As for me, I've been changing the color of my hair since I was 12 in the hopes that finding the right shade and style would somehow magically make me smarter, prettier and thinner. Mostly thinner. Besides, spraying Sun-In onto your scalp when you're at a slumber party in the seventh grade is just all kinds of fun!
And then something happened.
I recently glanced in the mirror and realized that my hair was beginning to look a little silvery. Not only that, but I sort of liked it. Surprise!
My mother hasn't asked me about my hair yet, in spite of the fact that I'm currently breaking with family tradition. Meanwhile, I've been asking some questions of my own. Why do some women choose to go gray while others don't?
I suspect my grandmother dyed her hair because not dyeing her hair would be the equivalent of not making her bed or mowing her lawn or washing her dishes or hanging up her clothes or rotating the tires on her car. Not dyeing her hair would be the moral equivalent of throwing in the towel and shouting, "I give up! You win, Entropy!"
I haven't asked her, but I imagine my mother dyes her hair because she makes a fine-looking blonde, and if you've got something like that going on, why mess around with it? For the record, I fully endorse this approach.
Other reasons women refuse to go gray? Fear of aging, perhaps. Or the legitimate fear of being sidelined in a society that often turns its older citizens invisible. Or maybe that face in the mirror doesn't line up with the person a woman still feels like she is on the inside that brand new mother or the 22-year-old college graduate ready to take on the world.
What about the women who say gray hair, don't care? It may be a political statement for some a refusal to go along with the expectations generated by our youth-obsessed culture. Certainly there are other reasons, as well. I'm interested in hearing what they are.
As for me? Well, the truth is that I've become a little lazy on the hair-care front. Sorry about that, Grandma!
Here's the other thing. My body is like an older, slightly shabby house with walls full of memories. It's been lived in and for now, at least, I think gray hair suits who I've become.
But you never know. Maybe tomorrow I'll wake up and dye my hair.