I don’t have gray hair.
Put another way, I color my hair. I feel younger and more confident doing so, and really, does anyone need to know that my once dark locks are now nearly all white?
This color game isn’t new. It first took root—pun intended—in my 30s, when I saw that my hair was turning the same yellowish, dirty white as my mother’s. Just like me, she dyed her hair. But unlike me, mom bought her color at the grocery store, and made her hair brunette at the kitchen table.
I can still see one of her friends doing the deed—unwrapping flimsy plastic gloves that came with the dye package; assembling the concoction in a big yellow Pyrex bowl, and slathering the dark paste on my mom’s scalp. Half an hour later, the stuff was rinsed out to reveal neither shine nor highlights, but a dull and even brown. That was good enough.
I’m in a different circus tent.
When I was on the road clowning, before there were any gray strands, my hair was curly and frosted, leaving tiny swirls of platinum blonde. It gave me the funny appearance I wanted; it also meant that I didn’t need a wig. Then, after
the discovery of my mom’s color peeking through my own head, I attempted a DIY henna look. That didn’t go well:
a boyfriend said it looked as if I poured red paint on my scalp.
Since then, I’ve gone to professionals. My current colorist—who has trimmed and straightened my hair, too—is also a friend, which means I trust her.
At an appointment a couple of years ago, I noticed that she’d given herself blue bang tips. My first thought was that
this might be A Very Good Look for a clown, so, I decided to go for it. Since then, I’ve had bright green bangs
(now cringe worthy because they’re front and center on my current passport photograph) and turquoise (which
faded after a few weeks).
Right now, I have three colors—the dark brown tint, which covers most of my hair, and on the bangs and a bit on each side of my face, magenta and violet. It’s another fun look, so I’m decided to keep it for a while.
This, in spite of the fact that for the last couple of years, going gray has become the in thing to do.
These women include my hairdresser, who ditched the blue, finding that she preferred a more unaffected look because it required less maintenance. But she’s also more than 10 years younger than me, so it’s really a salt and pepper color. The mayor of an adjacent town has also gone au natural, commenting on Facebook that “Every strand of silver is somehow one tiny step closer to becoming more me.” Too, there are celebrities who have purposely made their hair gray, including Kelly Osbourne, Lady Gaga and Hilary Duff.
I’m not there yet.
Instead, I’m thankful that I can turn my hair any color, or combinations of color, that I want. Heck, I may even go rainbow. It might also mean that someday, I’ll opt for that festive yellow-white hue.
But I doubt it.