Maxime is once again cutting my long tresses – I always thought at my age I would end up with short hair because it makes older people look younger but, after decades of trying different lengths and styles, I have recently settled for long, while waiting for my hair texture to change because of the big M. Will it finally get curly? I have gone through life with hair so straight that, as a child, from the back I could have been confused with an Asian kid.If daring enough to try different styles I never, ever coloured my hair, always kind of happy with black, now more dark chestnut compliments of the relentless Los Angeles sun.

“What are you doing about your grays?” Max enquires.

“What grays, pray tell?”

He obligingly lifts a couple of strands where I very well know some stubborn and pesky grays are hiding which, from time to time, I pluck out (and no, plucking gray hair will not cause another 7 to grow).

“They need to go” and swiftly introduces me to Heidi the-extremely-pretty-Chinese-colorist.

“We have a virgin here” he points out, while resuming his work with the scissors.

Heidi explains to me about the very benign highlights she suggests for my condition while all I can think about is the out of control hairdressing bill I will be now subjected too. It’s all my mother’s fault. She is the one who introduced me to very good hairdressers after the time my father experimented with my bangs and left me looking like a chipmunk. Even during the worst financial dire straits I always managed to come up with some cash for my hair – I would rather skimp on food than walking around with a bad haircut. It’s so much easier for curly hair women – mistakes can be hidden in the mass of curls while, if my hair is cut unevenly or inexpertly, the screw up is right there for the world to see. It has happened to me twice and once it was so painfully bad I had to resort to a pixie cut. Maybe there is some truth to Samson and his hair story – there is  a sort of strength we draw from our hair, an attitude that changes with the length of it or the way it makes our face looks.

But I am digressing. I was hoping to inherit my mother’s hair genes and not have to worry about scalp chemicals until my late 50’s but Max, apparently, will not indulge my denial. So, while I digest this new reality, I vow to call Heidi next month. This business of growing old is apparently taxing on the wallet too. Do I now have to go back to skimping on food to afford my new benign highlights every two or three months? What about those home products I vaguely remember seeing advertised in magazines and on tv, that ad with Sarah Jessica Parker? Here we go – another huge, personally untapped market is about to swallow me.

While I exit the salon I muse over all the assumptions I used to have about what I would look like or do or be once I reached my late 40’s. Guess what? My hair is long and, at least for the next two hours, I look like a million bucks.


Filed under aging

4 responses to “A PALER SHADE OF GRAY

  1. badmammy

    Girl, I hear ya! I am just now coming out of the M word, finally decided to quit “high lighting” & “low lighting” & let my long flowing hair fantasy go. It’s a wonderful thing but nothing like I thought it would be.

    Coping with the aging body is a trip.

  2. silvia

    It’s sooo you this piece. Nobody else that I know has such a love relationship with her hair.
    Anyway the last time I saw you I didn’t notice any grey in your hair, it’s like mine a couple are there but nobody knows. I don’t think you have to dye it now. Of course Chris and Heidi are there to make you open your wallet, don’t make it too easy for them.
    Wish I were there to see you. Same cut, the one I really fancied?

  3. badmammy

    I certainly do not suggest that anyone skip the trip. It is a blast!

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