Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Matchmaker, Matchmaker...

So I re-joined the dreaded I hate dating sites and even as introverted and lazy as I am about dating, I still hate Match. Frankly, I'd rather have Dr Perfect knock on my door by accident, fall instantly gaga over me and live happily ever after. And can we just throw in landed gentry to that? Wealth is not a factor but good real estate is hard to find these days!

Forget all the frogs one must kiss in order to get to said Mr Wonderful, and Match certainly has its share of those. I've been on dates where they are just hoping that YOU will be the one and offer to call their ex-girlfriends to vouch for how wonderful a catch they really are. Some of the more harrowing experiences I choose to not re-live right now, but suffice it to say I never look forward to online dating.

So I decided that I needed to know if the skunk stripe is a deterrent in my dating life or should I just take a sabbatical until the final grow-out (in a year). I signed up for one month to see. The question occurs of whether I should have pictures of myself  with lovely, coiffed color, or should I show how I look right now. Really, it becomes a question of whether you would like to risk rejection upfront, or risk it at a real meeting. Personally, I'd like the guy to know what he's dealing with instead of being nervous at the initial meeting and over-worrying about whether he feels duped.

So I left some of my original pics up but put this as my primary photo- see right. This proudly displays my skunk stripe in all its glory. There will be no surprises or "false advertising" but rather complete honesty and owning myself. Even though I've only been signed up for a couple of days (around Christmas too), I've had a few winks, a few emails, and even a few likes of this picture. It's only been a couple of days but this is a surprising and refreshing start!

And another thing, they're men my age (30s to early 40s), of all ethnicities, etc. So I will write more as time goes on. So far so good!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thy Name is Vanity

Have you ever just looked so good that you continually stare at yourself in the mirror? I have lapped that mild-level of vanity and now I stare at the skunk stripe constantly.

Before I decided to stop coloring, I was looking in the mirror to see how noticeable the stripe actually was. I was paranoid those little silvers would be glaring in any light. But now that it's coming in inches, I can't stop looking in the mirror waiting for more grey to come in. I find myself stealing off to the bathroom throughout the day and hoping that no one will be in there so I can stare at it in a different light. I try to imagine what shade of grey or silver or pewter it will be.

Does this sound crazy? Abso-freakin-lutely!! I would mostly attribute it to standing behind my decision to stop coloring and standing up for myself. See when it's noticeable to everyone out there that you have a significant line of demarcation, then the whole world is making a snap judgement about you. If you think about it too much, you start to feel very self-conscious and a bit silly at meetings, special events, walking the dog, or even at the grocery store. And this is not something that is a quick progression or just a bad day, this is the next 21 months of your life. Granted, it's only hard for several months and maybe not even that.

I'm over 3 months in and it hasn't been hard for some time but I think it's because I made this experience into a positive thing. Trust, I will have bad days and I'll probably whine to anyone who will listen, but it's not today. This is an unveiling of a new me; an authentic, God-given me. Each day brings the promise of new light, new color, new growth. And it's all a surprise because I won't know the outcome until all the dye is cut off.

I think many silver sisters approach it this way and we are lucky to have each other for support. You never know when someone is going to zing you or doubt your decision so you have to defend yourself for you. You also have to really back your decision too. When someone you love asks if you're afraid you'll look so much older than everyone else it doesn't help to stand there with a stunned expression on your face, you really need to know your response to comments like that.

But since this is about vanity, let's get back to... me. Just kidding, but not really... :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Skunk Tales

Transitioning to the silver puts you in the old mindset that you can just color your way until you reach the final grow out stage. My first trip to the hairdresser killed all that hope. I thought I could dye my hair silver until it grew out. First, that would have been a shock to my system. Second, no human can match the beautiful silver that nature has created.

I learned that there are highlights and lowlights that can be added but read the accounts of those that had them- they oxidize and turn orange-y. It also prolongs the grow out from 21 (read as twenty-freakin'-one) months, to 32 months. And let's not forget, that's another trip to the salon every 2-4 weeks. So then your options become grow out the skunk stripe or pixie cut.

I am a girl with very thick, abundant, and coarse hair, not unlike a horse's mane (except they don't need mass amounts of product to prevent frizzing). I also live in a swamp climate in the South. My fear is by going short I will look much like my dad in the '70s with his topiary-like afro. I doubt he'll relent to letting me post those photos so I'll use a stock photo (think Bob Ross). My unfortunate tangle with short hair came about in the seventh grade when I tried to do a Sheila E type cut with a tiny rattail on the side. Oh, too bad I accidentally incinerated any living proof of those moments. Maybe I can learn from my mistakes after all!

