There was, what I charitably will presume was a well meaning woman about a year ago who made a comment about my shorter hair making me look much younger. I blew it off at the time rather than get into a discussion but there are just so many things wrong with that statement. The first is that I want to look younger than I am. Considering the source (my age with obviously bleach blond hair) such things are quite important to her.
It isn’t to me. Appearing younger is what I can do in my head as long as I don’t look in the mirror. But mirrors lie – after all – everything is reversed so why not sneak in a bit of aging change? Mirror, Mirror on the Wall and all of that. The same reason applies for why I don’t add hair color to cover my grey. I have earned those gray hairs. And, since they have grown back following chemo – every single last one of them is precious to me.
Part of what triggered off this chain of thought was George making the remark this morning that he was finally feeling hair bristling on his head. The chemo that they use for stem cell transplants for some reason has a much more devastating affect on hair follicles than the R-CHOP that was inflicted on me. I had hair starting back within about three weeks after my last dose of chemo and was willing to wander around without a scarf on my head by the time we took our Phoenix cruise to Iceland & Greenland in Aug/Sept of 2017. OTOH, my hair departed my head, covered my pillow and clogged the drain within 10 days of the first course of chemo. It was actually a when George was leaving the hospital–so 4-5 weeks later–when all of his exited stage left.
What the (hopefully) well meaning woman also didn’t get is that I really, really don’t like hair around my face. Not after spending 30 years in uniform where my choices were short or long and pulled back. Short takes a lot of care. Taking the time to get a trim every 3-6 weeks is just nuts, at least for me. For others, it is how they think of themselves. But there is absolutely nothing easier for me than grabbing a scrunchie and I am done. Out of the way, least likely to pull out or damage hair and easy to remove.
Also in the back of my mind is every old, blue haired lady that I ever saw. They had short hair, often permed. I am so not interested in turning into one of them. Accepting the “as you get older your hair should be shorter” idea that society seems to place on aging white women. I am not familiar enough with other cultures to be sure that it is the same. But at least in the SF Asian community, that seems to be the case. At the same time – mixed grey and brown hair straggling around one’s face isn’t terribly attractive either. And yesterday, when I was in the check-out lane at Costco (long, long story) I noticed that on the woman ahead of me in line. And when my first thought was – she is too old to wear her hair that way – I realized, that I too, might well have drunk the koolaide.
Examining one’s attitudes isn’t always that fun. But it might actually result in an improvement in behavior. And it certainly would have kept me from thinking–Old? You, who are bleached blond and wearing too tight clothes designed for someone in their teens is commenting on my appearance?