I had not given much thought to hair color until a woman who is about to retire (due to tenure, not the usual retirement age) said her husband asked if she would stop coloring her hair. She asked what I thought.
Beginning grays often look like the roadrunner on mushrooms spray painted your hair and that is a good reason to try out some hair color. Women believe gray hair is detrimental to job security and only executives get to have gray hair. Considering women are still a minority in the executive suite, many feel they have no option other than to color their hair.
Hair color commercials reinforce the notion that people with gray hair are losers. Men who go for the dye job fare much better on TV commercials than women. After a quick comb through of product they get a better job, hot women and a Maserati. Women who require super dye to cover stubborn grays have to make do with silky, shiny hair. The arm candy and sleek auto are presumed or nonexistent.
Very few men can carry off hair processing. It looks like the Ronco hair in a can or the chia hair with color. I’ve seen colors ranging from a ghoulish green to selections that mimic the shoe polish in cordovan brown or boot black.
I thought it best not to tell the woman there is an attitude adjustment period if she discontinues the hair color. She will be the beneficiary of ill conceived, dated concepts. In department stores clerks call you “Sweetie” or “Hon” and smile benignly as though she is the loopy relative who is a bit “off”.
Tech store sales people scatter like rats at the first sighting of white hair. If you manage to pry one from behind the ink toner display, they affect a pained “I got stuck” facial expression. They speak very slowly, in an exaggerated manner to suggest you may be hearing impaired. They believe you are clueless. They attempt to sell you technology that gasped its last breath two years ago. If you are shopping for cell phones, they assume you are carrying a geezer friendly Jitterbug and direct you to the ugliest selections.
I’d tell this woman there are some benefits to having gray hair.
Accept the offer of help “getting to the car” from the supermarket checker if it’s raining or cold.
Use the courtesy transport at the airport if they approach you. You have more time to hang out at the bar.
Enter the elevator first and go through that door opened for you.
I’d tell her not to feel guilty if she doesn’t require this kind of attention. They don’t know you can bench press a Volvo or run a marathon.
I’d tell her to embrace the positive aspects of the law of compensating factors working for the working woman.
I’d tell her to go for the gray and not look back.