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Inside: Some of the weird things that happen when you go gray!
Embracing your gray hair seems like such a straightforward thing to do.
One day you wake up, decide to stop dyeing your hair, and voila! You’ve made your choice, and you no longer need to spend a minute thinking about it.
As we all know, it’s a lot more complicated than that.
Ditching the dye and accepting your gray hair usually results in a lot of introspection and hand-wringing. “Have I made the right choice? Will I look older?”, etcetera.
All of those thoughts are normal and part of the process. As you can see in one of my most popular posts, going gray is a BIG DEAL! But there are also some unexpected side effects to going gray.
WEIRD THINGS THAT HAPPEN WHEN YOU GO GRAY
You Become a Selfie-Snapping Narcissist!
For years, when I was asked to provide a photo of myself, I never could find one that didn’t have either a family member or a friend in the photo with me.
I never took selfies where I was the ONLY person in the frame.
Now, I am the Queen of Selfies!
Oh my gosh, if you saw the camera roll on my iPhone….it’s embarrassing, really! But let’s face it – watching the grays come in is FASCINATING!
I don’t get tired of seeing my own gray hair, and I don’t get tired of seeing yours. Who could get tired of looking at gorgeous gray hair?!
Aside from selfies, do you also:
a) find yourself checking out your gray hair in the rearview mirror at stoplights?
b) Ask others to take pictures of the back of your head?
c) Constantly check the underside of your hair to see if more gray is coming in?
Please tell me it’s not just me!?
Men Come Out of the Woodwork!
If you are on Instagram, you’ve most likely experienced this – you start posting pix of yourself with gray hair and you get a FLOOD of male followers!
I didn’t realize that there is a large subset of men who find gray hair very attractive. Who knew?
And in real life, I’ve gotten more male attention than I have in years.
To be honest, after being the subject of often-unwanted attention from men since I was a young teen, I was kind of enjoying not being the object of their attention as much as the years went by.
But in the past 8 months since I ditched the dye? Forget it! I’ve had men flirt with me online and in real life to an alarming degree.
The other day at church, I could barely make it into the coffee hour because a man wouldn’t stop flirting with me. What the heck?
I just finished reading Anne Kreamer’s book, Going Gray. She had a similar experience. It seems that many men care more about authenticity and self-confidence than they do about hair color.
Your Chest Is No Longer What People Stare At!
“Why is she talking about my chest?”, you’re probably wondering!
Well, as most gals know, sometimes when you’re talking to a man, you will catch him talking back…to your chest. Ugh!
“Please look at my eyes”, right?!
Believe me, your gray roots will take the attention off of your chest, past your face (where it belongs) and straight to the top of your head!
It’s funny- I often catch both men AND women talking to the top of my head now. Considering I’m fairly tall, this often has a very funny effect – some petite ladies have to really crane their necks while they are talking to me.
They are too polite, for the most part, to say anything about my gray roots, but you can see that they are VERY focused on it.
Your Young Kids May Worry About Your Mortality
Let’s face it – in our culture, people still equate gray hair with age. If nobody dyed their hair, people would soon see that people of all ages have gray hair.
Mine started at 17, and I was probably 90% gray by 40. There are young women on Instagram who are embracing their grays in their 20s, and they look fabulous!
But our culture has conditioned us to think that only very old people have gray hair. That’s what 60 years of hair-dye advertising does to a culture!
I have a son who has high-functioning autism. He depends on me a lot, and when I first started going gray, it scared him a bit.
He equated gray hair with old age and asked me point-blank if my gray hair meant I was going to die soon.
I quickly reassured him that I was fine, and he is now one of my biggest gray-hair supporters.
Apparently, this isn’t unusual. I’ve read similar stories by other mothers and grandmothers on Instagram and Facebook.
If you have younger or special-needs children, this is a conversation that might come up while you are transitioning.
You Get Called Brave… A Lot
I’m sure this happened to you already, but it if it hasn’t yet, no worries… because it WILL happen!
Other women will tell you that you are “brave” to go gray. Sometimes, you’ll hear this more than once in the same day!
It seems to be one of the most common remarks people make when they see your transitioning hair.
I really think that most women who say this mean well. They really do!
In their eyes, it’s very brave to go gray in a culture that values youth and beauty above all else. It really does feel good to buck society’s insistence that we all color our gray hair.
It’s just that it gets TIRESOME to hear how “brave” you are over and over again.
“Did I rescue a child from a burning building? Did I single-handedly fight off the Grizzly Bear that was attacking the Cub Scouts?” No – I just stopped dyeing my hair. Jeez!
Also, it’s the tone of how it’s said. Sometimes, ladies will clutch your arm, look at you with concern, and THEN tell you how brave you are, which has the decided effect of making you feel like they think you are CRAZY and that you will look AWFUL.
Your Hair Becomes a Topic of Conversation
A lot of people will talk about your hair. Even if you are an extrovert, like me, it can be a little surprising to get so much attention focused on your appearance.
I have walked in on conversations about my hair at work and at church. I’ve been sitting at a large table full of people and caught people at the other end of the table talking about my hair.
It’s usually complimentary, thank goodness. If it wasn’t, that would be worse!
Your Friends Will Tell You that YOUR Hair Looks Great but THEY Could Never Go Gray
This conversation comes up a lot with my work colleagues and my friends. Personally, I don’t believe in trying to convince someone else to ditch the dye. They will know when they are ready.
So that’s what I tell them!
They will also tell me that my gray color is nice, but when their grays poke through, they look wiry or are a bad color.
Having gone through this, and having seen a bunch of other women’s transition stories, I tell them the truth – you won’t know what it looks like until the roots are at least two to three inches long.
I still don’t have a very clear picture of what I will look like fully gray – that’s part of the fun (for me!)
How about you?
Have you had any weird or unexpected side effects while transitioning to gray hair?
If you have, please comment below. I’d love to hear them!
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Did you enjoy this post? If so, you might also like:
A Gray Hair Glossary
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What Does It Mean To Be a Silver Sister?
The Surprising Side Effects of Embracing Your Grays