Going Gray

I wrote this before the pandemic hit. Seems more relevant than ever now that we can’t visit our local salon.

Five years ago, I decided to stop dying my hair and go gray. I didn’t mean it as some sort of a political statement. I was just tired of sitting in a chair at my hair salon for an hour (as well as to pay an exorbitant fee) with glop on my head knowing that three weeks later I would have to repeat the routine. My mother dyed her hair well into her 80s, although she used kits she could use at home. I was tired of the whole routine. Several of my friends had gone gray and they looked fabulous. So I decided to follow suit.

Suddenly gray is in. Lady Gaga showed up at the Golden Globes with tresses that were blue-gray, encouraging others, even young women, to follow suit. I wasn’t trying to be part of a trend. I just decided that continuing to dye my hair was a form of deception – trying to convince people that I was younger than I am. I’m proud of how old I am – 70, if you are asking. And I didn’t feel the necessity to trick others into thinking that I am younger because of the shade of my hair.

My hairstylist in New York was aghast when I told her I no longer wanted to color my hair. My natural color is dark brown close to black, and because black dye ends up looking flat and fake, she had been taking me lighter. I no longer recognized my light brown self. What was next? Becoming a platinum blond? No way! It didn’t feel real or honest to me.

It took some time for my hair to grow out. And, yes, there were comments, from friends and family. But I stuck to my plan. I changed my wardrobe, favoring gray, black, and navy blue outfits. My gold jewelry was tucked into the back of my drawers in favor of those silver pieces from Tiffany’s. 

What happened next took me by surprise. I began  to receive compliments from those I encountered, even strangers. It seems that like the show, Orange is the New Black, gray is now the new choice for hair color. 

It’s about time. Our time.

Top photo: Bigstock

About Charlene Giannetti (379 Articles)
Charlene Giannetti, editor of Woman Around Town, is the recipient of seven awards from the New York Press Club for articles that have appeared on the website. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Charlene began her career working for a newspaper in Pennsylvania, then wrote for several publications in Washington covering environment and energy policy. In New York, she was an editor at Business Week magazine and her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines. She is the author of 13 non-fiction books, eight for parents of young adolescents written with Margaret Sagarese, including "The Roller-Coaster Years," "Cliques," and "Boy Crazy." She and Margaret have been keynote speakers at many events and have appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and many others. Her last book, "The Plantations of Virginia," written with Jai Williams, was published by Globe Pequot Press in February, 2017. Her podcast, WAT-CAST, interviewing men and women making news, is available on Soundcloud and on iTunes. She is one of the producers for the film "Life After You," focusing on the opioid/heroin crisis that completed filming on February 1, 2020. Charlene divides her time between homes in Manhattan and Alexandria, Virginia.