Friday, December 11, 2009

Changing color, changing seasons

Faithful reader(s), you may have noticed a change in the top of my blog. I just couldn't resist. The picture of the vibrant red leaves was just too beautiful. I had to add it. Fall in New England is truly breathtaking (even though it only lasts for a week or two). It is sort of like Mother Nature's last chance to apologize for what is to come. As such, the changing color of the leaves is always just a bit ominous.
I was thinking, though, about another change of color. One I find far more ominous and frightening.
My hair.
I have blond hair. It is true. I have white eyebrows and a red beard. It is sort of like my genotype just couldn't make up its mind about what sort of phenotype it wanted to produce. Yeah, even my genes are wishy-washy. However, because of the red beard (and the, ehm, "fair" complexion) people in the operating room just assume I have red hair as well (since they always see me with an OR cap on). And while the reports are that I had red hair when I was born, I have never seen photographic evidence of this. Mom, I'll just have to take your word for it.
Be that as it may, my hair is blond. Not almost-white-blond, but not really red or strawberry-blond either. It hides things well. Things like gray/white hairs. I consider this as something that works in my favor.
Something else that works in my favor is that, for about 8 years or so, I kept my hair mostly buzzed. Not Gillette smooth, but very short. You know, no attachment on the clippers short. Earlier this year I decided I would try the whole hair thing again. Interestingly, quite a few people told me I actually looked younger with hair. Bonus. Right?
I'm not so sure.
A few weeks ago, my dear wife was standing close by and looking at my head. Not sure why, but there you go. Suddenly she asked, innocently enough, "Is that a gray hair?"
I was taken aback. I was speechless. I was horrified. I was irrational. For reasons I still cannot explain, that simple question was so offensive to me. The very notion that I was starting to go gray was anathema. My wife looked at me as if I had lost my mind. She tried to assuage my grief, ensuring that it was "dignified". Hogwash. It isn't dignified. It is OLD.
In an effort to rally the troops to my side, I mentioned this experience to some fellow residents. To my horror, they agreed that I was overreacting! What is their problem? I am too freaking young to have white hairs!
To the bathroom. Tweazers in hand, I gazed into the mirror. I saw an errant sideburn hair. Grabbed, pulled, out. I looked closely. Crap. It was white. A few minutes later, a few more hairs, all white. But I think I got them all.
Fast forward to this week. Again, while looking at my sideburns, my wife sees another couple of white hairs. And POINTS THEM OUT TO ME!!! As if my reaction the first time wasn't enough, she tempted fate and went down that dark path again. My reaction was, well, irrational. Again.
Reflecting on my reaction, I just don't know why this is bothering me so much. My hair color hides the white hairs quite well. You only notice if you are looking closely. Nevertheless, I am really bothered by this. I mean, I am only 33. Going gray/white already? And yet, it has never phased me when I see those younger than me with much more gray adorning their crowns.
Some times it frightens me just how crazy I am.


  1. I have to just tell you, last February, right after Darren proposed, my friend found a completely white hair on my head. It's the only one ever pointed out to me, but a great, long, white hair on a black-haired head?

    You think YOU'RE too young to be going gray? How do you think I reacted? Much, much worse. ;)

    Also, pictures please! This, I've got to see!

  2. I'm sorry. I still have no sympathy for you as it just naturally NO BIG DEAL when men go grey, and TOTALLY a BIG DEAL when women do.

    I love you and think you are hot stuff anyway.

  3. LOL! Peter, forgive me for laughing out loud, but its a laugh of understanding and recognizing a bit of my hubby in there! He's older than you but I remember when he found his first gray hair! Now he doesn't mind it so much. You can do the 'color' thing if you want, or keep the buzz cut! BTW, 33 is NOT old! Wait til you hit the big 40!lol!

  4. Natalee: you can't see it in a picture. Too subtle. Thank goodness.

    Lis: Punk. That is all. ;)

    Donna: I definitely won't do to the color thing. I will go gray if it is going to happen. But I am not thrilled about it.

  5. Peter - I'm up to about 25... yup - white hairs on my nearly black head of hair. Happy 30 to me!

  6. Ah welcome to the real world, mate. I gave up counting them a long time ago although I'm still shocked whenever I go to a barber and see all the grey hair on the floor after my cut. It can't ALL be mine...