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How to Piss Off a Gray-Haired Woman in 5 Seconds or Less

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I’m a pretty easy-going person, but if someone is rude enough to make a disparaging remark about my gray hair, I can go from zero to pissed off in 5 seconds! If you WANT to piss off a gray-haired woman, here’s a primer to get you started.

Do you want to anger your gray-haired female friends, family members, and colleagues?

Things You Should NEVER Say to A Woman Going Gray

Here are some handy phrases to toss around to get the annoyed reaction you desire.

Never call a woman going gray grandma, it's a quick way to make her angry!

“Hey, Grandma!”

Just as you should never ask a woman “When is the baby due?” unless you see a baby actually emerging from her nether regions, please don’t assume everyone with gray hair is a grandparent.

People in their early teens can have gray hair, for gosh sakes! And mothers of young children can have gray hair as well (surprise!)

So, unless you see a cute baby holding on to her hand, and the baby has a shirt on it that says “I love Grandma” and the gray-haired lady has a shirt on that says “I love my Grandbaby,” it’s probably best NOT to assume!

Concerned about pissing off a woman with gray hair? Here are some things you should never say

“What Does Your Husband Think?”

What is this, the 1950s?

Of course, it depends on how it is asked. If it’s a chirpy, “Ooh, I love it – what does your husband think?!” – that will most likely not offend.

But when you grab her hand, with a concerned look on your face, and then whisper “What does your husband think?” it’s likely to evoke a pissed-off reaction.

And if the woman you are saying this to is Irish, start running! (Speaking as a hot-tempered Irish-American).

This woman is shocked to hear some of the things you should NEVER say to a woman going gray!

“You’re going to look old!”

Are you prepared to be hated for life? Why would you say such a thing?

And why are you such a sexist? It’s OK for men to have gray hair – they are considered “distinguished,” so why not women?

Also, why are you so ageist? You have some issues; get thee to therapy!

If you think women with gray hair look older than with dyed hair, check out this post: Gray Hair: Before and After and then get back to me with a sincere apology.

A handwritten apology to Mother Nature would also be in order. If you are so inclined, you might as well apologize to God as well, for thinking that you know more than Him.

“Do you need money?”

Things you should NEVER say to a woman going gray: do you need money?

If you say this while pushing crumpled bills into the hands of a woman who is going gray cold-turkey, prepare to be eternally despised!

(And yes, this happened to one of my friends – you can’t make this shit up!)

Why assume that a woman letting her roots show is in desperate need of cash? Maybe she wants to reclaim her health, her time and her natural beauty.

Also, it takes balls to go gray publicly, so instead of insulting your friend with gray hair, how about complimenting her on how freaking self-confident she is?

Do you disapprove of your friend's gray hair? Keep it to yourself and never say these things to a woman going gray!

“Men Won’t Find You Attractive!”

What kind of men are we talking about? If we are talking about shallow, dimwitted men – good riddance!

The majority of silver sisters I know have reported that most men seem genuinely complimentary of their gray hair. They see it as a sign of authenticity, and they appreciate its beauty.

Need proof? Check out Anne Kreamer’s book.

Now, if you want to know why a woman might choose to go gray, check out my post: The Surprising Truth About Going Gray

And, if this post wasn’t the kick in the butt that you needed to jump-start your good manners, might I suggest this book? Because pal, you need it!

If someone is saying rude things about your gray hair, this Manners manual is a must-read!

Please do me a favor and share this post to social media, as it helps me grow my audience and spread the word about our Silver Revolution!  And remember to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and Pinterest Feed for more gray hair tips and product recommendations. Thanks!

Check out my Amazon Shop for all your gray hair needs!

Related Posts:

How to Handle Rude Comments About Your Gray Hair

How to Go Gray

To Hell with Going Gray Gracefully!

