To gray or not to gray or perhaps to purple?

Does sexual assault mean I am not invisible? Or does it just mean this was one messed-up kid?

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I have been reading Anne Kreamer’s funny and relatable and timely book, Going Gray: What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Really Matters.

She is making me think and making me wonder if I should even be coloring my hair anymore. It’s not like anything looks at me and thinks, “Huh. Because of those blonde highlights, there is no way this woman can be any older than 25.”

I am older than 25. I am 55. And I’m not even that vain – I was never noticed for my looks when I was younger and never thought I would have any kind of vanity about them as I aged, but – guess what? There is a lot of attractiveness to be found in nothing more than youth and you take that for granted, even when you have never been the Pretty Girl or the Beautiful Woman. You take your nice clear skin and your glossy, lush hair and your teeth and gums and the ability to exercise without being stiff and sore later for granted. You don’t think it will ever end. It never even occurs to you.

Yet end it does.

And that’s when you notice the droopy eyelids and the dry skin from too much sun (wear sunscreen! EVERY DAY!) and the wrinkles. You know it’s better than the alternative, but then you notice the dull, drab hair and think, “That. That I can fix.”

And so you do.

It’s not even like I am trying to attract attention. I adore Mr T, aka Mr Texan in Exile (I have decided to change from “Marido”), but once he’s dead, I am done. I don’t want to get married again. I’m not even sure if I would want to date. What almost 11 years of marriage and living in the same house has taught me is that I was very, very used to living by myself and doing things my own way before I got married. And I got used to not having to argue about the Proper Function of A Dish Cloth, which, for the record, is not to remain perfectly clean while paper towels are used for cleaning spills on the counter. (Floor spills are cleaned with rags. I am not a savage.)

Anyhow. I am re-thinking coloring my hair and then this item popped up in my facebook feed:

Me: Remember how I had that hip problem last week? I could hardly walk and had to wear flats?

Boss: Yes.

Me: It’s gone! I thought it would take weeks to heal, but – it just disappeared! It’s a miracle!

Boss: That kid laid his hand on your butt and healed you.

Wait! you ask. “What is this ‘kid laid his hand on your butt…’ part?”

Yes. That.

I was minding my own business walking home from the state fair. It’s only three miles up a main-ish road with a decent amount of traffic through safe neighborhoods. I was at an intersection of the main-ish road with a major road and saw a kid waiting to cross the street with me. I made eye contact and smiled because it’s kind of rude to ignore someone else sharing a situation with you. Then I continued to walk.

When I finally thought I was out of sight of other walkers and there were no cars around me, I reached behind me to tug my underwear back into their proper position, as one does.

I felt a hand on my butt.

A hand that was not mine.

And a voice that asked, “Would you like some help with that?”

“Stop that!” I said. “Stop that right now!”

I shooed him away.

He did not move.

“Go away,” I said.

He did not move.

“Go AWAY! Oh for pete’s sake I am old enough to be your grandmother.”

Which, technically, I am. I am old enough to be his grandmother.

But I really missed the point on that because – grabbing someone’s butt isn’t necessarily about sex. It’s not like my butt is soooo compelling that young men overlook the other signs of age and think, “I don’t care that she’s in her mid 50s! I must have me some of that!”

Anyhow, I had to call the police and knock on the door of the stranger to wait in their house while the police came and the whole thing made me very very cranky because this is not the order of the universe and although I am glad not to be invisible, this is not exactly what I had in mind when I started coloring my hair and maybe – maybe – it’s time just to be who I am, which is a mid-50s woman who is probably going gray.

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8 thoughts on “To gray or not to gray or perhaps to purple?

  1. Question: do you even know how much gray hair you have?

    I also colored my hair starting in my early 50’s – a very nice auburn since i come from red-ish haired ladies. After a few years my husband admitted that he didn’t like the red-ish because it reminded him of my stepmom who was clown orange and not at all the look i wanted. Anyway, i quitcold turkey. To my huge surprise i had no more gray than when i first started coloring. Now, years later am still waiting for the gray to come. Mixed blessing. Because of my age everyone assumes i color, even tho i don’t, and i keep wanting that lovely gray/white with purple highlites! We just can’t win!

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  2. I’m a couple of years older and I’ve decided to go gray. My hair is almost black and every white strand shows, but if I color it, I have a skunk stripe in a week. It’s not too bad!

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  3. I had my first greys in my late 20s. I promptly started colouring my naturally very dark brown hair, but then my job ended and I needed to go on a very strict budget. I realized that I never wanted to be dependant on consistent colouring since at any time I might need to stop and the stress of growing out the colour was something I didn’t need on top of whatever caused me stop (ie money or health). That’s the same reason I don’t wear daily makeup (only for weddings): I don’t want to HAVE TO put on makeup just to leave the house. A couple of years ago I had been wearing concealer under my eyes then I ran out of it and went without, and that day two people asked me if I had a black eye. And one was my husband! Haven’t worn it since apart from a wedding. Bare faced and half grey, that’s me. I do try to wear nice clothes so that I look like I’m making an effort.

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    1. I know! I wonder at those articles saying you can reduce your makeup routine to under ten minutes. Umm. Mine is, on days I work at the office instead of at home, putting on mascara at the long stop and go light at Bluemound. And maybe a bit of pinkish eyeshadow so I don’t look so tired. 🙂

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