Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Flashback: Run Away! The Signs of Aging are upon us!

In celebration of my birthday.

Originally published on Machinations of a Wandering Mind - June 27, 2005:

It was terrible, it was hideous! It was a sign that I'm getting older.

Two weeks ago was my birthday...my 27th birthday, and during this time, my mother and I went shopping. We looked for a lovely summer ensemble that didn't make me look, well, you know...sausage-like. Of course this doesn't preclude Mom from exercising her miss-judgment in recommending pieces of fabric with more ruffles than Scarlet O'Hara's curtains in Gone With the Wind.

Here is a dramatic recreation: Please imagine my mother fawning over this ugly bluish monstrosity on a hanger:

"Oh this will look lovely." Mother said, holding up the frilly blue ruffled skirt up to my body.

"No it won't."

"You're just being picky. Be daring for once."

"It's horrible." I state, no inflection in my tone as I finger a ruffle with obvious disdain.

"Just try it on. You'll be surprised."

"Did I mention it's ugly?"

Of course, it goes into the pile. Let me just share the warm feeling to bask in the glowing light of I-told-you-so when I put on the offending "garment" and I ended up looking like a large blue covered sausage that got caught in a paper shredder. I will always remember the blank look of my mother trying to think of the best way to describe the quite laughable image of me in the mirror.

"Perhaps you should take it off." Her eyes are smiling but she exercises a cool control that is to be commended. I'm sure if given the opportunity she could fool a highly trained interrogator.

"You think?"

"Yes. You were right."

"Let me bask in the moment."

"Enough basking."

"I hope we learned a valuable lesson from this."

"Yes dear. Now take it off."

"You want to try it on?"

"No! Um...no thank you. It's safe to say we'll put it in the 'No' pile."

And this is where I found it...the grey hair, sticking straight up from the top of my head like a short, crinkly flag staking out the victory of middle age.

In a flight of pure panic, I ripped the offending hair out of my scalp (it hurt, by the way) and examined it. Indeed it was bright white and stood out from my naturally brown/black tresses. I showed my mother, holding the hair away from me, as if its loss of pigment was something that could infect the rest of my folicles.

"What did you expect. You're getting older." Were the words mom had for me. Strangely enough they didn't have the desired effect of calming that I wished. Mom was also strangely unsympathetic to the fact that her daughter has a grey hair. My mother, herself, had grey hair at a young age. I was hoping this was not the case for me...though it wouldn't change much since I dye my hair anyway.

"Plus," She sagely added, "It's only one hair." My eyes widened...surely the one strand could not have already convinced the others to go pigment free. I return to the dressing room mirror of Hecht's to inspect the rest of my head, in what must be the most vain moment in my entire life.

I even called up my husband with the news. He laughed. I was not pleased.

Satisfied that there were no more pigment-free hairs, I went on with my shopping.

I dyed my hair again. Though that one hair seemed to be a fluke, I'm not taking any chances. It's a war...a war I may not win...but by the gods I will have dark hair at least until I'm forty.

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