11/13/2009

Vanity, Part 3

The part that has surprised me the most about this vanity project is the response I get from other women. I say something like, "I'm allergic to my hair color and I think I'm going to have to quit." People say,
"Oh no!"
"Surely you can find a different kind of dye."
"You can go somewhere else, can't you?"
"You don't want to do that. You will lose all the volume in your hair."
"You'll have to get a good cut or it will look terrible."
"How bad is the allergy?"
"What color is your hair, anyway?"

And many women grab their own hair as if to say, "Not mine!"

Note I didn't say, "I'm exploring the terrible chemicals in hair dye and think no one should use them." Nor did I say, "I'm feeling it is time for me to buck society's idea of what hair should look like and go natural." Nor did I say, "Anyone who colors their hair is an idiot." (That would be calling the kettle black, or blonde, as it were.)

But still, lots of women get anxious when I say it. Kind of like when you say, "I'm gonna stop eating meat" or something like that. Makes people nervous.

Of course some people have been wonderful and supportive. I've noticed a small group in church slowly moving from blonde to natural shades with gray. I've noticed lots of women look great and have hair that is not chemically altered. I've noticed I don't really notice other women's hair color that much.

And my husband is superb. He tells me I'm lovely every day. I'm not sure when I'll believe him, but it is good to hear.

Anyway I think we are kind of wound up about hair color, we females. A lot of it is the gray issue, which isn't my concern. In fact, for years I've looked forward to being an older woman. I've always imagined I would stop fussing with my hair, I'd throw away the makeup, and be terribly confident and graceful anyway because by then I'd be wise and patient and loving and would be ready to be done with all that.

I'm not gray yet, I think, but I want to get started on this wise and loving part, whatever I look like. And as for everyone else -- do what you want with your hair. If I make any progress on wise and loving I'm not gonna be pointing at your head.

2 comments:

Amy Woodward said...

I think what you're doing is wonderful! The reality of the chemicals is quite scary- for now I prefer ostrich mode and continue to use the scary stuff. I've had my own hair color for a number of years now and I have to say it is very liberating- I am no longer at the mercy of my undyed roots!

Anonymous said...

I laughed out loud at your comment about looking forward to being an older woman--wise, kind, etc. It sounded as if you were tying the "freedom" of being an older woman to knowing when that time comes (when your hair turns gray?) Just exactly when does it come? :) Well, it has come for me--big time--but I'm 74.
And I kid myself that I'm not old much of the time, but I'm surrendering a little bit at a time to who I really am. WHERE IS THAT LINE?!
Catharine