Today, for the first time ever, I colored my very dark brown hair. I did it because my head looked like a floral arrangement with grey white swirly twigs placed artfully at various angles. I tried ironing the grey with a high-priced straightening device. No good. I tried plucking. Too many. I considered Sharpies. Too weird. Salon. Too expensive.
So after those failures, I bravely bought hair color in the adventurous shade called, “dark brown.” I’m in my mid-40’s and have three kids. By some standards that’s late to start coloring your hair. Many people have already pulled theirs out by then.
Doing the “Hair Coloring Right of Passage” thing made me feel old. Or maybe it’s because I’m starting to find AARP articles interesting. Or maybe because I developed a foot condition that sends a sharp shooting pain right up through my heel – forever barring me from the Cute Sandal look because this condition requires corrective shoe inserts. Or because other people Txt, Twitter, and LinkedIn and I simply Google, PDF, and Blog.
Then recently, my teenage daughter asked me to listen to some “mosquito ring tones” on the computer. They are categorized by age. For instance, only those under 30 years old can hear this tone. It was separated in intervals of about 10 years. Stupidly, I asked her to let me try the, “only those under 49 can hear this.” I could not hear a darn thing. We tried again. Nothing. She described the sound to me. Still nothing. I was really shaken. This certainly confirmed what my hair-coloring breakdown only suggested.
I went to the gym in response to my increasing malaise. There I found women who looked older than me and were lifting heavier weights than I could for more repetitions than I would. I found myself approaching the instructor with, “I hate to sound like an old lady, but could you please turn the music down a little.” She gave me a sly odd smile that said, “Okay, but that’s so un-cool.” Rather than ask her again the next week, I wore earplugs. Can’t risk anymore “ring tone” losses.
It’s mysterious to me how people say having children keeps you young, alert and spry. It seems to me that having children mostly causes hearing loss (notably in the high-pitched whine range) and a marked increase in grey hair with attitude. I guess we all have to face aging, but how we do it will be the measure of our success. Good luck to all of you. If you see me at the market wearing a cap over suspicious looking hair, and I don’t respond to your verbal greeting, but instead stare past you humming a familiar ring tone melody, then at least check to see if I’m wearing sandals.