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  1. I stopped coloring my dark, Latina hair on July 8, 2018. I went cold-turkey. So, calico with white temples! A male supervisor asked me when I planned to dye my gray roots! His ignorance, my personal business; potential HR issue. During the next 12 months: My mother sent me $100.00 to dye my hair (she thought I needed the money and it made her uncomfortable to have a gray-haired daughter); my husband loved the look; teen-aged girls told me my silver fringe was in style; guys of all ages started nicely, flirting; a few women said they liked my “color” but, couldn’t pull it off themselves; my brothers called me a “silver babe”; I let it grow past my shoulders (learned how to trim my orange ends with YouTube); bought hair accessories, new sunglasses and stylish fedoras; turned 65 on July 8, 2020 and still am enjoying the benefits of being an “elder” with pizzazz! Not dyeing my hair has been a choice that also helped me to freely say “No” to anything that does not bring me joy!

  2. I decided to go grey about 4 months ago. Reading about the experiences of other brave silver sisters has helped me realize I’ve made the right decision! I almost caved recently when I was invited to lunch by a guy I knew in high school 48 years ago. My first thought was “my hair is 5 different colors!” Calico is the perfect description! I feel so confident now.

  3. I love all the comments regarding going grey.. my problem is I have very grey hair but not much of it. Started losing my hair slowly a few years ago and actually don’t mind the grey but the balding is too much. So thin balding hair in the back & actual bald in the front. Now looking for a grayish wig . Still a journey for sure.

    1. Hi, Tina: I’m sorry to hear that you are going through that. I wish I knew of a great solution. I spoke to a lady yesterday who has alopecia, and she told me that (surprisingly) there aren’t that many human hair wigs in gray, but there’s a great variety of high-quality artificial gray hair wigs. Best of luck to you!

  4. I’m afraid I have a ‘comments’ problem harder than all of these………………. Last weekend we attended a family lunch for my husband’s significant birthday. (He chooses to color his hair.) I have fully transitioned mine over the last 9 months and LOVE IT!!
    My husband’s 15 year old autistic nephew,who keeps his distance from me for some reason, came up to me and said I looked ‘very old, and how old was I anyway’……When I asked him why he thought I was old, he said because of my grey (it is white sparkly!) hair- I ‘must be very old’. I explained,after refusing to tell him my age (6 months younger than his uncle) that even people as young as his brothers (early 20s) can have naturally grey hair. He couldn’t/wouldn’t listen and kept up the diatribe very loudly,in front of everyone.As he is reasonably high performing(attends high school),I keep hoping he’ll develop some social skills,or maybe it’s just about me (have had ‘you have a fat stomach’ previously). I have shown far more support for him and his condition over the years than other members of the family, but he focuses on me…..SIGH!

  5. Wendy Gaonac'h says:

    I live in rural France, where gray hair is talked about a lot. I’ve been here for 4 years, and recently dyed my hair after the second person commented that they thought I was my husband’s mother – now I look younger than my 56 years, and am quite fit, and the people saying this are my age but look 10 years older… since dyeing it, I’ve had skin issues, so it’s back to white. It’s fine with me, but it really bothers my French husband when people comment that they thought I was his mum! What can I say back? I’m Canadian, so overly polite! Thanks in advance for any and all advice!

    1. Tell them you dyed it platinum.
      Many people do. Maybe update your makeup for day and evening. Get a makeover at the beauty counter so your fabulous face becomes of more interest. Or suggest that the colour they are sporting might make them look like mutton dressed as lamb ?

    2. Maybe tell them that you are not as brave as they are dying theirs such a colour at their age ??

  6. Lori Eldridge says:

    “That’s all I need to know about you”. Because at that point, it IS all about them, not about you at all.
    For life-long friends, mothers, husbands….just give them time. I think at first, my mom was just shocked at how white I am! And my husband was not sold, but now he is my biggest supporter by far! I have a few friends who have transitioned to natural hair before me, but nobody is curly and platinum like mine.
    Here is what my husband has to say; “anybody older than us (I’m 45) where the female has no grey hair, it is fake”. (PS. Older people don’t “get” that the younger generations see the fake hair as a fake persona, so your older friends may disapprove but not realize how THEY are being read by everyone else)
    Surprisingly, new contacts and people I haven’t known long are super-complimentary! “You have beautiful natural hair”, “It suits you”, “you have such a cute face with that hairstyle”. I’m not kidding.
    So, your “oldie-but-goodie” friends just might need some time. Or, you might need different friends. Just sayin’

    1. Great points!

      I am shocked by what some women’s “friends” say to them. I have very strong boundaries with who I allow into my life and people who would say rude things to my face are NOT allowed in my friend circle.

