50 Hairs of Gray

My gray hairs.

Lately I’ve been having this sort of love affair with my strands of gray hairs that keep popping up all throughout my hair.

Yeah, I said it. I like my gray hairs. In fact, I’ve been having this inner debate about whether or not to color my hair this fall because, I don’t want to cover them up. The rest of my hairs, I have no problem with changing the color. But I am enjoying my tiny little streaks of gray and I want to keep them. Don’t bother suggesting that I streak gray on top of hair color. I’m way too lazy for that. And cheap. Anyway, I can’t imagine the conversation I’d have with a stylist if I went into a salon and asked them to color my hair and then streak it gray.

Stylist: Sooo, let me get this straight, you want me to color your hair and then add the gray back in?

Me: That’s right.

Stylist: Uhhhhh, well, you know, most women prefer to cover up their gray.

Me: I’m not most women.

Stylist: Well, you know, gray makes you look older.

Me: I’m okay with that.

Stylist: Is this some sort of fucking joke? Am I being pranked?

Me: No, I like my gray hair. It took me many years of waiting to grow this gray hair in and I’ll be damned if I’m going to give it up.

Stylist: Picks up phone, calls local loony bin.

I’ve always liked gray hair. When I was a teenager, we had a neighbor in her early 20s who had a streak of gray along her widow’s peak. I admired it greatly and wished for one of my own.

There’s this notion in our culture that aging is a bad thing, but really, only for women. If you think about it, it’s one of the most misogynistic myths perpetuated throughout our culture. Women of all races, sexual orientations, classes, we all are supposed to hate our aging skin, our aging hair, our aging bodies. Men, on the other hand, are allowed to look distinguished with their graying hairs and paunches. Wrinkles make some men look esteemed. On women, they just look saggy.

I was standing outside of Annika’s school recently, and I mentioned to a couple of moms with gray streaks in their hair that I liked their gray.

They both rolled their eyes slightly and laughed, the telling sign that they hated their grays.

“Oh, but it ages you,” said one of them to me stressing the dirty word.

And it’s not that I want to look older. I would love it if I was one of those women who aged more gracefully. But I’m not. I’ve always looked my age and I’m under no illusion that it’s suddenly going to change as I approach middle age. I’m not going to go running out and start spending tons of money on wrinkle cream and expensive dye jobs that will stave off my age as the years creep along.

But really, it’s not the age factor, I just like the way gray hair looks. You know that cliche, “good things come to those who wait?” Well, to me, gray hair is like the icing on the cake of age. Hey, maybe you’re old and wrinkly, but at least you get to have this fabulous gray hair!

Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe I will do those streaks. I think I’ve earned them.


  1. Tareeshia says:

    October 11, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Right on sista yo! I love my grey hairs too! Guess why?! They’re real! That’s what’s real. When I started losing track of how many grey haris were on my head, I started looking around at other women to see how they kicked their grey hair. Most of them don’t. Most of them fret and make excuses if they even start to show in that line close to the head that appears after what I am guessing is a few weeks this side of their last hair dye session. And then there are the few, very few, who kick the grey hair and I love that look. And I’m right there with you Martha, you know I am too lazy and definitely do not care enough and refuse to pay the money to dye my hair every few weeks. So we can grow old gracefully, together. Deal?

  2. Crystal says:

    October 18, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Hey ladies, can I join the grey hair club? I’ve noticed I’m getting a lot of them lately too, and there is no way I’m dying them. My mom and my 3 aunts are all grey, and one has long hair, almost down to her butt. That’s what I plan to do, have long grey hair.

    There are times I’d like to dye my hair, do a red or something like I used to, but I also don’t want to cover my grey’s so I don’t bother.

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