Thursday, March 21, 2013

If Anderson Cooper can, why can't I?

I got my first gray hair when I was sixteen. I remember it clearly because I was sitting in French class when one of the more annoying and power-hungry members of my class walked up behind me, plucked out the hair, and announced her discovery to the class. (Thankfully, the teacher did not encourage her to repeat her discovery en francais.) I was mortified. And, if I ever see her again, let it be known that I still carry the receipts from my therapy and I will seek revenge reimbursement.

While I didn't go rapidly grayer at such a young age, grayness has always been winning. (Not to be confused with #winning.) Now at (ahem) nearly 40 my hair has become largely gray.

This probably seems somewhat unusual to many people who don't get to see gray hair so often. Remember, many people my age with a similar "affliction" dye their hair and that is their prerogative. But keep in mind, the average age of grayness is in the 30s. I might have been unlucky with the pace of my grayness, but I'm not a freak! So please stop commenting on it.

I know seeing my gray hair probably makes some people feel old themselves. It's hard not to recognize that you are getting old alongside me. But, get over it. My decision not to dye my hair isn't a political statement, a feminist statement, or any other kind if statement. At the moment, it just is what it is. One day, I may chose to do something different, but, just to let you know, it won't be a statement then either. (Although it might be pink.)

No, I don't want to be unappealing and unattractive and all that stuff. I wish I believed that my gray hair didn't make me those things, but unfortunately, I have been told otherwise too many times. In reality, culturally, we are not there yet.

In fact, when you comment on my gray hair it makes me feel bad! I am a kind soul. I try to approach most things with an element of humor. I might go along with your ribbing because I don't know what else to do. I may even be so unassuming that you assume you can say what you want to me without consequence, but you can't. So stop it. Leave me alone.

No, I'm not being unusually sensitive. In fact, I think you are being unusually insensitive. I would never comment on your physical appearance without the intention of building you up. I don't seek to make myself bigger and better by making you smaller. On the other hand, I don't expect you to build me up, but I do hope you will reach down to your humanity and recognize how inhumane you may be. I am human. I am not an object of observation and amusement.

So I'm saying it once and I'm saying it loud....the next time you feel tempted to comment on my gray hair, be forewarned. I will speak my mind. You better be perfect because it might not be pretty. It might even force me to make a statement, but I know I will at least send you the bill.


  1. Dear Helen

    You are beautiful. I see the love and warmth in your smile and the light in your eyes. The colour of your hair is part of that beautiful person.

    Ruby xxx

  2. Helen, I can't resist a comment. Think on the positive side --
    Once gray, you never get any older
    Gray goes with so many really good colors to wear
    Gray is a symbol of maturity
    and finally
    Don't bother coloring it because it just takes time and looks fake!

    Your gray aunt-in-law who refuses steadfastly to color her hair because she can't be bothered with keeping it colored. Liz