An Affair With Hair

turtle2Thirty four years of marriage.

What does that say about me?

That I am ‎old?!‎

Admittedly my memory is patchy but occasionally clear images ‎surface. I recall my mother’s thirtieth birthday (or it may have been ‎her fortieth…).

‎‎‎Etched in my memory are my mother’s ‎disappointment, dread and depression: the end of the world as she ‎knew it had arrived!

‎‎‎On the other hand, I remember Mr Hickey, my ‎‎“one moment to retirement English teacher”, in my senior year of high ‎school. Mr Hickey smoked like a chimney: all withered, wrinkled and ‎shriveled up was he.‎

‎‎‎One day during class, he loudly declared that he ‎would not trade places with us (and return to the age of eighteen) not ‎even for all of the treasures of the world! ‎

What a strange thing to say…‎

This week we celebrated our thirty fourth wedding anniversary. Just ‎the day before I read a blog about the former Maskit designer store chain. Maskit was known for its upscale Israeli ethnic design and ‎quality. Maskit was home to a magnificent collection of clothes, ‎jewelery, paintings and other handicraft. Coincidently, I myself wore a ‎Maskit wedding dress and it hangs in my closet to this day. I ‎responded to the post and I mentioned my dress. The blogger was ‎very excited to hear about my dress and asked me if I would post a ‎picture online. I promised to do so the next day (in daylight) which just ‎happened to be our anniversary.‎

A coincidence?

I’ve been told that there is no such thing as chance …

I’m inclined to agree.‎

At my ancient age (!), I can say that over the years I have stood out ‎from the crowd: at first unconsciously and later by choice. I grew up in ‎Canada both as an American and as a Jew in a remote area far from ‎any Jewish community. At my high school graduation ceremony, I ‎abandoned the usual evening gown attire and showed up in full tux ‎complete with the dressings of hat and tail. At the age of nineteen, I ‎immigrated unshaven (the natural look – both armpits and legs …) and ‎alone to Israel.‎

When I was twenty something my hair began turning grey. I was thirty ‎something when I traded my long locks of hair for a Pixie cropped cut. ‎At forty something, for one stormy night, I died my Pixie platinum ‎blonde. It was but moments before my fiftieth birthday that I stopped ‎dying my hair…‎

The shift began during a journey to the Galapagos Islands. I met my ‎daughter in South America at the end of her gap year wandering the ‎continent. I did not feel like messing with color: not on the trip and ‎especially not on the cruise. I was curious to know what my new hair ‎growth would look like: white as snow, gray or salt and pepper? ‎Would the change age me?‎

The adventure began!

Since my hair was very short, I knew that by the ‎end of the trip I have a good idea whether natural look flattered me or ‎not. I was surprised to discover that my hair, unlike my father’s which ‎turned white as snow in his twenties, became a beautiful mixture of ‎salt and pepper. As the color was so interesting, the decision to stop ‎being a slave (coloring every two to three weeks) to my hair color was an easy ‎one. I went back home with my new natural look.‎

It is no secret that men have an ongoing affair with hair … There ‎seems to be something particularly attractive about long hair. Perhaps ‎it designates a fertile, healthy and suitable mate? One day, Stella, my ‎hairdresser, informed me that today was makeover time. I came ‎home cropped and almost totally hairless. I certainly surprised my ‎partner. He had no forewarning of the momentous event. To his credit ‎I must say that despite his disappointment he said, “Hey that’s cute. It ‎suits you!” ‎

Such was not the case when I decided to die my hair platinum blonde. ‎He had nightmares all night. He did not understand who this stranger ‎was lying next to him in bed!

When he first met me with my new and ‎natural gray look, he actually complimented me. He emphasized how ‎much he preferred the natural look and that it suited me.

‎‎‎‎Of particular interest it was to notice men’s reactions. Most of them ‎were very complementary and liked the metamorphosis. Many told ‎me that I looked younger and there was a new and beautiful depth to ‎my eyes. Surprisingly, only one woman expressed her shock and vocal ‎disapproval of my grey locks: ‎ ‎

‎‎‎”You have a such a young face; there is ‎no place on it for gray hair!”‎ ‎

‎In the light of day my wedding dress of thirty-four years lost its luster, ‎quite different from my memory. It is not as white as it used to be. I ‎thought that just for fun I would try it on. I opened twenty-something ‎small and delicate buttons only to discover that there was no chance ‎that they would close around me.‎

Was I ever so thin?!‎

Although I still have quite a ways to go until retirement, I complete ‎agree with Mr Hickey’s sentiments. It’s heartwarming to see photos ‎from the past, recall distant and forgotten events.

‎‎‎Going back decades ‎in time, however, has absolutely no appeal! ‎ ‎

‎I am happy with the here ‎and now. Abundance and joy mark my days. I look ahead in ‎anticipation. The future is where dreams await: many a sweet memory ‎to be crafted.