Maybe it’s because of a girl I never had the courage to meet in high school. Her hair was prematurely grey. She held me spellbound from afar. It could also be my own lovely wife, Kelly, whose long, blonde hair has turned increasingly grey, marking each passing year with me. Of course, it could simply be that Boomer women who proudly display their long, grey hair look lovely, strong, and beautiful.
Let’s get one thing clear here at the beginning: my purpose is not to degrade or devalue the many hair colors women may choose as an alternative to grey or white. This is not meant to diminish anyone or call into question the personal choices each individual has a right to make. The occasional older brunette or blonde has certainly turned this head, but natural grey is different.
In saying ‘grey’, I should also take a moment to include white. Although long grey hair is more common in my experience, white is no less striking. Flowing long and free, catching the breeze, or hanging down over the shoulders, it is an inspiration, a gift to all those blessed to see it.
Perhaps it is my old hippie, rising within from a long dormancy. Back then, we wore our hair long like it was a flag we flew to tell the world we were independent, adventurous, and young. Women who let their hair down were making statements that differentiated them from their sisters who teased and sprayed their hair up to the fashion.
There it is: “let their hair down”. The phrase conveyed being more relaxed and liberated, it portended adventure and excitement. It was the trite vehicle in films that told us the austere secretary was about to become a surprise.
We’d better pull back from here to the reality of today and the fact that I’m an old (and very married) guy, talking about how certain mature women’s hair catches my eye and lifts my spirits. Of course, that is not to say the purpose of these lady’s choice of long and grey has anything to do with catching mine or any other male’s attention. It simply does, a kind of collateral damage.
My Kelly has long suffered friends and associates telling her how bad leaving her hair its natural color is for our marriage. People preaching against this beautiful woman looking like she really looks. Causing doubt and seeding discontent. Think of it. Could you imagine someone having the effrontery to tell a friend, “That color you got at the beauty shop is gorgeous, but not on you.”
So, I am assuming each long grey or white head I see has run the gauntlet of good intentions, withstood the detractors, and remained true to herself and perhaps a partner at home who encourages this swimming against the tide, this “letting her hair down”.
Thank you, young, older ladies, with your long, grey hair. Whatever you may be intending, you are reaching from your youth to ours and it is sincerely appreciated.