Gettin’ Old Ain’t What it Used to Be

26 11 2008

I’ve heard it said that 60 is the new 40, and maybe it is. I was looking through some old family pictures recently, and remarked to myself that my grandparents were about the same age when I was born as my parents are now. But my grandparents LOOKED like grandparents, white hair, wrinkles, sensible shoes, the whole bit. And my parents certainly don’t.

I don’t know if previous generations hadn’t heard of hair dye and moisturizer, or if our society has become one that refuses to age gracefully (I suspect a bit of both), but there’s no denying that you’ve got to be a lot older to look “old” now.

No better example of this exists than to look at the First Ladies Bush. (wait…that sounds all kinds of wrong, but I’m leaving it, so there). Barbara Bush was in her early sixties when her husband moved into the Oval Office. And Laura Bush is almost the same age as she packs her family up to leave it. The difference in what a woman in her early sixties looks like is striking:

Here’s Laura Bush at age 62:


and Barbara Bush (back in 1989) at 63:



I Dyed My Ears Brown

21 06 2008

I’ve become a real advocate, despite what TV shows tell us, of DDIY–DON’T DO IT YOURSELF. Whatever it is, there is a professional out there who can do it much better than you can. You might spend more money but you will save yourself heartache.

And I’m not just talking about around the house–though my recent bathroom remodeling proved the point applies there as well. Today, I’m specifically thinking of do-it-yourself beauty. Because, you see, I just dyed my ears brown.

Im barely thirty, but I’m prematurely graying–particularly right over my ears. It must not be too bad, because if I say something about it, I usually hear “You don’t have any gray!”

No, I don’t have any gray. I have stark white. And I don’t think much about it…but when mom was here a few weeks back she commented “You’re gonna have to dye that, I can’t have a child that looks old, or people will think I am!”

I keep my hair very short. (A number one on the back and sides and a number four on the top, for those who can assign meaning to that). To me, there’s never been a point in dying my hair when A. I get it cut every three weeks, and B. except for the week right before a hair cut, my hair is so short you can’t see the white ones anyway.

But I was at Target today, and right there across from the razors and such, was “Just For Men” and priced at a surprisingly low $5.99. “What the hell?” I figured. I’m getting a haircut next week anyway, and Im out a whopping six bucks if it doesn’t work.

So, I placed the dye beneath my other purchases and rushed to the check out with the embarassed look I expect a teenage girl buying a pregnancy test might have. Back home, I mixed and shook, lathered it into my hair and waited five minutes before hopping into the shower to rinse away my gray.

I got out, a bit disappointed. The product had promised to target just the gray for a more natural look. It seemed to have targeted everything BUT the gray, as the rest of my hair is now too dark, and my white hairs are sort of burgundy. Oh well, I thought, looking forward to that haircut. Then I noticed my ears were brown. All along the top, they look like they’ve been soaked with Betadine.

I should have known better.

About seven years ago, my two roomates and I decided to dye our hair. My blonde roomie was going a medium brown, while my dark haired roommate and I were going for some lighter colored highlights. My previous roommate had done some highlights for me in college that looked great, so I wasn’t worried as I slapped a few blobs of bleach on my head, wrapped it in Saran wrap, and waited. After the allotted time, I bent over the tub, rinsed my head and watched my roommates burst into laughter as I removed the towel.

Instead of the subtle and natural looking highlights I expected, the various small blobs had congealed into one giant Peppy Le Pew stripe across my forehead. BRIGHT WHITE!


As their peals of laughter rang throughout the bathroom, I grabbed my roomies leftover brown dye and dumped it on my head, hoping against hope to return myself to something close to what I’d been a mere half hour earlier. After another wait and wash, I was convinced I had come close to correcting the mistake.

Then my hair dried. The white patches were orange, my natural hair was spots of light and dark brown. I guess it was better to look like a calico cat than a skunk, but I was still horrified.

Yes, it looked just like that little guy right there. The next morning, I had it cut very short, figuring that most of the funky colored locks would end up on the floor. I was wrong. It looked even more obvious. I got back to work and people eyed me suspiciously. “Did you….” they would start to ask, then trail off, not sure what exactly I had done to myself.

On the way home from work, I bought a THIRD dye to try and correct everything. When I got home, my newly-brown haired roomie was sitting with a neighbor from down the hall.

“Sweet Jesus!” she said.

“Don’t worry, I got dye!”

“I don’t think you should dye your hair three times in 24 hours honey…” she said, squeezing my crunchy hair between her hands “Yeah, this is really dry. Let me call Scott” Scott was the flamboyant hairdresser who lived downstairs. She left a message for him, and I called my mom–herself no stranger to hair dying disasters.  

“What should I use?” I asked, stressing that I was to come home for a family reunion the next day.

“Son, you better use the yellow pages, and quick. But don’t come home looking like that.”

As I promised to do just that, Scott returned our neighbor’s call and promised to see what he could do as soon as he got home from Atlanta. So, at 11 PM that evening, Scott saved my hair with a henna rinse and a firm admonishment to “Call him first” if we ever got the “itch to play pretty parlor” again.

Advice that now rings very loudly through my brown ears.