I’ve had deep smile lines since I was 17—either the sign of a happy childhood or my habit of grinning like a threatened chimp when I’m nervous—and have been contemplating my own death and general decay for long before that. Still, though, I was shocked and horrified to find my first grey hair this week.
I recently replaced all the light bulbs in my bathroom, which has made looking in the mirror a much more illuminating (and unappealingly educational) experience, so it could be that this snow white hair—which sprouts right from the front of my hairline—has been there for awhile and the lone flickering bulb above my sink has been too dull to catch it. (Oh, to go back to the glory days of that horror movie bathroom lighting!) Or perhaps it’s because I have a lot of nightmares (trauma can turn your hair white, you know) and it lost color while I was sleeping. Either way, there it was on Thursday, catching the light and winking at me, letting me in on its inside joke: “Everybody dies.” LOL.
I’m lucky to be on a group text thread with several of my closest women friends who I immediately messaged “Looking for words of support on this morning that I found my first grey hair.” Their responses, all encouraging, came quick: “In your pubes?” (No.) “I have some grey pubes.” (Okay.) “I have a chunk of grey pubes.” (Sounds very Bonnie Raitt.)
Thank you, ladies. Maybe, once the rest of my hair—both of head and of pube—turns grey, we can all live together like The Golden Girls... or the creepy women’s commune from Top of the Lake.
I wish I could say their support was all I needed to lean into my new stage of life. (“LET THEM ALL BE WHITE,” I’d scream, stirring the blood of Julian Assange into a cauldron.) A friend of mine in high school once had an inch-long hair growing out of her chin; she loved it and named it Juan Pablo—maybe in a perfect world, I could be like her. But the world is not perfect. The next time I went to the bathroom, the white strand—two toned like Cruella de Vil’s because of stark break in hair dye— only only seemed to blaze brighter.
I tried to grasp it by fingers, but—much like my youth—it managed to slip away. A few more tries and I reached for the tweezers. This, like the Restylane in my future, would not be a painless venture.