Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Every day, I dye a little

I heard an interesting interview yesterday with Anne Kreamer who wrote a book called Going Gray, What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Matters. In the interview she mentions that thirty or so years ago, 7% of American women dyed their hair and now, almost two thirds (65%) do. It seems to be a psychological fixation that U.S. women have about not wanting to grow older or at least not wanting to appear to be older than we feel.

I'm a dyer right now and it's because I'm trying to enter a field and I don't want to highlight the fact that I'm older than the typical job applicant. If I could go gray all over, I think I'd just let it be because it is flattering. But, if my mother is any indication, when I'm over 50 my gray will appear in patches...along my brow and temples, a spot of the back of my head. It's not all over and it's not salt-and-pepper, it looks more like bleach splashed on portions of my head. That's not a look that I would choose. Damn nature!

I'm a pretty recent dyer (last 3 or 4 years) so it was a surprise to me that so many women (and men?) dye their hair. I guess it shouldn't since there is usually a long aisle in drug stores completely devoted to hair color but I never see anyone lingering around that area of the store, contemplating their choices...people must surreptitiously pick up a box and put it in their cart, like they are buying a dirty magazine. So, they are ashamed of looking older but also of doing something to stop looking older unless they decide to cough up the money to go to a salon and have it done professionally. Kind of a no win situation unless you've got oodles of disposable money to play around with how you look.

What was most surprising was that Kreamer said men flirted with her more once she allowed herself to go gray. Who would've guessed that?

There's a great short article on the book and Kreamer from the
New York Times and a piece she wrote for Time magazine...just click on the links.