The other day my friend Laurel posted on Facebook this: “Okay, what’s the deal with the 20-somethings dyeing their hair silver and gray? Is it ironic? Are they *mocking* us? I need answers. And #getoffmylawn”
No, they’re not mocking us, because mocking us would imply they thought about us for even a half a second, which they do not. I know I didn’t think about people in their 40s AT ALL when I was that age. Well, maybe my mom, but only as she pertained to me and my personal tragic music video of a life.
What they’re doing is even more irritating.
They’re dying their hair 50 shades of gray to call attention to the contrast between their full lips and dewy, youthful, unlined skin, oozing excess collagen, and something that people associate with old ladydom. “I choose to dye my hair gray because it’s so obviously my choice!” is the message. “I’m young and cute and nothing I do to myself, such as going braless or wearing pounds of eyeliner that makes me look like I’ve stayed up all night–or hell, actually staying up all night!–or dying my hair a color that millions of women pay billions to eradicate, can diminish my youthful glow! Tra la la!”
And they do it entirely without malice toward us Formerlies, because we simply don’t register.
Truth be told, I think it looks cool. And I love seeing someone my age or older who can pull off the natural gray look–some people like (Emmylou Harris and John Slattery) have the right coloring for white hair. But in my opinion, it makes most not-young women look, well, less young. Which, you know, isn’t the end of the world, though I’m in no rush. I’m lucky that at 47 I don’t need to color my hair. I have a few grays, but the overall impression is still dark brown, so I’m leaving it be.
But this whole going-gray-on-purpose trend is “not available to me,” as my yoga teacher says about certain poses that are similarly SO NOT HAPPENING. If I dyed my hair gray, I would look 10 or 20 years older, not edgy or radical and certainly not young.
Ah, whatever. I would have felt a little left out 5 or 6 years ago, when I first stepped over onto the other side of young and started this blog. Now, it’s a few hours not spent bent uncomfortably over a sink that I can use to hang out with my daughters or binge-watch House of Cards and work on my smile lines. People ask what happens after “Formerly.” I think this kind of peaceful rolling with it is what happens, or at least it’s what’s happening to me. And I feel even luckier about that.
Photo from Instagram
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