Have you seen that Friends episode where they all turn 30 and at each party Joey moans about how old they’re getting? “Why god, why are you doing this to us?” he wails. That’s pretty much how I feel about getting old(er).
I’m experiencing an interesting little phenomenon right now. Basically, I’ve reached an age where grey hair is emerging and a few wrinkles are forming, but I still have the breakouts of a teenager. Right now I have a pimple so big it has formed a little civilization of its own on my face and there’s nothing I can do about it but ride it out.
I thought the days when I would have to run to the mirror in the morning to check to see what had erupted overnight would be over once I finished school. Unfortunately it’s been 10 years since I finished university and I’m still getting regular breakouts. There has been one added bonus to this – people have always thought I look young. When I was in my early 20s I found this frustrating. I was 24 and people I met would think I was still at university, or more than once, still in high school. This was especially not cool when you’re trying to establish a “career” and the people you’re working with think you’re the work experience kid. I sound young too. I actually had a telemarketer call my house one day and ask if my mum was home…I was about 27 at the time.
But now I’m starting to look my age, not only do I have the pimples to resent, I also have the wrinkles and the grey hair. All. At. The. Same. Time. This to me, seems extremely unfair.
It’s the grey hair that enrages me the most. Grey hair in very dark brown hair is hard to hide. I can see it, glinting there in the light when I look in the mirror. It sends me to the hairdresser every six weeks because I can’t stand to look at it. The grey hair is the ultimate betrayal of how old I am. I can no longer fool people into thinking I’m in high school…those days (if not the pimples. Really. It’s unnatural) are over.
I’ve been hearing this term ‘silver vixen’ lately – about women choosing to go grey and not dye their hair.
I am intrigued by it and I admire these ladies who are forging a path that’s been trodden by men for years. After all, no one has suggested George Clooney should be visiting his colourist to maintain his youthful looks. The older and greyer he gets, the better he gets, right?
For a man, ageing (and grey hair) is about being distinguished, experienced. Unfortunately, that is not necessarily the case for women. We dye, pluck, wax, exfoliate, polish and primp our way through life – not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m vain enough to say that I will be doing everything possible to gracefully maintain a youthful appearance for as long as I can (drawing the line at botox – please, I almost faint every time I get a needle, no way I’m signing up for that voluntarily).
But I wonder what will happen when I get to a point where my greys aren’t just a few strands at my temples, but have taken over my whole head? Could I be brave enough to rock the sliver vixen look? The fantastic Helen Mirren does:
But she’s no mere mortal, she’s Helen Mirren, the hottest lady in her 60s on the planet. Can us ordinary ladies get away with embracing our inner silver vixen?
I honestly don’t know if I could do it. But, by that stage of my life I’d like to think that silver vixens would be just as acceptable in our society as that delightful species the silver fox.
After all, ageing is not something we can escape. It happens to the best of us; it even caught up with Joey.