Fifty Shades of Grey

November 1st, 2013

grey blog2

Well I went and did it. My kids begged me not to, nodding their heads in disbelief that I could do such a thing to them. My husband encouraged me to give it a try. As he does with most things. Sometimes this is great, sometimes it just isn’t. I wasn’t sure how this one would fall.

So here is my truth. I am 43 years old, and after a 10 year battle have finally given up the fight. My grey hair wins. I am not talking about a few random strands. No this is full coverage.

After some time my younger children have shrugged it off and put it in the oh-well-we-always-knew-she-was-old category. My husband seems to have a thing for older looking women so I happen to be in luck there. (I also think he quite likes having a matching partner now)

But the response from the outside world has been of particular interest to me. 50 shades of acceptance, ranging from practical strangers telling me how inspiring I am to people averting their eyes lest they be turned to stone. Older men are now checking me out as if they have a chance, while some women confess how they could never be so brave. The entire experience has been rather fascinating.

It’s hair.
But somehow it is more.
For some reason, a woman being her natural born self invites opinion. My grey husband has barely raised an eyebrow in the past 10 years. But somehow I’ve inspired, threatened, challenged, provoked, and down right scared people simply by giving up the bottle. Women confess “I could never’s” in my ear, while others enthusiastically congratulate me as if I’ve done something of actual importance.

I feel a fraud, if only they knew. Giving up the bottle had nothing to do with courage or making a statement on beauty, aging, women or authenticity. I am not an advocate on how to age naturally and have no idea how to do this aging thing with any authority as I stumble along my own path. I preach no “should’s” here.  No the truth is, I am just downright lazy. Yup, I simply cannot be bothered. It takes effort, money, time and giving a damn to fight roots! And although I may now look like the walking dead, ultimately, freedom is truly a beautiful thing.

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  1. Jim Skinner says:

    Massive…to use an Aussie term.  As the saying goes, it is what it is.  I’m going on 71 and only have a smattering of gray around my ears (although my beard, should I choose to grow one, is white).  It can be amusing how people respond to hair color.  At my 50th high school reunion I had several people ask me if I dyed my hair.  Now it is starting to fall out which is an all together different issue.  That’s a different kind of “natural”

  2. Virginia Urbach says:

    To color or not to color, that is the question. For me, it is no question that I like to keep the gray around the temple at bay. It is not so much egotistical but more of wanting my hair (what little I have) to be all one color. Why is that men looks so good and handsome in gray shades, while women look older?  Ah, such as life of a woman. I embrace my gray but I also know that I can do something about it.  Happy maturity, Meg.

  3. Joy Campbell says:

    Yes, it’s interesting isn’t it? I wasn’t as brave as early as you, but agree it is very freeing. I have had some lovely compliments and been aware of others studiously avoiding the subject!  Indeed several friends have taken the plunge and embraced their ” greyness” as well. The wonderful Judi Dench was my inspiration! For me it is freeing  and part of  becoming authentic  in my life, but I must admit, I was beginning to resent the wasted hours in  the beauty salon, to say nothing of the dollars!Now I wish I had done it years ago!Well done Meg!Joy 

  4. Andrea D says:

    I am in the process of figuring out how to transition to gray.  I am 56, and getting tired of covering the gray for others (mostly concern for how I will be perceived in my professional life in an organization with many younger, more educated up-and-comers).  When I told friends I am researching how to go gray gracefully, one gave me “that look” and another commented, “are you sure you are ready for “that?” I enjoyed reading your post, but your last sentence gave me pause.  I wonder if using the words “walking dead” in the same article about women letting their hair go gray might perpetuate the stigma that gray = old, and old = walking dead.  Wouldn’t it be sweet if people believed that gray = maturity, and maturity = wise, and wise = good!  🙂 Words are important.  Something to think about.G’day!

  5. Andrea D says:

    Oh, and I forgot!  Your gray hair looks fabulous!

  6. I’ve always believed people look best with their own, natural hair color.  On the other hand, I do indulge in a bit of unnatural hair color (pink highlights) now and again. At the very heart of it though, I don’t color my hair for the same reason you stopped — too much time and effort.

  7. Flo says:

    And the chemicals…  They can’t be good for us.

  8. Ruby says:

    I’m 53.  I’ve done that giving up the bottle more than a year ago.. coz before that, my adult son complain that I was mistooken for his girlfriend when I’m with him and seen by his friends (who know not me).  But come to think of it, yes, it so “freeeeeee ing”. No more trying to paint my hair, waiting for it to dry… and sometimes sitting for hours at the salon (when I have the time)…. now one of my sister is considering to walk this journey too! 🙂

  9. Nyla says:

    I am 62 and still color  or my hair, as a matter of fact I just bought a  mascajust made just for touching up the roots. It works and I got it at the 99 cent store. I applied for jobs for about six months and all was fine until I showed up being 63 years old. Discrimination still exists.  Ii don’t stress out anymore about an extra pound or having dessert. I find that I really live all the freedom gives you with or without hair color. I celebrate that I have had some tests and trials and I’m still movin and grooving . That’s the key, accept yourself anyway you wish to be or look. Don’t worry, be happy. 🙂 I celebrate all of you who contributed here.

