In the past year or so, my grey hair has gone from novelty to reality, from the odd rogue strand to a topic even new friends now feel it is appropriate to comment on: “Wow, you’re really young to have so much grey hair!” or the more considerate, “I really like that you have some grey in your hair!” In other words, “grey” is quickly becoming a definitive adjective in describing my hair colour.
None of this is particularly surprising in and of itself. My mother was leaning towards more grey than brown by her late 30s, like her sisters, and, as late-night slumber party whisperings declare, you inherit your hair woes or blessings from your mom. What’s more shocking, really, is the fact that I’m now beginning to look like a version of my mother that I actually remember.
I’ve had a pretty fraught relationship with my hair. My grandfather was a barber, so for years he cut my hair. Given that his barbering repertoire was developed in the 1950s and limited to men’s styles, this meant my hair was cut into a slightly longer version of the popular men’s bowl cut. In an era and neighbourhood in which young femininity was defined around bobbles and banana clips, the bowl cut did nothing for my sense of self. I was forced into a vague tomboy-dom that I didn’t have the moxie or athletic chops to really own. When I hit puberty, I finally convinced my father to let me get it cut at a real salon, but my hair betrayed me. Along with acne and growing pains, I developed an irregular curl-pattern that I battled valiantly (though according to remnant snapshots largely unsuccessfully) with a round brush and blowdryer. By my mid-teens, exasperated and inspired by Winona Ryder in Reality Bites, I hacked it all off, doused it in too much gel and began a spate of hair dyeing that would last into my 20s: orange, red (more fire engine than handsome shade of auburn), dark brown almost black, a regretful period of badly-striped highlights, finally followed by an acceptance of the mousey brown that so many tow-headed kids grow into. After eking out some sort of truce in this decades-long battle (though I’ve yet to make peace with my hair’s odd curliness), I can’t quite fathom the fact that it is changing on me again and I don’t know how to respond. » Read the rest of this entry «