Sunday, March 24, 2013

And Now the Answer You've All Been Waiting For...

So what is the question to this whole blog? It's whether or not grey hair will affect your love life. In some ways, yes. You don't attract young'uns as perceived peers (but you still attract them all the same). Some shallow men will want a checklist of features that you would have to work a lifetime to maintain (see a Real Housewife series). But those are unrealistic standards that the best salon and plastic surgeon can't live up to.

In so many ways that you wouldn't realise, grey hair DOES NOT affect your love life. After one week on OK Cupid I went on a first date. Typical coffee date on a Sunday afternoon with a nice, really interesting guy. I took a pic right before I left to meet him (hence the car backdrop). The two-tone hair never came up and there were no lingering looks about it. I mentioned it briefly and there was really no reaction about it. Why? Because it doesn't matter. After nearly three hours of conversation, I left to run some errands. Oh, and I got asked out for dinner next Friday.

So there you go, ladies. It really doesn't matter. You don't have to change anything about your life when you go grey. You don't lose your desirability, you don't lose your youth. You don't have to put your life on hold waiting for the stripe to grow out; you keep living as though this is the best day of your life. What you DO lose is the high cost of hair color (add up the thousands you have spent on hair salon color, DIY kits at home, color correctors, etc.). Most of all, you gain an authenticity; a self-love for what God gave you. You become fully a woman because you love and accept yourself for you. This is further enhanced by the fact that this self-love expands outward and you have so much more love for others. I spend no time looking at women's hair unless I want to pay them a compliment. I think I've increased the level of compliments I give daily five-fold.

So if you're feeling self-conscious about yourself- don't. Whatever you choose to do will be accepted. And I'm living proof of that.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Online Dilemma

I have stated before my dislike of online dating. I find that it's (obviously) not organic and it leaves people at a distance. It also is easy access to a lot of people looking to date and it gets your mojo kickin', which is good. Since I don't want to pay for Match I thought I would just have an online profile at OK Cupid just in case I did want to go the online route. OK Cupid seemed like a good option because A) it's FREE and B) it's geared toward nerds like myself.

Now the critical juncture of an online profile is the user name. This is not something I especially excel at and after realising that EVERY user name I could come up with was already taken (including the addition of 'asaurus' at the end of each), I finally settled on my favorite whiskey. Another 30 minutes spent writing little quips about what I'm all about and answering somewhere around 200 questions (it never ends!), I finally call it a day.

The next day I wake up to 8-10 messages. This is a respectable number and I wasn't really looking for any but that is my daily average. Now this is the part where you will learn why I don't like online dating. Most of the guys were perfectly nice and normal. I have a date with one of them this weekend. Other normal guys let chit chat go on for far too long and then you can't help but lose interest. And then, #thud#, the others. One had a user name that makes him seem like some good little Christian man. Cool. He's good-looking too. He's also poly amorous and into some really kinky stuff- eek! Others are looking for a hook-up- nope. Others are writing me to tell me how much they work out and have nothing intelligent to say... nope again.

Then there are the (what is the PC way to put this) socially-challenged lot. The most common way a guy can guarantee getting blocked (if none of the above-mentioned methods haven't already applied) is over-eagerness. Ugh. Case in point, one guy rambled his whole life story and why we'd be a great match. This was the introduction email. I felt overwhelmed and let that one die. Another had a perfectly nice opening email and I responded. The next email gave me three phone numbers, times to be reached at any of them, and assurance that whichever phone I called (and to PLEASE call!!) he would return my call within the hour. Nope.

A question I hear discussed on the Silver Sister's Club is whether you should use a picture of your dyed hair or your skunk stripe. I mentioned this before but I think it bears repeating. Use your current picture. Even if you have a current picture mixed in with a bunch of older pictures when you're styled and coiffed with freshly dyed hair, you don't want to risk the guy feeling deceived about your appearance. I say risk rejection upfront instead of in person. So the only pics of me are with my skunk stripe.

I had one guy- intelligent, cute, interesting and very interested writing me. Huh, looks promising. And then he tells me how he likes older women. I scratch my head, not feeling like 38 is 'older.' I look at his profile and it says he's 34, not exactly young enough to be my son, so I call him on it. Oops! he forgot to update his profile and he's really 24. Good grief.

Okay yes, the silver will affect every aspect in your life in some way. I had my opinion of grey hair before I stopped the dye and I can't expect the world to become enlightened overnight. But the biggest change comes from the fact that I stopped coloring for ME. I had been coloring my hair for everyone else, or at least what I thought was expected or wanted of me. And the biggest change is that I have a peace and comfort in myself- even with my awkward hair. And I'm kind of addicted to this doing things for me business. It kind of kicks ass.

So regardless of what some guy thinks of grey hair, they see ME, not some airbrushed girl who is afraid to state an opinion or pretending to be whatever the guy wants so he'll choose her. I don't have to play games because I'm very much myself. Instead of spending all this time trying to anticipate what strangers might possibly like, I can spend more time being a good person and dedicating myself to things that matter and are authentic. I chose me and that's really all that matters.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Family... Sigh

One thing that will be an inevitable part of anyone's journey in the greying process is to deal with family. Sigh... The sigh goes with it and will always go with it. Unfortunately you will have at least one close family member that just zings you and criticizes your choice to go grey. They will think they are doing you a favor (at best), but will most likely be so used to taking your relationship for granted that they will have no idea about boundaries.

My biggest boulder is my dad. I call him my boulder because with these crazy negative voices we have going on in our heads, there are usually some origins. One of those origins is my father. He is not known as a cuddly or congratulatory man. In fact, he has never said a word of praise about me to my face. Rumor has it others have heard positive comments said about me from my dad, but the stoic Midwestern way of fathers is to keep said information from the true recipient. Unfortunately praise is among  a stack of necessary skills that my dad is missing.

So it is with little surprise that when my father saw me for the first time since I stopped coloring a comment was made about grey hair looking "old." I have no doubt I brought up my hair in some context (because I freakin' LOVE my hair). However, there was nothing constructive about his comments. I told him I look younger with it and that I get compliments all the time. He said anyone that would compliment me on my hair was crazy. There was a slight back peddling on his part to say that ANYONE complimenting another on their HAIR was just plain weird. It ended in me telling him that I could care less of his opinions on my hair so his comments were moot.

I felt pretty low after leaving there, and every silver sister has had a similar experience. As one sister said so well, "the world isn't ready for us" (thanks Elo!). But there is a great light at the end of this dark tunnel. When you are feeling the aftershock of being blasted, it's a great opportunity to re-evaluate what control another person has over your feelings. Is it a stranger that made that comment? Did you respond? More importantly, did you tell said stranger that they were out of line? And what about your family or friend. Did that person make you feel like you were 8 years old? How did you respond?

I will say this: what started out feeling like a really low point and a step backward became a real opportunity for growth. I took that opportunity to once and for all evaluate why one man's limited viewpoint would affect me. Once I gave that a hard look, the feeling dissipated.

I guess the main thing to remember with all of these posts is that the experiences I have in this process are the same experiences that every silver sister has. There are highs and lows to the whole process. Some may see this as a low point but it was a great triumph for me; it finally made me deal with a much deeper issue and I came out stronger than ever. The world may not be ready for us but they will have to adjust.