Before this year I didn't have any gray in my hair at all. I'm 43, so I knew it wouldn't last forever.
I mean, I sort of knew it wouldn't last forever.
As a kid I had a horror of going gray. Someone reliable (maybe my mother) had told me that when redheads went gray their hair turned an unattractive pink color, and that dye for redheads was hopelessly unsatisfactory. I remember being relieved that I wouldn't have to worry about it for a long time. At the same time I dreaded the future in which my hair would be irremediably ugly.
I had persuaded myself that I wouldn't go gray for a while, because my dad's hair was hardly gray at all even in his mid-sixties. More recently, I read somewhere reliable (it was on the internet, so it must be true) that red hair turns an intermediate color before the gray begins its inexorable takeover. My hair is pretty much the same color it's always been, so I thought I had some time.
All this to say: I've been a little bummed to discover some gray in recent weeks.
It's not like me to be bummed about getting older. For years I've tried to quash tendencies toward vanity. I've always been a little scornful about our culture's veneration of youth. I am candid about my age and I don't mind the lines around my eyes. (Mostly.) Maybe it's because being a redhead has always been part of my identity. Maybe it's because I've never done anything chemical to my hair, aside from turning it gray or blue for high school plays.
Last summer I was talking to my 8-year-old about getting older. I can't remember how it came up, but I said, in what I thought was a calm and pleasant way, "In a few years my hair will fade and then it will turn gray. That's how it goes when ladies get older." Petely, who is usually a go-with-the-flow kind of guy, was emphatic. "No," he said, "you can't let that happen. How will I find you in a crowd if you don't have red hair? You're my mom and you have red hair. You're going to have to dye it."
Part of me thinks I should go read Ecclesiastes for a reality check. At the same time I am checking out the Just For Redheads henna selection.
Are you going gray? How old are you? Do you camouflage it or just roll with it?