• Carmen Marie Fabio

Silver lining

Shutterstock photo copyright PermaProcess

I got my first grey hair when I was 19 and was able to reason it away by blaming the Pre-Calculus course I was then enrolled in, thus setting a pattern of stubborn defiance that exists to this day. And though my boys are encouraging me to 'go for it' every time I consider halting the colour treatments and routine root touch-ups, something leads me back to the hair-dye aisle to load up on whatever brand is on sale.

Going grey/silver/salt & pepper is a huge step in the aging process, and while I applaud those who have embraced it and have not succumbed to the servitude of Miss Clairol, I'm not yet that brave. Denial is greatly underrated.

It’s rare that I have to admit I’m more of a chicken than my kids but back in April, two of my boys took part in the Hudson Fire Department Shave2Save cancer fundraiser with my middle son shearing off over three years’ worth of growth that reached well past his shoulders. And while they dared me to join them, I invoked parental immunity.

My eldest recently started Cegep and opted to finally cut his much admired long bronze-coloured hair in favour of an easy-to-maintain short style. Another dare for me to cut resulted in another refusal.

In failing to meet the challenge of three kids who’ve undergone their own radical hair transformations, going grey is – ironically – the one way for me to save face. In my family, we take our challenges very seriously.

I know many women who colour their hair regularly to hide the grey and the mere question of whether they would ever consider letting nature take its course has, more often than not, resulted in a tight-lipped grimace accompanied by a wicked stink-eye.

So high is the esteem to which some of us hold hair, I recently discovered it can also, in extreme cases, extend to the hair of others. When I dropped my son off at a friend’s party last Saturday, the same day of the dramatic cut, I began to drive away before I instinctively braked and lowered my window… just in time to hear the host scream, “You cut your hair!!”

The lobbed ponytail, with the impressive weight of a small dead mammal, sits in a baggie waiting to be donated to the CanDonate Hair Program for wigs for cancer patients.

My hair has been every colour from blond to a black that was so black, it had blue highlights like Lois Lane straight from the comic book pages.

“What do you think?” I once asked my ex-boyfriend after I’d hennaed my hair red as a teenager.

“It looks like you’ve been shot in the head.”

That’s only one of the reasons he became an ex.

The point, though, being – grey is just another colour so there’s really nothing to be afraid of, right?

There are a number of Facebook pages dedicated to the topic with names like, ‘Going Gorgeously Grey’, ‘Going Grey, Looking Great’ and ‘Going Grey Gracefully.’ And yes, on all these women, the grey hair looks amazing.

Maybe it’s simply a matter of marketing. If I stop calling it ‘grey’ and instead give it a cooler name like ‘titanium’ or ‘chrome’ or, ooh… ‘plutonium’ then it’ll look just fine.

So, if you made that great leap across the Revlon fence and it went well, drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you.

If it didn’t go so well, I don’t want to know.

Remember, denial is greatly underrated.

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