It’s been two months since I last had my hair cut and it’s beginning to show. In normal times, my excellent barber (hi Daniel) applies short scissors to the top and does a skin fade to the back and sides. However, these are not normal times and the curls I have not seen in many years are returning.
Miraculously, I am not going particularly grey yet. The back and sides, and my stubble are becoming very grey, even white, but the rest of my hair looks oddly brown for a man closing in on his retirement pension. In fact, I’ve even considered applying grey dye to my hair because at my age I should be grey, or even completely bald. But what’s still there is getting a little straggly.
For all that, I don’t care. It’s not as if I am working at the moment and the only time I meet people is at the supermarket or when I leave my front door. Normally, I do have a degree of pride in the way I look, but there’s no real point at the moment. No one gives a toss. But I know the change of appearance matters to some people more than others and many of them are women.
Many years ago, it surprised me why men always went grey or white, but women always maintained their natural hair colour. Perhaps, this was a fact of nature. But then, it occurred to me that where men rarely used hair dye, countless women do. Why is it different for girls?
Personally, I think there’s something sinister about it, something historical, something about our society that has suggested for generations that women must look a certain way, that they can never be allowed to grow old, and certainly not look old. White and grey hair is seen as being old and not looking as attractive. I disagree.
In the media, women are not allowed to grow old. Particularly in films and on television, as soon as most women reach a certain age, there are no parts for them. When men get older and greyer and balder, there are loads of parts. But then, men have always controlled the media. Much of the media has concluded age shall definitely wither women, but not men.
So, now I read discussions on social networks from women who are concerned that their roots are growing through. Which dyes should they use? Many cannot wait for the hair salons to open again, which is entirely fair and reasonable. I am all in favour of anyone’s right to look like whatever they want to look like. It’s just that fashion and imagery dictates women must always look young, certainly in the eyes of older men.
Being a mere male, I suppose I want to look as good as I can, particularly when I leave home. I’m no fashion guru but I like to be clean and relatively tidy. I also want to look how I want to look. Being a mere male means no one thinks, “Well, he could really do with dyeing his hair because he’d look so much younger and more attractive if he did.”
At my age, I’d need more than hair dye to make me more attractive. Intensive surgery would almost certainly be necessary. But then, I don’t really care. I’m getting on a bit now, I don’t look much like the way I looked half a lifetime ago and as the years go by, this won’t get any better. Being a man, this attitude is far more acceptable than it is for most women. It shouldn’t be.
Really, just do what you want to do, look how you want to look and if you want to reach for that hair dye, then power to your elbow. But don’t feel you need to. Because you don’t.