So a lot comes out of growing the skunk stripe. You try ridiculous methods to strip the color out of your hair (even industrial strength hair color removers did NOTHING), I take Biotin vitamins to try to make my hair grow faster, I mix baking soda with my shampoo to try to lighten the color, etc., etc.

At the end of the day, I made the decision to rock the skunk stripe. Do I 100% rock it every day? No. I was super self-conscious at first but now I've become so used to it that I forget it and when I do see it I become this uber-vain girl that just stares at and fluffs her hair. But just challenge me when I see this cute boy who used to love my red hair in a couple of weeks. Let's see how confident I am when I have a date and he doesn't know about my hair skunkitude. Will report on that when it happens!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Unspoken Question

Most women who go grey end up doing so in their 50s or later. Or so I think. But as I'm rapidly discovering, everything I know about silver hair is pretty much wrong.

When the urge to "consider" going grey cam over me, I started researching books- ANYTHING to ease the transition. I found two, one called Going Gray... by Anne Kreamer and another by Diana Jewell entitled Going Gray Looking Great. Those books helped me a lot by testing public perceptions about silver hair and showing real, beautiful women who have gone gray/grey.

With this new found information I tepidly ventured out to announce my decision to go grey. My sister was fearful I wouldn't be able to advance my career, my hairdresser informed me how much older I would look and how limited my options would be in hairstyles. Ironically, a creative hairstylist could only think of one cut that would suit silver hair. But the unspoken fear of going grey was how that would affect my dating life.

There has been little writing on this, especially on a woman who is prematurely grey, single, and wants to start a family. So apparently my future was to be of a spinster with a low career ceiling, a frumpy haircut, and a knitting bag. Seeing as I love to knit, my fate was sealed.

Luckily I found the Silver Sisters club- a forum where hundreds, if not thousands of women post about their experiences going grey. This site has been a lifesaver for me in many ways but there are few single women on there. And the few that have announced their singledom are at a different place in their lives than I am.

Now I have never been known as "the norm" before and always had different ideas about how life should be, but I wasn't sure that being the only singleton my age with silver hair wasn't just closing the gates forever on any hopes of having a family of my own.

I'm still not sure and that is why I'm doing this blog. Ideally, I would be an expert dater with legs to the ceiling and a body Victoria's Secret models would envy. Yeah, I'm not that girl. Truth is, I'm a good date and I have a good time, but I hate the energy expended to get the dates. All the joining, the matching, the idle chatter... not to mention weeding out the exponential number of frogs out there.

Ugh. But, this is a social experiment, and a huge growth for me so here goes!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Not a Ginger Anymore

I am a 38-year-old woman, fairly successful in my career, and quite transient (because of said career). I have been a ginger my whole life and also very proud of the fact that I was on the endangered species list, being that gingers will be extinct within 100 years. So why would I let my grey come out??                                                                                                           

Really it came about in a flash, but let me build the backup story a bit. I was getting ready for a fantastic trip to Scotland with my sister. I went to a highly rated salon and wanted to come out looking like Julianne Moore. But the stylist's "interpretation" had me coming out with blackish roots ombred into cherry-ish ends. Awful. No, wait, AWFUL. 3 hours later I left the salon and wanted to bury my head.

Now I hate conflict as much as the next person but I went back to the salon the next day to have it fixed. Another three hours later and I came out with chocolate brown hair. No!

I then went to ANOTHER salon, spent another $100 (did I mention the first place cost me $200??), and they gave me exactly what I wanted. So I went to Scotland, had a fabulous time, and two weeks later there are bright, gleaming silver stripes all over my head. Yes, 9 hours in a salon and $300 later, my color lasted two whole weeks.

But I had no intention at the time to stop coloring my hair. I was in a frenzy on a Sunday night wondering where I could get some root touch up (since Frederik Fekkai had just discontinued my 6R copper), and I had a sudden epiphany- why am I panicking over this? It wasn't because I was pristine about my appearance, it was because I didn't want anyone to know I had grey hair and that I wasn't really *gasp* 24.

Who was I kidding anyway, but I've held onto this belief that youth = better. That was the breakthrough when I decided to stop the hair dye madness and explore going grey.