It finally happened. The unthinkable, impossible, yet ultimately inevitable came sneaking in like a parasite. Even though I always knew it was a possibility, it still came as a shock. I’d hear girlfriends lament about it happening to them. “Not going to be me,” I’d smugly think as I put on my most empathetic face. I sincerely thought I was in the clear for at least another decade—until I looked in the mirror that fateful morning…
I was in the bathroom getting ready for the day—you know, frantically trying to put on deodorant, slap sunscreen on my face, and tie my sopping wet hair into a braid (#QuarantineChic), all before my kids notice I’ve had five whole minutes to myself and come looking for me—when I saw it. A light-colored hair, right on the top of my head. “Oh, look at that,” I (naively) thought. “I’m getting highlights from the sun… right?” I peered closer to the bathroom mirror (because I didn’t have my glasses). “Wait a minute.” I did a double-take. “Is that…grey? Grey?!” I streaked through the house in a panic and found my husband preparing coffee in the kitchen. “Look!” I shrieked, shoving the offending hair in his face. “Yup,” he calmly confirmed, turning on the coffee maker. “Grey. And look how cool it is. You can see the exact point where it was brown, and then started growing in grey! It’s two-tone!” Yeah, real cool. Not only am I old and grey, but my hair has a skunk stripe.
“I’m too young for this,” I thought, as I turned and walked away in a huff (my joints popping as I went). I mean, sure, I need ibuprofen to get out of bed in the morning (who knew you could get injured while you sleep?) and I do have a love affair with a heating pad every night (don’t worry, my husband knows all about it—and he has his own thing going with a knee brace, so we’re cool). But grey hair??? Of course my husband didn’t think it was a big deal. He’s been sprouting greys for years. In fact, we laugh together about how grey his beard is getting, and he gleefully points out new greys on his head. Because when a man goes grey, people use words like “distinguished” and “sophisticated” and “silver fox.” But when a woman goes grey she is “old” and “in need of a dye job.” I mean, it took a freaking global pandemic for Kelly Ripa to show her true colors to the world, but George Clooney has been rocking the salt and pepper look (and very well, I might add) for years.
Back in the bathroom, I rationalized with myself. I mean, it’s been a looooooong three months of quarantine. This one grey hair must just be a fluke from all that time spent locked up with my kids. And it’s only one. At least I don’t have anymore, and… what the hell?! A grey eyebrow hair! Is that even a thing???
How could this happen? I’m not old. I’m young. I can still get jiggy with it (that’s still a thing, right?), even with a couple of grey hairs. I mean, I have a whole closet-full of inappropriately-tall heels (that I haven’t worn in years). I’m social media savvy (as long as it’s Facebook; I don’t get all that TikTok SnapChat nonsense). And the only reason I’m not out late every night is because of COVID (and the fact that I’m completely exhausted by 10:00pm).
Besides, I can’t look that old; I got ID’d when buying wine the other day (you know, so I could survive being cooped up with my kids). Although, come to think of it, the guy (who probably wasn’t even old enough to drink), was pretty judgey about the whole thing. “I’ll need to see some ID, ma’am, because there is [pause] a lot of alcohol in this order.” Thanks, Mitch, but you don’t know my life, so just load up my booze and back away slowly. See, I can still hang! Of course, if I have more than a couple glasses of wine (which I absolutely have to be done drinking by 7:00pm), I’ll be hungover for days afterward. Shit… I’m old AF.
I guess I should have grey hair. Maybe the real surprise is that there aren’t more of them. At any rate, I know I’m not getting any younger, so it might be time to start embracing the new old-me—stay tuned for stories about “the good old days” (you know, 2019) and me passing out butterscotch candies at Halloween while I shout at the neighborhood kids to stay off my lawn. Maybe a few grey hairs aren’t that bad…and at least (for now) I can be thankful that they’re only on my head. In the meantime, can anyone recommend a good colorist?