grey matter

Things I figured out for myself today:

1. If I only just noticed the baby poo on Ivy's sock when putting her in the car after school drop off this morning, hopefully no one else noticed it either.

2. I genuinely love school drop off and pick up. I love chatting to the lovely parents of Henry's classmates. We must be at the right school.

3. If, for her morning nap, I put Ivy in the same position at the end of her cot that she's always been in, her feet actually stick right out the end of the cot. Time to move up. 

4. I love it best when Tilly dresses herself in the morning:

5. And I've probably given too much time today to thinking about grey hair.

My two sisters and I could have at least solved the renewable energy question if not global warming if we had invested a tiny bit of the time we've spent discussing, considering, and generally prioritizing hair. 

Long or short? Blonde or red? Does a beer rinse really work? Expensive cut vs the next door neighbour with skills?

And truly, thanks GOODNESS for Skype. It saves the constant photo-taking/downloading/ emailing we would have otherwise engaged in.

I have photos of both sisters cutting my hair (when I was younger and more fearless). We've dyed, we've shorn (well actually only I did that) and we've braided. 

Right now, both my sisters have spectacularly cute short hair. Mine is mid-growing-out kinda nothing at present. But I have a plan. A long one. With plaits. 

One plan we haven't discussed? Grey. 

It's a funny old thing, the grey hair question. I think it feeds into our whole cultural denial of aging, particularly in women. I mean really, how many under 50s women do you know with grey hair? There's something in us which seems to say that to go grey is to give up, to acknowledge we're getting old(er), and somehow it doesn't typically evoke sexiness or vitality. 

I have one (young) friend with spectacular grey hair. Long, fabulous, grey hair. 

I'm so impressed with her hair. 

We avoid chemicals in this house. We clean with natural ingredients and I make my own laundry powder (more on that another day.) The last time I dyed my hair I used a natural henna from the health food shop. Really though, if I'm embracing all things natural, shouldn't I let my hair grow into it's natural colour? Which pretty soon will be grey? 

Something I figured out today: I don't think I'm quite ready for it. Even though I've seen some truly gorgeous examples of it. 

I'd really like to. I'd like to know I'm not subject to cultural pressures which are probably quite misogynist. I'd be curious to see what it looked like. And if you can quietly and gradually go grey, then you avoid that whole entire grey roots and two-tone thing. And it's natural and beautiful. 

So what about you?


21 Comments on “grey matter

September 8, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Yeah, I hear ya…. secretly I’ve always hoped I’d go my dad’s path, and be white haired by the time I was 40. I’m 30 in January, and so far it’s still strawberry blonde. I always had in my head this image of awesome long, white hair that I could braid into crowns or leave flowing free… Now that I’m thinking dreadlocks (maybe), perhaps I’ll be a gnarly cool dreadlocked white haired mama? I’m thinking the second Matrix movie here… the Australian actor who played a counsellor… but I babble! Can you tell Ewan is napping???

September 8, 2010 at 8:11 pm

I plan to colour my hair in some way for a very very long time. I already need blush everyday to give me colour in my cheeks (thanks to very pale complexion) so can’t imagine how much I’d have to put if I was grey as well πŸ˜›
But am quite interested to see if any family members take after Mum (going grey quickly and early)- was it genetics or the environmental stress? If you can inherit Mum’s silvery grey, I say go for it!

International Woman of Mystery
September 8, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Oh dear, I am torn! I do question why we are the only species where it’s the female (usually) that cares about being beautifully adorned. Is there simply more competition amongst our gender to snag a mate? If that’s the case, then we can’t really call it misogyny and blame the blokes. It’s us doing the damage to ourselves. I would like to be able to say; forget the dye – grey is beautiful (and it is). I have a lot of it! But I keep it well-hidden because my youth is racing away from me faster than I could have believed and I want to ignore it and pretend I’m 23 again and preparing my backpack for its first great adventure. Or maybe that it’s one of the few things in my life that I truly have control over. The colour that is, not the rapidly-appearing grey! Dunno. But I will keep colouring it until it is all properly grey and I can have cool, really short silver hair. Groovy.

September 8, 2010 at 10:54 pm

I let my hair go gray because I am too impatient and cheap to color it, and also too indecisive to commit. And the chemicals scare me.

In addition, I think it looks more natural to color if you have light hair. My hair is (was) a very dark brown, and since skin lightens as you age too, the dark is too intense. I think it actually makes one look older to dye black/dark brown– sort of points to the aging skin…whereas blondes can just sort of get streaks and it looks good.

