Going Grey

7 Jul

I noticed my first grey hairs in the 90s, while I was working in Medellin, Colombia. A student named Felipe pointed them out to me and I told him they were all named after him. He thought that was pretty funny and told his mother, who was horrified, but laughed. Felipe was that kind of kid.

The really funny thing is that the conversation with his mother almost certainly took place in Spanish, but I remember it in English.

A few years after leaving Colombia – and more grey had appeared –  I was getting my hair cut and the woman in the chair next to me asked,”Is that your natural color, or are those highlights?”.

I told her it was and she replied,” You are really lucky.”

Since then, I have embraced the grey. That conversation helped me with its acceptance. I have watched family and friends both go grey and fight the grey. My mother spent years in a deep relationship with Lady Grecian Formula, stemming the grey tide, before finally embracing the inevitable. And she wore her grey well. My brother – who, like me, has my mother’s hair – has gone completely grey.

At my last haircut, on March 16th, my stylist cut my hair exceptionally short. I think she was anticipating the closure of salons. I am now at the point where I am thinking about getting my hair cut again. But I am also thinking about how ready I am for my hair to go completely grey.

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8 Responses to “Going Grey”

  1. arjeha July 7, 2020 at 8:01 am #

    Grey hair is a sign of wisdom, so I keep telling myself. I just the wisdom would kick in. I may be wrong, but wasn’t grey hair the in thing a few years ago. I kind of remember young people coloring their hair grey because that was the fashion. How about that. We were in fashion before it became a fashion.

    • beckymusician July 7, 2020 at 8:40 am #

      I remember, probably early 1960s, visiting my extended family in Seattle. I was around 10, but my cousin Gail was around 20. Grey-tipped hair was the new thing then and my cousin had her short dark hair tipped with grey – on purpose! My grandmother was horrified.

  2. Diane Anderson (newtreemom) July 7, 2020 at 8:44 am #

    I fought the grey a long time, now I have white hair inherited from my grandmother, aunts, and mother. I am happy with it. But my last haircut was in February…

  3. beckymusician July 7, 2020 at 8:46 am #

    I would say you are lucky that you never colored your hair! I changed careers in my mid-30s to become an elementary teacher and several people kindly suggested that I should color the beginnings of grey in order not to look old at interviews. I started with highlights – my hair is quite light naturally so that worked really well. Eventually highlights were not enough and I went to all-over color, semi-permanent, and some years later to permanent color (which of course is not really permanent, just longer lasting!). Now that I’m growing it out I have a new sense of freedom! I got back time, money, and got rid of harsh chemicals!

  4. Morna Gersho July 7, 2020 at 12:12 pm #

    I say “Go For It!” And I completely applaud your bold acceptance of who you are, and where you are. I frequently look in the mirror and look at my crepe skin ( inherited from my grandmother) and for a split second vainly wish for better genes. However, the rational side takes over and am just grateful for my health. 🙂 You have a great attitude.

  5. Fran McCrackin July 7, 2020 at 12:21 pm #

    Great opening paragraph!!! I laughed and shared it out loud with a family member.
    I also like to think my gray acts as “highlights”, ha ha. You write with a nice sense of humility- glad to have embraced the gray, but not so sure you can take that to the real limit. I get it, and you can see you struck a chord with many readers 🙂

  6. mbhmaine July 8, 2020 at 4:01 am #

    I love your story intro and it reminded me of an experience I had teaching first grade. We were creating a chart of hair colors in the class. One of my students said, “We need to add grey for yours!” Not wanting to introduce another column, I said, “Oh, I think we can just put mine under brown, don’t you?” The entire class insisted that my suggestion wasn’t viable and we absolutely had to add a grey column. I was convinced my hair was predominantly brown with some grey highlights and I spent much of my lunch that day asking fellow teachers if I was deluding myself about that! lol
    I enjoyed your wit throughout this piece (Your mom’s “deep relationship with Lady Grecian Formula) and your thoughts on greying. Great post!

    • Adrienne July 8, 2020 at 6:11 am #

      Out of the mouths of babes!

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Randy Ribay

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