The other day, as I leaned into the mirror to take note of my growing roots, I noticed a stray little gray hair reaching up towards the sky. Standing completely independent from the rest of my mane, the little guy was short and fat, much coarser than the rest of the crew. He desperately wanted up and out. I ran my fingers through my hair, hoping to calm the fellow down and join the rest of the brunette crew. Doing this suddenly unearthed several more gray buddies all lying dormant underneath my plume of bangs.
Twelve to be exact.
Flabbergasted, I stepped away from the mirror, wondering if you could see the gaggle of twisty and turny bristles from a distance. I couldn’t, but what I did see were the furrowing brow lines that now dissipated from my forehead a lot slower than they used to. I smiled, I squinted, I pursed my lips. After every gesture I could see the road map of lines clearly for the first time in my life.
What are these new additions? I didn’t order these! I want them gone. Right now!
It was at this precise moment I understood why Heidi Montag did what she had to do. Then I turned on E!, saw a picture of Heidi Montag, and had to relax my gag reflex.
It’s the Helen Mirren’s, the Ellen Burstyn’s, the Julie Christie’s that remind me that you can be fabulous with more than just twelve stray gray hairs. It’s watching 61 year-old Stevie Nicks get up onstage and twirl and sing just like she did thirty-five years ago. It’s watching 83 year-old Cloris Leachman blow away the competition on Dancing with the Stars. It’s looking at Tina Turner’s body and wondering how her 70 year-old legs make my 26 year-old legs look like 70 year-old legs. It’s seeing a picture of 57 year-old Beverly Johnson that makes Naomi Campbell look like her mother. It’s looking at 78 year-old Carmen Dell’Orefice and having my breath taken away. Ruby Dee, Kathy Bates, Meryl Streep (thanks Christopher!), Emmylou Harris, Mia Farrow, Bernadette Peters, Karen Allen, Jane Birkin, Anna Wintour, Lesley Ann Warren, Sigourney Weaver, the list goes on and on. These women saw age creeping in and said, “Bring it!” When Cloris Leachman wanted to reprise her role as Frau Blucher in the stage version of Young Frankenstein, creator Mel Brooks said she was too old. So you know what Cloris did? Challenge Mel to a duel to prove how spry she is. Who is the latest spokesmodel for L’Oreal? 64 year-old Diane Keaton. Who reportedly just dumped her younger lover to date an even younger man? 63 year-old Susan Sarandon.
In an age where reality stars, wannabes, and hanger-oners are setting the precedent for beauty, let’s remind ourselves to think outside of the box. Class and allure don’t come in neatly nipped and tucked packages, but rather in the confidence of excepting who you are and the changes that come with.
And in the meantime, I’ll let those little gray hairs continue on with their quest.