I found her in the bathroom. She wore tin foil in her hair, rubber gloves, and a pair of safety glasses. She leaned close to the mirror, squirting what looked like molasses into her hair.
“What’re you doing?” I asked.
“I’m coloring my gray hairs.” Then she slapped me silly with a L’Oréal box and warned me never to tell a soul what I saw.
God help me.
The first thing you should know about my wife: she will gut me like a fish and let me bleed on the kitchen floor after reading this.
Second: her hair is not gray. Not even slightly. This silver hair she’s worried about is actually a faint streak—visible only to government calibrated nuclear nanoscopes.
And truth be told, I love the streak.
But then, I love gray hair. The same way I like crow’s feet, love-handles, beer-guts, muffin-tops, cracked heels, and—I’m being serious—unwanted upper-lip hair.
Look, I don’t know when TV experts decided that we needed to get plucked, augmented, or painted. But these experts deserve to be herded into the town square and dipped in a bucket of L’Oréal Natural Midnight.
Who said gray was bad? And who said round bodies, lanky legs, big feet, hawk noses, wide hips, flat backsides, small chests, reading glasses, and turkey necks were bad?
You want to know something? The smartest woman I ever met had cotton hair and wrinkled skin. And just before we closed her casket, I got to touch that dandelion-fuzz one last time.
She was the same lady who once said, “The greatest thing any child can grow up to be is themselves.”
Well, not that it matters what I think, but I wish our children knew more about themselves; less about calorie counting. I wish they learned more about swatting gnats; less about European swimsuit models.
I know a girl who got made fun of during school. They teased her because of her size. So, she went on a diet.
At first, it was success. Folks couldn’t believe how much weight she was losing. Soon, her knee joints started protruding. Her hair started falling out. Her weight fell into double-digits.
Her parents sent her to rehab. The doc asked why she refused food.
She answered, “Because I’m ugly.”
Ugly my cuss.
This world has gone plastic. And if you don’t believe me, just take a gander at the magazines in the checkout aisles.
I don’t know how to get things back to how they used to be. But I wish our girls knew that imperfections are the best sort of perfection there is.
And I want the woman in my bathroom to know something: I like every damn hair God gave her—including her streak of gray.
And I hope I live to see a full head of them on her pretty head.
Call an ambulance.