Can you tell I’ve thought about it a lot? πŸ™‚

Fortunately, my hair has grayed in a pleasing way (as long as I keep it trimmed and framing my face — long would be terrible). I have a friend whose dark hair went gray right in a stripe on the top of her head…like a skunk…

I think it’s okay to want to be pretty, and it’s okay to age gracefully!

Rachel @ Suburban Yogini
September 9, 2010 at 1:30 am

I started going grey at 25. It runs in the family. And there was no way I was ready for that nonsense. I’ve hennaed ever since and will continue to do so well into my 80s. Yup, I’m gonna be one of those old women πŸ˜€

September 9, 2010 at 7:24 am

I think I was lucky to only start going grey in my 40s, considering my mum was grey by the age of 30. I was waiting all through my 30s for it to happen, and I worried unnecessarily. Now I quite like the grey bits – a sign of wisdom, surely ….

September 9, 2010 at 10:12 am

i think elderly women who have the balls to let their hair grow long and keep it grey is beautiful.

September 9, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Am 33 with a growing white streak at the front left of centre, and grey starting to appear throughout. I get teased by my boyfriend and at one stage bought dye. but the moment I start I’ll have to keep going, and fundamentally, I’m too lazy to maintain a dye job.

However, I do have a bit of a baby face, so the grey has been to my advantage as people appear genuinely shocked when I tell them how old I am.

September 9, 2010 at 7:51 pm

I am not ready, thats it really. I have a 4 year old i don’t want grey hair just yet. But the genetic blue print is there. Mum is quite white and has been since about 50 and was colouring since her late 20’s. My hair colouring is part of the household budget and even during the GFC with its interest rate rises and other bits it was maintained at the expense of other things i didn’t really need. Maybe one day, but not yet. πŸ™‚ I am quite fond of my 2 tone foils and my 3 weekly visits to my hairdresser. Yes that is how fast they appear. πŸ™‚

September 10, 2010 at 6:50 pm

I’ve been pulling mine out but at this rate I’m going to be bald soon!! Think I’ll have to dye – I’m not ready to embrace the grey yet. But I agree with Leila too – it’s harder when you’re dark haired – it’s really ageing to have this stark contrast between face and hair.

When I was a kid there was this eccentric old lady that everyone knew around town. Her contemporaries called her ‘Mrs Bastard’ because she was such a so-and-so! She had pitch black (obviously dyed) hair and bright red lipstick. She seemed to be around 80. Needless to say I was fascinated by her! So I always think of Mrs Bastard when I see dark hair that doesn’t fit the face πŸ™‚

September 10, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Helly, I’ve been thinking about long crazy flowing white hair and awesome braided crowns since I read this comment!

September 10, 2010 at 9:46 pm

You stand more chance of getting the silver than me I reckon, mine’s actually quite dark under the henna…

September 10, 2010 at 9:47 pm

yes, short silver hair = tres groovy. It is kinda weird we’re the only species that it’s the female doing all the adorning. If I wasn’t so brain dead I’d come up with a good critical feminist theory about that.

September 10, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Glad you’ve thought about it a lot too – yep, it’s the chemicals that scare me too.

September 10, 2010 at 9:50 pm

ha! don’t you love henna! I saw the most awesomely dressed older woman today with hennaed red hair and some crazy flowing cape on. She looked fantastic!

September 10, 2010 at 9:51 pm

wow you are lucky! I reckon by 40 I’m going to look like one seriously wise lady!!

September 10, 2010 at 9:52 pm

oi you, go easy on the elderly bit.

September 10, 2010 at 9:53 pm

you DO have a baby face Reemski – I watched some of the ready steady cook clip!!!! (VERY nice to see you!)

September 10, 2010 at 9:54 pm

chuckle. Also: Nurses should have extra credit points to do anything that makes them feel pampered, even for an hour.

September 10, 2010 at 9:55 pm

that is hilarious, Jo!

September 13, 2010 at 4:28 am

Wow, do I have to be the first to mention grey pubes? Classy as ever! Found my first a couple weeks ago- haven’t even mentioned it to Dave.
I started with a little grey patch at the back of the top of my head in High School, and always figured that would take the edge off when the rest start. Don’t know if that’ll be the case, but don’t think I’ll be able to bring myself to dye. I might go really short, or take it all off and draw on my scalp!


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