Sunday, March 28, 2010

On the Topic of White

This morning I realized I have not addressed my hair for months.
I am sporting a mop.
I like it.
It falls here and there and takes on a different look daily.
But today I realized I might be looking a bit too moppy.

"Is it professional?" I thought.

Umm, no.

When I talk to people, I notice their eyes drift upwards.
Actually,
specifically,
when I talk to women, I notice they are talking to the white strands in my hair. Taken individually, these white strands are rather pretty. They are pure in color and glisten when the light hits.

In 1995, I remember stopping at a store in the middle of nowhere, Alaska, and the proprietress was a petite, beautiful woman with enormous green eyes, fair unlined skin, and a mane of snow white hair. She stood out in that simple setting. In my mind the whiteness of her hair echoes the snow of the landscape, but it was summer, and the roads were lined with the pink blooms of the ubiquitous fireweed and the landscape was green.

Having white hair marks you.
It labels you as someone who you are and at the same time, as someone who you are not.
There is no white hair among the women I work with. Not a strand.
And yet, I am one of the youngest.
And when the eyes drift upward, it labels me.

I work with an elderly gentleman, a nonagenarian.
He thought I was 28.
I'll add 10 years for kindness. Another 5 for eyesight. A few more lighting. But then, I guess I'll have to subtract a few, because we work up close and personal, face to face--so I can give him the support and facilitation he needs to reach his goals.
When I told him my age, he smiled with delight and said, "Why you're middle aged!"
Which made me wonder if my age put me in the category of available women.
Especially when I asked him what he was going to do for his upcoming birthday and he said, "Start chasing women!"
He is very polite, doesn't have a mean bone in him, a great conversationalist, open-minded, makes me laugh, and always tells a good joke.
Not a bad catch when you think about it.

When I went to my high school reunion, the men looked twice as old as the women. They had gray hair and weathered skin. I came home and told T to start using face creme. Hah. He doesn't see the point. But, then what would you expect from a man who spends 10 hours riding over 100 miles "just for fun" on a mountain bike.

I haven't figured out the point of my white hair to me. Whether I should pay attention to the occasional white strand, knowing that proliferation is in my future. Or forget about it, as I usually do.

It's just when the eyes drift upward, and the subtle subtext of the interaction turns to what's on my head, that I remember I look a little different.

There's not a whole lot of white out there anymore.

(Note: This post is dedicated to Misty, who on her most recent birthday, reconfirmed herself as a brave and embracing woman.)

1 comment:

Cody the Clydesdale said...

this was an awsome post. I wish i could have problems with my hair other than having no hair:)