Friday, April 07, 2006


Grey matters

I have always vowed to age gracefully, and naturally. It's been fairly easy; I come from people who generally age with grace. I still have clear skin, and I can pass my few wrinkles off as laugh lines.

So no collagen to pucker withered lips; no botox for these laugh lines; no tucks to breath new life into deflated breasts. I admire women like Susan Sarandon, and Meryl Streep. Women who wear their years with honour and pride. And I have kept my resolution to age naturally, and gracefully, all the way to the tender age of 36.

You see, I've become a plucker.

In theory, I had no issue with grey hair. I always thought a thick white streak was kind of sexy, in a funky kind of way. Hey, even überfashionista Stacey on What Not to Wear has some lovely grey streaks tucked behind her ears - it must be hot.

I've never coloured my hair - not even highlights. It's a lovely chestnut colour, with a good dose of coppery highlights when the light is right. And chestnut, it seems, is a perfect foil for grey.

It has begun. The invasion of the colourless follicles.

I frankly don't know where they keep coming from. I've become a grey-hair stalker, combing methodically through my chestnut locks in search of grey traitors in much the same way I imagine a mother examines her child's head for nits. And when I do find one, I carefully separate it from the herd before yanking it unceremoniously out by the roots, at which point I feel obligated to inspect it carefully from all angles.

Grey hair is quite a bit coarser than its darkly youthful cousin. I wonder why?

And yet, despite this careful weeding of my tresses, I still manage to find long strands of it shining defiantly and weedlike in the garden of my head. (Hey, look, that line may qualify me for some sort of bad writing award, don't you think?)

Why, by the way, are there never any strands that are half grey? They are all uniformly grey from root to end. I've put a lot of time into this obsession, you might be beginning to notice.

My scalp is still tingling with the last violent uprootal, observed and snatched from my scalp while I was overseeing nightly toothbrushing. I'm beginning to wonder which is less appealing, healthy chunks of grey hair or patchy spots of bald head, plucked clean as a naked chicken.

It's a tough call...

So tell me, my fellow women-of-a-certain-age (and men, too!), to what lengths would you - do you - go to minimize the effects of aging? Hair dye? Anti-aging cream? Nip and tuck?