Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Friends With My Grey Hair

Well that was quite a little whirlwind there, now. I'm back, having gotten our new school season schedule down for the most part, and suffering through a few continuing work-related sagas.

I'm sorry to talk shop here, but, a bit of free advertising: if anyone knows great fundraisers who love classical music, have closed seven-figure gifts, and want to live in Sunny California, please email me at If I don't find someone soon, I've pledged to go out to Santa Ana and stand in the middle of The 1 to stop traffic until someone volunteers for what is essentially the best fundraising job in the orchestra business. Help.

Ok, now that I got that out of the way, I want to share a bit of learning from last week. It was heartening to see the groundswell of support for not censoring myself. I promise not to do it again. Look, this is an editorial adventure, a journalistic vehicle and creative playground. I have not broken any rules of law and don't intend to.

But I realized, in my offline life, sometimes I do still censor myself.

I, friends, color my hair.

Yes, it's true. I have the face of a young person, and a head of hair befitting someone twenty years my senior. I haven't figured out a slick way to tie it all together because I'd look ridiculous with grey hair. I think even X would attest to this. He used to carry around my baby picture and my senior college portrait side by side in his wallet. He would show people, "Look. No difference." He's right. I'm not Emmylou Harris. I'm this person with really prematurely grey hair, and I cover it up, because it looks silly.

So is that censoring myself? I think perhaps I'm worrying a little too much about this.

So let's turn to Christine Lavin, who very nearly always has the answers.

Ipsissimus, you with me?

The kids and I were on our way home from an errand Saturday night when we heard this gem on Jim Blum's folk show on WKSU radio. Let me be clear: Christine Lavin, though petite and guitar-wielding, is a force to be reckoned with if you like to laugh and enjoy a really clever song. She is smart, really smart, and just one of the best songwriters I know. She's not bluegrass, but, she often has just the perspective needed at a certain point in time.

And so it is with this tune, Gonna Make Friends With My Grey Hair. My hair is starting to call to me. Last week at an orientation session for my daughter's school, I made a comment about one of the PTO moms, who had this terrific, gracefully graying hair. She looked hip and approachable. Her grey hair suited her perfectly. Me, I'm not so sure.

So I'll take it slow, and upon the advisement of my hairstylist who I hope to see again this Friday, begin to discuss The Graceful Greying of MandoMama.

After all, I've earned the grey hairs on my head. My hair has been through a divorce, the lost of both parents, two miscarriages, a job change or two, motherhood (on Saturday I officially become the mother of a teenage boy), and home ownership as a single person. Some days I get a call from an orchestra president before I've had time to take my first sip of coffee.

Isn't it time I acted my experience?

Friends With My Grey Hair

(Note: Treat yourself to a buffet of Lavin's gracious humor and good songs here. DO NOT MISS "SENSITIVE NEW AGE GUYS." )


At August 30, 2007 6:18 AM, Blogger Shameless Agitator said...

I too color my hair. My spiky (well, sort of spiky) short hair looks better blonde. Unfortunately, I haven't been that shade of blonde since I was five years old.

In fact, I am going tomorrow to get a haircut and get freshly blonded. Who knows, maybe my mere presence will incite fear in someone else besides the TW...



At August 30, 2007 5:09 PM, Blogger Shannon said...

As someone who is now more grey that brown... I too have colored a few times as I think the grey haor on a male while making his look distinguished and such still makes me look 10 years (if not more) older and who wants that!?


At August 30, 2007 9:19 PM, Blogger Blueberry said...

My husband looooves grey hair, and Emmylou is like a pinup queen for him. He can't wait for my hair to turn grey. I think he is whacked. I just glare at him with a look that says "fool, you crazy!".

I'm 54 years old and have maybe 10 grey hairs (which I pull out when I see them), and the rest is brown. People must think I color my hair but I don't. This woman I used to work with asked "Oh, I love your hair color! What color is that?" and I'd say "brown", and she'd say, "no, what number, what brand?"

Emmylou IS a fine looking woman, and I'm grateful that he goes for her and other older women as a matter of taste, but I'm still yanking out the grey hairs.

At August 31, 2007 5:23 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hey Shameless,
Friday is haircut day for me, too, hopefully! To me your new look is just as much inner as outer, though. ;-)

I agree Shannon! And can you really see me all grey? Wait, don't answer that.

Blueberry, genetics is not on my side when it comes to grey. How did you find a man who looooooves grey hair???!!! Of course Emmylou is the benchmark, and so is the woman I work with, who also has really beautiful grey hair but also the skin and eye tone to go with. Me, not so much. I say enjoy these 10-grey-hair days now!

At August 31, 2007 10:46 PM, Anonymous piepiepie said...

OMG. I had the world's longest comment, encountered a bunch of errors, and lost it. I think this is a metaphor for something, or perhaps everything, in my life! I'll try to reproduce it tomorrow.

Love ya with any color hair,

At August 31, 2007 11:17 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

OH NO! J, I miss you! Hey, how was Vancouver?

Love you,

At September 01, 2007 11:21 PM, Blogger Ipsissimus said...

Oh, I am with you in more ways than Christine Lavin. I've been dying my hair since age 28. I am mostly white by now - not gray, white. Got it from my Dad's side of the family. Looks great on the men, my brother looks "distinguished" - but us women hate it. My mom is 64 years old and still has beautiful natural dark chestnut brown hair, but no, I had to get my dad's hair.

To add insult to injury - have you noticed that the gray/white hairs are coarser and so stick straight up screaming to be noticed?!?

At September 02, 2007 8:45 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Oh MY! Ipsissimus, that's a long time. I had a few greys then, but it wasn't really until after I had Son of Mando that things started to go downhill. By the time I stopped coloring when I was pregnant with A, I had a Lily Munster thing going on big time. Not nice, evenly graying hair, but random skunk stripes of renegade greys. Dang it.

At September 05, 2007 12:22 PM, Anonymous touch of grey said...

ive been cutting my hair since i shaved my head to lose my dreds, hahahhahahaha!!!!!!!!


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