Tuesday, October 9, 2007


I have been meaning to respond to Sue's coiffure conundrum but was waiting for some kind of epiphany (you should never, ever wait for those) to inspire me, but my muse (the Polish Prince, Canonsburg's own Bobby Vinton) has failed me.

I've lost my moja droga jacie kocham.

Until I find it in some kielbasa parading as bratwurst while oompa-ing around at an obligatory, ephemeral Oktoberfest, all I can offer is this:

1) There's a big spread in the October Oprah magazine about women who've made the conscious choice to go gray. I noticed that Oprah is not one of them.

2) The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette just ran a feature about going gray. You're supposed to make sure the gray matches your skin tone so you don't look dead. And even though it's a disadvantage for career women to be gray, it's better to be thin and gray than fat and dyed. Nothing about being fat and gray.

3) My 63-year-old Birkenstock-wearing mother proclaimed to me this week that she is never dyeing her hair again, because she thinks it's bad for you. With a cigarette hanging out of her mouth. At first, I thought she said, "I'm never flying U.S. Air again." When I told her that's what I thought she said, she replied, "Yeah, and that too." I think.


  1. i've been wondering. does anyone know how to go back to grey, short of letting it grow out and looking really strange for about a year?

  2. I've heard that there are places which will help you make the transition, with highlights and temporary colorings to ease the process.

    I don't know from experience, as I was never organized enough to color my hair when it began to go gray at 22, and so now it is almost white at 48. (They got my age wrong in the paper, saying I'm 51 - though I don't mind the promotion, so I haven't stepped in to correct it.)

    I like the color, the texture, and so for me it's more fun. As for the idea that "career women should not" be gray? That reminds me of lots of other well-meaning advice to conform to some imagined average. Why not be your own excellent self?

    Don't get me wrong - I have no objection at all to other people coloring, curling, relaxing, braiding, highlighting, teasing, dreading, or ornamenting themselves. We need more delight, more confidence, more differences and possibilities - not fewer.

    In my more paranoid moments I suspect certain interests just want to find another way to divide women into factions... and hair color is simply the divisor du jour.

  3. pretty much my thoughts.

    but that's the way it's been and maybe it's time to put a stop to the attitudes.

    to me being a feminist has always been about, trying to give women the right and the mindset to be whatever and whoever they need to be at any given point in their lives.

    so, dyed or not, make up user or not, work outside of the home or not, mother or not and on and on, all the labels

    in the end as the old book said. free to be

    you and me.

    i like that phrase.

  4. My objection to hair dye are a little bit about a youth/beauty driven culture that devalues older women. But I'm more concerned about the health impacts of hair dye as well as the cruelty issues of companies that torture rabbits, cat and dogs to sell us beauty supplies we don't need.

    Elizabeth -- the Time magazine article did touch on your concerns in that the "mommy wars" are now moving into "gray hair wars" as Baby Boomers age.