I was reading Caroline Baum’s article Silver Linings which appeared in the Good Weekend section of the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday, when it occurred to me that I could no longer avoid the question. I had to make a decision about whether to dye the grey out of my hair, or let nature takes it’s course?
For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to read the article by Caroline (pictured), here’s a brief overview. Australian writer and TV presenter Caroline Baum explores the pros and cons of resisting the temptation to dye your hair as you age. Caroline also spoke to several high profile Australian women (Julia Blake, Diana Simmonds, Robyn Nevin and Betty Churcher) about their decision to eventually adopt the salt and pepper look, after years of covering up the grey.
The first strands of coarse silver hair appeared on my head about four years ago. At least, that’s when my first born had pointed them out to me. Although I was only 34 at the time, it was a problem easily rectified. I just plucked the offending strands out of my scalp and went on with my life. But over time, it become more and more difficult to keep up with the regrowth and I can tell you from personal experience, the old cliche is true: for every grey hair you pluck out of your head, two grow in it’s place. After about a year of regular plucking, I finally had to admit defeat and let my new grey, grow wild and free. After all, I still had lots of long, brown hair. Who was going to notice those silver strands lurking in the undergrowth? Certainly not me because I vowed never to look at my own reflection again!
For three years I coasted along in blissful ignorance. I knew the grey was still there, but I no longer saw it in those brief glimpses of my own reflection. I saw only what I wanted to see, my natural hair colour. Then along comes Caroline Baum looking more fabulous with grey hair than I’ve ever looked with my natural hair colour, and several high profile Australian women whom I also admire, all giving me permission to age gracefully. Dare I break with convention and let my hair age along with the rest of my body?
It’s all well and good to let the silver lining cast a shadow over my crown and glory whilst I am working and studying at home. I can be fearless wearing my pj’s to work and letting my hair grow long and grey. These are but two advantages of being a freelance writer and blogger. But what if I want to venture outside for longer than it takes to collect the weekly groceries? What if I’m invited to Parliament House? Well, okay that will never happen. But what if I need to take a regular job, or attend a seminar, or a convention? International Women’s Day is coming up in March and I have been thinking about attending one of the events. No. I could never appear in a public forum with silver locks running through my hair at the tender age of 38.
I admire all the women who appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald article. But I’m no Caroline Baum and I know it.
By Deborah Robinson