I was envying these cute gals’ hair the other day — both were rocking white/silver tresses, one seemingly achieved artificially and the other probably more naturally acquired — when I noticed how ridiculous I can be. I was asking myself, before realizing I don’t actually want to know, how much money I’ve spent on my personal decade-long War on Grays.
Yeah, they started showing up when I was 23, and I’d yank those freeloaders out (despite people’s warnings that two would grow back in the place of that one) as soon as I’d see them. And seeing them is pretty easy when you have hair as dark as mine. The contrast is striking.
So striking it used to feel like they were taunting me with their unwanted obviousness and tinselly glamour.
Yoink. Ow. Inspect with disgust. Discard.
Byeeee. You’re not going to live to mock me another day from my own head.
Then, when their numbers increased, I brought in reinforcements and enlisted the help of professionals to subtly coax the outliers into submission. (“Well, I’m coming in for a trim and ombre, but why don’t you just color everything.”)
What’s weird is (well, maybe all of this is weird) I actually like the look of gray hair. I’d even argue that calling it “gray” makes it feel flatter and less dynamic than it really is.
It’s white and silver.
Put that in jewelry? Gorgeous. Throw it on a Christmas tree? Simple elegance. But show up (for free!) on my head and it’s bad? Why?
Duh, because society prefers youth!
Well, you know what comes with youth, besides elastic skin and speedy metabolism? Immaturity and a lack of lived experience. It’s awesome and it’s terrible — much like the ever-increasing distance from youth can be.
But the accumulation of memories is awesome. And wisdom is awesome. For the most part, it seems like aging can be pretty awesome. (For the record, I welcome the scoffs/eye rolls from those who want to argue that I’m not actually old. Seems like a wonderful use of our comment section.)
It reminds me of the conversation I had with a mentor recently. I wondered how she, as a younger woman in a male-dominated workforce, carved out her place in the professional world.
She talked about working extraordinarily hard and seeking out leadership roles, and then surprised me by saying the one thing that seemed to help her finally get the respect she had probably long earned was letting her hair go gray.
It’s definitely cheaper than that cheesy leadership seminar in Fort Lauderdale.
Well, I’m deciding — and not just because it’s on trend right now, although I don’t hate that it is — not just to “let” my hair go silver and white, but to welcome it.
So, sue me if I don’t want to hide my age (but be prepared to face my shimmering beauty when you see me in court).
Marina Gomberg’s lifestyle columns appear on sltrib.com. She is a communications professional and lives in Salt Lake City with her wife, Elenor Gomberg, and their son, Harvey. You can reach Marina at firstname.lastname@example.org.