Thursday, May 01, 2008

Oh My God! I'm Going to Die!

K and I were in the car the other day and looking in the mirror while temporarily stopped I noticed something that horrified me to the bottom of my soul. Nestled there amongst the rest of my flowing, multi-colored locks was an evil little gray hair. I pulled it forward to get a closer look just to make sure I wasn't confusing blonde with gray. After all, my hair is a mix of everything from blonde to red to black, but this was definitely gray. It glittered silver in the late afternoon sun and something inside of me died.

That sinking feeling was a bit of surprise to me. I've never worried about going gray. The people on my dad's side start going gray early, but get this really nice pure white or gun-metal gray. I'd be happy with that hair. On my mom's side, they just don't go gray. They die in their nineties with more black hairs than white. Besides, I'm not a vain man. I don't mind looking old as long as everything works normally.

Going bald was my real coiffure-based fear. My hair line in the front has decidedly thinned and receded in recent years, and, unlike some, I don't have the head to bald gracefully. Andre Agassi, Michael Stipe, and Bruce Willis just shaved their heads and look cool with their baldness. If I go bald enough that wearing it a little long starts to look weird, I'll be forced to showcase my oversized ears and monstrously large head in all of its lumpy, misshapen glory. I've always liked wearing my hair a little longer because it minimized the appearance of my ears and evened out my cranium's natural lack of symmetry.

And yet I've been able to stoically watch as my receding hairline became more and more obvious while this little gray hair shook me to my emotional foundation. (Actually it was about 3 or 4 inches long. I've let my hair grow out again.) Perhaps it's the suddenness of the discovery of a gray hair already that size as opposed to the nearly geological creep of my increasing baldness that explain the difference in reaction. The color gave me no time to come to terms with my aging locks while the thinning crept up on me slowly, making me accustomed to the idea but never giving me enough of a change to be sure until recently.

I guess if I really do start going gray I'll get my hair cut again. There's something about guys with long gray hair that seems a little sad to me, but not as bad as the guy who keeps that fringe of hair making its last stand on the back of his head in a ponytail.

10 comments:

JustinS said...

I think you're a lucky man. Some people who go gray manage to pull it off smashingly. I'm just working the thinning action.

And I can deal with that. Like you said, shaving your head is totally an honorable option.

But ED? Fuck that. That's grounds for assisted suicide.

Jacob said...

ED?

Courtney said...

If you start going seriously bald, just go ahead and shave it, misshapen head or not. Just don't let it grow long in the back or you'll end up with a skullet.

Mickey said...

Justin was just carrying the logic to the next step.

I wish I could pull off bald, but my head just wouldn't look right. May not get much choice in the matter anyway.

Jacob said...

Mickey: Still don't know what ED means. Plus, your hair is already so short that I think your overestimating the effect of baldness on your appearance.

Meaghan said...

Yeah, Mickey's pretty close as it is because his is so short. Jacob, I wouldn't worry about one gray hair. You may just end up having a couple mixed in and it not be a big deal. Actually, Ryan has had some gray hairs mixed in his brown locks for years. You don't really notice.

My dad had salt-and-pepper hair by the time he was 30. His dad had white hair as a senior. But I got my mom's hair, so it will be a while before the grays set in!

Chris said...

ED = when your dingy won't stand up.

Chris said...

I feel you, man. My hair color is so dirty that I think I'd have to have a lot of gray to notice it.

But, the receding hair line is starting to get out of hand. I also fear my head is too lumpy and misshapen to pull off a shaved noggin. It's possible that I'll try the super-close buzz cut sometime, though.

Either way, Meaghan's gonna leave me.

kate said...

My sister - my younger sister! - started going gray in high school. It was awesome. For me, not for her.

Julie said...

I want to tell you to suck it up and be a man because I've had random gray hairs since high school, but it seems that this is a genuine concern for you. As such, here's more practical advice...

You can always dye your hair. It's not only for women.