Susan, my hair stylist at Devachan (the curly girl salon in New York), who  gave me wise, confident advice on growing out the gray and eventually did the cut and style for my short salt and pepper look.

Like weight loss (or weight gain perhaps), a quite different hair color also seems to  prompt a taste change in clothing and makeup colors and style.  This could get expensive.  What do I do now with all  of my brown and beige?  Thank goodness basic New York black is and has been my staple.

The moral of this story is that there is a happy ending.  I like the ease, I am still getting used to the look (quite frankly, I am almost 55, and this does bring me closer in appearance to that age), and I love the ease (did I mention that?).  With a summer of 90 degrees and 90 percent humidity yet to come (actually, it already began in full force over the Memorial Day weekend), I'm ready.  Bring it on!

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