One day, at the ripe old age of 26, I was looking in the mirror for new zits to pop when I noticed something gleaming in my hair. After several minutes of hunting (it was a slippery little devil), I finally found it…a silver, sparkly strand of hair. I said to myself, “This can’t be a gray hair; it’s too glittery. Look at how it catches the light so magically. Gasp! Maybe it means I’m part fairy!”
It is a sign that you are in the deepest of denials and the most psychotic of delusions when you’re a grown woman and your reaction to something is “maybe it means I’m part fairy!” Another sign of my denial and delusion? I kept referring to the hair as “silver” without ever making the connection that “silver” is a polite way of saying “gray” or “your hair makes you look like the fifth Golden Girl.” So, there I was: 26 and in extreme denial about my first gray hair. Yet, since it was only a single hair, and it didn’t seem to grow back after I plucked it, I quickly forgot about it.
I forgot about it until a few weeks ago, when my scalp gave birth to that silver hair’s babies. Just weeks shy of my 28th birthday, I caught a glimpse of not one, not two, but eight gray hairs sprouting up like something out of the Stephen King novel I just made up, The Woman Who Went Prematurely Gray (a prequel to Cujo).
Quick cut to me sobbing, taking glugs of $6.00 champagne, while screeching the words to “Forever Young” and attempting to pluck out every single one of the offending hairs. Unfortunately, the champagne and the crying made my aim a bit off, and I ended up plucking 10 perfectly innocent young hairs for every gray one I murdered. This frustrated me, and I hissed at myself in the mirror, “You look like Betty White’s older sister Betty GRAY!”
I called my mom to bemoan my existence as a withered old crone. “It’s not my fault,” she said. “You got those genes from your father.” You’d think she would have been more concerned that her youngest, HER BABY, was going through a crisis, but no. House Hunters International was on, and that was much more interesting to her because the couple was looking at mansion tree houses in British Columbia. (Or something. I couldn’t really hear her over the sound of my own weeping.)
I then decided the gray hairs were karma. I have wished male pattern baldness on all of my men enemies (or, as I like to call them, my “menemies”) and laughed gleefully when I saw more and more of their bare scalps gleaming in the sun. The hair gods probably decided it was time for me to have a little of my own bitter medicine. (It’s probably also karma that as my head hair is getting whiter, my moustache hair is getting thicker and darker). I’m OK with karma. I deserved it, and besides, just as my menemies can always wear toupees, I can always dye my hair. What really has me concerned are my eyebrows. I have already found some white hairs where my unibrow wants to be. My actual eyebrows can’t be too far behind. And I have inch-thick black eyebrows. If I get white hairs in them, it’ll look like I’m wearing two skunk pelts on my face.
There are a lot of supposedly comforting clichés about aging (mainly blah blah blah age is just a number yada yada yada). My recent bout with aging has taught me the truth of these clichés. It also reminded me that I should appreciate things while I have them because they won’t always be there, and I am working hard at appreciating what I have. Now that the cold, veiny, gnarled hand of old age is reaching for me in my twenties, I’m appreciating what little time I have left with my perky boobs. I have been a D-cup since junior high. I know it’s just a few months or weeks or even days before my boobs betray my youth and abandon their rightful place on my chest for some location near my belly button, at which point the strongest titanium underwire in the world won’t be able to restore them to their former heights of glory.
Now that I think about it, I don’t even know why I’m even sending this to HelloGiggles. AARP has a magazine, right? Since I’m pulling a reverse Benjamin Button (translation: aging normally), I should start writing for them.
Read more from Mandi Harris here.
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