The Best Revenge is Outliving Preconceptions

Preconceptions have changed and for the better.

Back in the day, gray hair was a killer in corporate America. Many women colored their hair, in a fruitless effort to stave off the ravages of father time. Unless you were going to do something about your chicken neck and jowls, hair color made no difference. I thumbed my nose, refused to color my hair and shot myself in the foot.

Fast forward to 2017 – I was treated like a rock star at the hairdressers the other day and I owe it to my hair color. Be-pierced, be-tattooed,  platinum-haired, not old enough to vote, stylist gathered around my station in amazement of my hair color. They all want white hair.

Change is good.

Here’s what I wrote in August 2010 about gray hair

Last week while I was waiting for my hair appointment a patron sitting next to me asked me how long my hair had been gray. I assumed her multicolored ‘do was an indication she wanted to be free of the coloring regimen. She asked me why I kept my grays and I thought “Why not?”, but restrained myself and responded with a generic non-answer.

She was dressed in corporate business attire, and I wondered if she was in a quandary about hair color as it related to corporate culture and career paths. My impression was way off target; she asked if my husband approved of my gray hair.

I struggled to find a politically correct response. Before I could reply, the stylist beckoned the woman, saving me from myself. Had I missed a new social revolution? It never occurred to me to ask my husband if he approved of my gray hair. Aside from the fact, the man can’t match shirts and ties; no way would I consult him about something as important as hair color.

There is a larger issue here. If this woman has to consider spousal approval for hair color, I hope she is not a CFO of a large corporation. I hope she is not an underwriter for a mortgage lender. I hope she is not a human resources manager. I hope she does not have children who depend on her for important decisions when her spouse is unavailable.

It is inconceivable to me that today, in 2010; a woman would not feel comfortable enough in her own skin to figure out what she likes about her appearance and go forward. I hope our appointment times never coincide again but if they should, I’ll be prepared with gender specific answers that eliminate gray areas.



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