  10. Fiona says:

    I think the fact that more women in their forties dye their hair than don’t leads to a perception that grey hair is older. I decided just to go grey rather than cover up & have had the same range of comments about being brave etc etc. My kids have asked me to dye my hair and view me as a bit of a dinosaur but I’m pleased I’m giving them the message that it’s ok to be you… I still struggle with it some days when I feel like I look old and that’s the thing that interests me most – how it’s challenging my view of me and my view of maturing gracefully 😉

  11. Good for you, Meg! I am 53 and I went completely grey or rather white several years back. I refused to continue to fight the battle and was tired of the hours spent at the hair salon.

  12. Sarah says:

    Well,  I am 47 and this last month have gone blonde having not dyed my hair since the birth of my 8 year old daughter.  The last time I had a salon colour was the day before she arrived nearly a month early! I held fast to my natural colour,  I embraced my grey and looked forward to welcoming my Judi Dench look as I transitioned thru Anne Hathaway having an MLC.Actually as my hair aged so did the rest of me – my darker hair and flecks and streaks of grey seemed to really make me and my attitude to life haggard. Yep,  it’s expensive and it’s time consuming but lightening my hair has lightened my spirit for some crazy reason! I’m happy to cover up for a little bit longer and hopefully my inner Helen Mirren will be ready to make a grand entrance when my grey is more established! You look fabulous by the way. Sarah

  13. Jim Skinner says:

    Sarah, you have struck upon the “root” (pardon the pun) of the issue for a lot of people.  Interesting that I’m the only guy responding on this topic.  My wife and her colorist have had a very long relationship and our agreement is along the lines of don’t ask, don’t tell.

  14. starzoe says:

    It is indeed just hair! I personally have never colored my hair and have been gray/silver since my 30’s (I am now 58).  Of course I keep my hair very short and it would require coloring almost weekly….who has that kind of time, money or inclination?!  I have had folks stop me and ask me who my colorist is, however, and this just makes me laugh.  I usually respond with “my three children” ….well, that and genetics!Enjoy your gray – it has been well earned!

  15. You are an enlightened woman!  There will come a day when I decide to give up the bottle too; for I too am lazy (when it comes to attending my outer appearance –  I never could be bothered with contact lenses, when glasses work just fine).  My kids don’t like me changing my appearance either, they like me just the way I am!

  16. Michele Hoekstra says:

    I  gave up coloring my hair two years ago, my body actually made the final decisions for me, I no longer saw the benefits of an extremely irritated scalp after every dye job. I have experienced some of the same looks, whispers and admiration, but know I could never have done it without the love of my husband.  He loved me with dyed red hair and loves me with natural grey hair.  I chuckled at your comment about your husband having a thing for older women, my husband loves women that are real and true to nature.   Thank you for your wonderful post.  More women should say yes to Gray!!!!!

  17. Gianna says:

    I am nearly 68 and I am still blonde with just a bit of silver. I don’t like permanent hair colour, but sometimes I use a non permanent mousse, which does not need retouching.  I am lazy too. Worse however, to the horror of  some, I spray it with hot pink colour!  Just because it makes me feel good!

  18. Rdlswalker says:

    I am a 56 y.o. Filipino.  My haircut…very short, pixie style.  I colored my hair @53.  I liked it a lot.  Now…I am trying to embrace the gray.  My inspirations…my late mother & Jamie Lee Curtiss.  So far…LOVING IT!

  19. Anne K. Scott says:

    I had almost the opposite experience in my 40s. After 20 yrs of grey hair and staunchly resisting the evils of hair colour and hair dressing for that matter but after a break up that laid me v. low I decided to give it a try.  I was v. proud of my new look blonde and went down to the hairdresser to get a cut.  That is where I met Andrew who, no is not my partner, but who is now my hairdresser and friend and 3 times a year he cuts and colours my hair and I (if he allows me) cooks him a meal.  I have had my hair down in London, Eindhove, Madrid, Barcelona and I think Saint Lucia is next on the list!

  20. Meg says:

    Good for you – whatever make you happy! 🙂

  21. Kirsteen says:

    I’ve been going grey for 20 years. I am turning 40 this month and I don’t think I’m yet prepared to uncover what is really there. We all get a glimpse of it now and then and as for my kids, it seems to freak them out. lol  I know it would make life simpler but it’s something I do for me, and so I don’t scare my kids. I know there will come a time eventually when I have to let the bottle go, but for now, until I find a peace about it, and many other things in my life, it’s something that keeps me happy and something I do for me. 🙂

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