Posted by: Robin | June 16, 2008

To Dye or Not to Dye

Getting older has many challenges. A couple weeks ago my husband and I were walking along 9th St. in Philly in the midday sun, and he turned and said, “If you are ever going to start dying your hair, now is the time.” You have to understand how out of character such a statement was for him. At my disbelieving expression he added, “If you start now no one will be able to tell. If you wait much longer it will be more noticeable that you’ve done it.”

Logical enough and no reason to take offense. After a glance in the mirror upon arriving home and not seeing that the gray was very noticeable, he commented it wasn’t that noticeable out of direct sunlight, but the seed had been planted. I began to think up one side of the idea and down the other. I liked that I hadn’t had to dye my hair yet. I like my color, and I like to keep things simple, but more than anything dying my hair seemed a statement to me. Was I going to be the natural Earth Mother who disdains pretence and dislikes fuss, a la Jamie Lee Curtis. “I’m getting older, and I don’t care who knows!” I wanted to be, but I hadn’t been able to pull it off in my youth. I doubted it would suit me any better now.

Or was I going to join the Oprah school of thought? “You look good; you feel good. The right color can take years off your appearance.” It’s an act of self-actualization. That doesn’t appeal either.

I could always procrastinate and make the lazy choice. It would be cheaper. After all once I start I’ll have to keep it up, or a couple years down the line go through an ugly transition phase worse than growing out a layered haircut or a perm. Yet if I don’t, I’ll go through another transition where my hair is not one color or another. I know myself. The salt and pepper phase will drive me crazy. Is it vanity if one simply doesn’t like how something looks or is it a matter of aesthetics? I know I don’t want to do it for vanity’s sake (or am I deluding myself with semantics?).

When my grandmother and my mother let their hair grow out after years of coloring their hair, my first thought was, “They’re so old!” Since I lived far away, when I came back for my annual visit, they were suddenly white and gray-haired respectively.  I don’t like that prospect either. Maybe the slow gradual progression is the better way to go. There’s no shock to the system involved.

These were my musings, and I could have gone on like that for an embarrassingly long time. Thank goodness for Father’s Day! While going to the card aisle I passed the hair dye aisle and spotted auburn-brown L’Oreal dye. My husband and I have a running joke about his preference for redheads. It would be the perfect tongue-in-cheek gift. It’s very close to my hair color so when it grows out it won’t be that noticeable. So I don’t really have to decide for another month . . . ot two . . . or three. I’m sure I’ll have it figured out by then.



  1. And it worked out quite well, thank you!

  2. Nobody should be embarrassed they dye their hair. I saw this product in Oprah’s magazine, tried it out after many other popular products and fell in love with it. Lasts a while too. It’s a great product and I recommend it. BettyBeauty

  3. This is pretty funny, Mom. As for BettyBeauty, I’m pretty sure that is hair dye for your pubes. Knowing you, I don’t think you want to take it that far;)

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