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One Day, I'll Surrender to the Gray


I got my first gray hair at 16.

It wasn't entirely unexpected. My dad -- who also went prematurely gray -- had dyed his hair since I was a child.

Even so, it made me nervous to find that silvery strand, seeing decades' worth of hair dye in my future, stretching out in expensive hair salon appointments as far as the eye could see.

I decided, at first, to treat it as fun. I dyed my hair shades of red, brown, black and blond. Sometimes I'd have highlights, other times none. The experimentation was a game, and for most of my teens and 20s, I enjoyed it.

I never minded if someone found out I had gray hairs because I knew, and I knew they knew, too, that no matter how many gray hairs I had, I was young. Plus, I was dying my hair, so no one knew unless I told them.

"Why don't you let it grow out?" my husband asked when we first started dating. "It might look cool."


I laughed, certain that he didn't want to date a woman who looked 20 years older than she was any more than I wanted to be one.

As I got older, though, things changed.

It wasn't quite so funny to know that, left unmolested, my hair would make me look older than I was. Eventually, I hit the age where my contemporaries started going gray, too, and the advanced stage of my gray hair made me feel less unique and more frumpy.

Dying my hair became more of a chore, too.


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