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To pluck or not to pluck



I pulled the toothbrush out of my mouth and leaned closer to the mirror, my jaw hanging stupidly open. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I turned my head this way and that, my eyes narrowing in disbelief. It wasn't the little dribble of toothpaste, snaking its way down my chin, that had my stunned attention. It was one silver hair just above my left temple.


Have you seen those commercials? "I want laugh lines." "I want more laugh lines."


I agree with the principle. Gray hair and laugh lines are a part of life - something to be celebrated, not dreaded.


But not when you're barely 40.


"I think you should pluck it," one friend suggested over coffee the next day.


"Don't do it," the other warned. "You'll be sorry. People go bald that way."


I covered my head with my hands in an instinctive, protective gesture. If I am going to lose my youth, I don't want to have to wear a wig, too.


"It's only one hair," my husband said a few days later when I finally got up the nerve to tell him. One hair. He's a fine one to talk. What hair he has left is so gray not even "Just for Men" will colour it.


"You could pull it out," he suggested, when he realized his first comment wasn't welcome. This, from the man who cringes when I say I have to pluck my eyebrows. I learned the hard way that plucking my eyebrows was the way to go. Waxing just doesn't work, not for me. The last time I waxed, I tore off the little muslin strip and discovered I had accidentally coated significantly more of my eyebrow than I wanted to. I walked around looking like a moron for three weeks until it grew back in.


Every time I pluck my eyebrows, my husband disappears. I made him watch once, just so he knew what I go through for him. But plucking out my gray hair is not on my list of options. Baldness is not on my list of options. I gave him a scowl.


"Well, then, you could dye it."


Having had more than enough of his not-so-helpful suggestions, I snarled.


Realizing his second idea was even less well received than his first, and wisely recognizing that his comments were quickly putting him in physical danger, he told me I was beautiful, and he loved me. He wasted no time retreating to a safe distance, saving me the embarrassment of an assault charge.


I slunk back into the bathroom and took another look at the rogue hair that was standing at attention on the side of my head, like a little soldier at his first formal inspection.



Dye it. What a ridiculous idea. A whole box of hair dye to colour one single, gray hair.



I waited a week to see what would happen. Maybe it was an anomaly. Maybe the day my kids stressed me enough that I wanted to run away from home caused the poor, little follicle to expel its lifetime supply of pigment in protest.


Maybe there wouldn't be another one.


I tried to convince myself it was true. After years of highlighting, I only recently decided to have my hair cut short enough that I had only my natural colour. My Russian and Spanish heritage gave me hair as dark as you can get before being called black. I was proud of it. "Not a gray hair on my head," I told my hair dresser, not two months ago. Maybe that was the problem. As they say, pride cometh before a fall.


A week after my shocking discovery, there was no sign of a little friend appearing to keep the first interloper company. I heaved a sigh of relief. It was one of those little freaks of nature, that was all. Maybe it was a drip of paint. Maybe it was just the way the light in the bathroom reflected off my glossy tresses.


Nothing to worry about, then.


I blissfully went about my life, secure in the knowledge that old age is still a long way away.


And then I found another. A week after that, I found another. My period of denial was over. There was simply no point in refusing to acknowledge the truth. The problem with gray hair is it's contagious. Highly contagious. You never just get one. It's like chicken pox. One day, you have a little bump. The next morning you wake up and you're covered in them.


But chicken pox goes away. Gray hair doesn't.


One day soon, I will have enough gray hair to justify the cost of a box of hair colour. Maybe soon after that, I will accept that fact that I am getting older. Maybe I'll welcome those laugh lines, after all. I will hobble along with my cane and smirk at all the young women prancing down the street, oblivious to their future. I will sit in my rocking chair out on the porch and cackle in glee when I see some young innocent tossing her soon-to-be-gray hair over her shoulder.


If I'm lucky, I will be gray for years longer than I wasn't. And if I'm that blessed, that's something worth celebrating.




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I plucked. :blush:


Then I dyed :sEm_blush:


Now I'm lovin' the gray :shakinghead:


I'm sure I'll be back to dyeing soon. I need the psychological boost, I have kids to keep up with!

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I figure I've earned every gray hair and I'm going to wear them proudly like my mom did--no cancer-causing hair dye in this family. My mom had a glamor do done for my brother's wedding and as she exited the salon a customer came in breathlessly and said, "I want my hair frosted just like hers!!!" And my mother laughed out loud and said, "God did this job, honey."

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There's nothing wrong with a woman 'rinsing' as my grandma would say...'rinsing' strips all the accumulated build-up and lets our beautiful color shine through.


BTW, it wasn't until she was 86 that she admitted that this 'rinsing' was actually Miss Clairol color. :) We redheads tend to show white hairs early on...so we need to 'rinse' regularly .....and floss to, for that matter. :24:

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