    2. Michelle Roderick says:

      Love your husband’s comment about being perceived as fake by the younger people, an interesting insight. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. Ok, I need help with this one.
    Yesterday my friend since we’ve been 12 (am 56) touched my 7mo transitioning hair and said “if you would just put some blonde highlights in…” I explained that I have already tried to add some dark brown streaks in order to transition better, but anything I do just ends up turning brassy orange. She tried to pursue it but – thanks to your advice here – I said, not for the first time btw, that I’m very happy with it and will continue with the transition. She then said that her sister-in-law let her grey hair grow out and she looks stunning… but then she is model material anyway. Omg. So she is implying I am not, so I should just go back to colouring. I was speechless. I guess I just kind of brushed it off, but would greatly appreciate any ideas for a comeback to that!

    Am getting to the point where I feel like I should just hide from these haters (people I expect support from!) until it’s done. Because I really do like what I see, but am tired of the criticism and judgement. I feel that another poster got it right, it stems from their own insecurity about going grey (which I’m not asking them to do!), but it’s hurtful all the same.??

    1. Wow, Bea! How insensitive of your friend! Sorry you had to hear that. Is she always that tactless?
      A lady in one of the Facebook groups is from the South, and I love her advice. For the first comment, say “Why, bless your heart!” (The ultimate Southern indicator of disapproval). If she continues to be rude, you continue, “Bless your heart….. That really DID come out of your mouth! And OUT LOUD too….. .” Then, walk away.

      However, being a Northerner, I like my usual response. Which is just, “Wow” – and walk away. I’ve got some other good advice here: https://katiegoesplatinum.com/gray-hair-makes-you-look-older/

      Good luck and stay strong! I know you will 🙂

  8. These are great! Need some snappy comebacks.
    My friend asked me if I’m sure I want to go gray. Why not, I replied.

  9. Lr.Williams says:

    My least favorite: “I couldn’t do it. I don’t want to look like a witch/hag/old crone.”

    1. Yikes, who would be so rude?! I hope it was a stranger and not a “friend.” Sorry that happened to you.

      1. Lr.Williams says:

        I got that response from a friend: “I don’t want to look like a witch.” Later I got the same remark from a sister-in-law: “Gray hair makes women look like old hags.”
        These are responses from women I know and love, but it was before I ever went gray. It was when I was just thinking about it. I went gray despite these remarks because they reflect the insecurity of them, not me. Besides I am working on month 5 of no color. I am past caring about throwback beliefs.

        1. Wow! I am continually stunned by how rude some people can be and especially by those who are friends. I hate reading all these crappy comments to women but am glad that everyone is sticking to their guns.

      2. I got that from my husband! He insisted that I drop everything and go get it colored because he didn’t want to sit across from a gray haired hag at dinner every night.

        1. Patty, is he your former husband now? Because that is a terrible thing to say!

    2. I get that too! From my friends! And it’s funny (not really?), my friends and colleagues in their 60s say it most. And yet – for a few of them – their skin (which they don’t take care of) is what gives their true age away, along with their too dark, dyed hair.
      Am in transition (7 mos), and am happy with my decision (so far, lol – that’s for my 83 yr old mother who still dyes her hair and says “you can always go back” or “i hear a lot of women start dyeing their hair again after they’ve gone through the whole transition”.)
      But seriously… it’s So Liberating!
      And personally I believe that the things that make women look old is skin not being taken care of (including not enough sleep!), dowdy clothing and haircuts, and the wrong makeup. So hopefully I don’t fall into any of those categories. Am sure someone (my sister?!) will let me know, if so. ???

      1. Hi, Bea: I agree with you that skin matters sooooo much more than hair color when we get older. If one wants to look 10 years younger, forget the dark hair dye, and work on the skin, for sure!

    3. Gillian Osborne says:

      My reply (if I was feeling REALLY annoyed at them…or had PMT LOL) would be ”’Oh THAT bus is long gone honey!” and smile sweetly hahaha

      I haven’t been a slave to the dye since just before Christmas 2018 and am LOVING the streaks of silver and grey that are coming in and blending in fabulously as my previously-plum hair lightens up as the dye is fading.

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