I’ve had my share of rebellious hair. It’s been purple and green and blue and every imaginable shade of red. It’s been dreadlocked and mohawked (not to mention dreadhawked), shaved and pixie-short and ass-long. In the 80’s it absorbed so much Aqua Net I feel a personal responsibility for the hole in the ozone layer. But over the last couple of years it’s returned almost to it’s original color, I learned to love and care for the natural curl, and my hair and I have kind of made peace. It has been decidedly unrebellious hair.
Seriously, I’ve done some hair.
A couple of years ago I noticed that there was finally enough gray creeping in at the temples and some other spots that it was really noticeable. And it was a good, steely color. An ass-kicking silver. I kinda liked it. So I switched my usual hair dye to a semipermanent, figuring that when the time came that would make my life easier (by the way, it made a real difference in how healthy my hair was, too).
A couple of dye jobs back, I quit dying the temples, where the most gray was. And as this next round of dye crept up on me, I started researching ways to lift the old dye off – and I discovered a couple of things.
That’s my temples, folks. I got some Richard Gere action going on.
1) Science can put a man on the moon and prove the existence of the Higgs boson particle, but it has no clue how to ease you into gray hair. That’s OK, though. I have some ideas, and I’ll be chronicling them as I try them. Because I am NOT cutting it all off, and I am not going to watch a bizarre looking line of demarcation march down my hair for the next three years. These are not options.
2) According to the internet, if you let your hair go gray you will be frumpy, fired , and unloved. You will never get another job or another man, and that sucks because you will probably lose the ones you have now.
Yes, it actually says that. On blog after blog after blog. I found advice for professional stylists on helping their clients go gray that was simply “talk them out of it”. Stories from people phased out of their jobs for letting the white show. Tales of horror in the dating world, husbands who cheated with younger women, women who caved and re-covered their silver to be competitive in the job market, words like ‘haggard’, ‘drab’, and ‘tired’. One woman who obsessively collects photos of same-age couples where the man is gray and the woman is not. I started realizing that female politicians across the board dye (yes, Hillary, I’m looking at you.)
Reading all this, I found in myself the exact same reaction I had at sixteen to being told that if I dyed my hair purple it would be ugly and I would never get a summer job and probably would become a heroin addict and a hooker and die early and alone. “So, uh…fuck you guys.”
Suddenly it dawned on me that the absolute most rebellious thing I could do with my hair was to go gray. And rock it. At not-quite-40. I’m just at the beginning, so I would love to hear everyone else’s advice, input, and stories.
Next time around, I’ll give you the rundown on the natural ways to get the old color out while keeping the gray in. (Hint: so far, they don’t work worth a crap.)