While hipster twentysomethings are dyeing their hair “silver,” my unkempt mom hair has started to go grey in not so subtle or fashionable ways. My 4-year-old thinks it’s hilarious, my parents are appalled that I haven’t dyed it yet, and I’m pretty sure that my MILF status is actively waning. But I refuse to color it, and here are five reasons why.
1. I Am What I Am. I showed some old Popeye videos to my daughter recently and was pretty impressed by everyone’s favorite sailor. I was trying to convince her to eat her spinach instead of stuffing it into the couch cushions, but I ended up in total hero-worship. I realized that Popeye is so fantastic because he could not give two shakes about what others think of him. Including Olive Oyl, and she’s his gal.
Letting my hair go grey has made me commit to a similar way of being. I’m not trying to be anything I’m not. I’m acknowledging that I really don’t have control over my aging body, and best of all, I’m accepting who I am becoming with complete submission. It gives me a sense of pride, and permission to just be me
2. MILF jokes aside, I do seem to be attracting a different kind of person these days. Being a single mom means it’s slim pickings to begin with on the romance front, and most of us tend to prefer curling up on the couch with a movie to going on another bad date. But I have to say that lately I have been drawing very attractive, confident men into my life who are looking for similar qualities in a woman. By putting my grey out there, I think I’m spreading the message that I’m happy with who I am. And boy is it working.
3. Who has the time? I have one child and I barely have the time to shave my legs or tweeze my eyebrows. For those of you who have two or three kids, do any of us really have the time to dye our hair every 3-5 weeks as the grey demands? I tried dyeing it myself once, and my greys started popping out after two weeks. So the choice became either spend a red-wine and dirty Scrabble night with friends or spend the night dyeing my hair. Since my daily conversations generally run the gamut from poop all the way to princesses, the R-rated option will win out over splattering hair dye on the bathroom sink every time.
4. Who has the money? Between ballet classes, organic food and chemical-free bath products—plus a new pair of shoes every freaking month—giving away good money to my hairdresser is equivalent to giving away precious time trying to do it myself. No thank you.
5. Weirdly, it’s keeping me young. My grey hair is my rebellious side shining through, a big F-you to society, my uber-conservative parents and all those ads geared towards ‘age-defying’ this and ‘look younger for longer’ that. Choosing not to buy into that makes me feel like I’m 17 again and flashing my fake ID at the punk bar I’m not supposed to be at. It feels naughty and a little thrilling. Which is the kind of feeling any parent on the dark side of 35 wouldn’t mind keeping around a bit longer.
The truth is that going grey is a huge stigma in our society, especially for women. I have had to deal with the occasional hater making jerky comments, but for the most part I forget that I have greys, and I think that’s a good sign. It means that I’m confident enough to buck the system. It makes me less judgmental about my looks and the choices of others, and it also has managed to keep me firmly grounded in reality.