I got my first gray hair when I was twenty one. I knew then that someday I would have a completely gray head. I have never been comfortable with wearing too much make-up. I feel like I am pretending to be someone else and everyone knows it. I do admire women who have the patience and the talent to enhance their natural beauty and always look well-put together. But I can't handle it. I don't have the stamina for it. In my thirties, the number of gray hairs became too many to just pull out and I had to make a decision about whether to color my hair or not. My husband, who usually has no opinion about appearances, pointed out that since our children were very small, maybe they would want their mother to look young for a while longer. I listened and for the next twenty five years I covered my grays with a color very close to my natural dark brown. But as I said, I am not good with anything that requires maintenance and more often than not my roots would begin to show before I had a chance to buy another box of hair color. Several times over the past few years I threatened to let my hair go gray but changed my mind as a special occasion or a work presentation came up. This past Fall, I went to a convention in Minneapolis to be part of a roundtable with my writing partners and I did not color my hair in time! Once I had presented myself to strangers with gray roots growing, there was no going back.
As my hair has turned completely natural, with lots of white around my face and salt and paper in the back, I have been getting compliments from friends and co-workers. My friend Paulette, who is a beauty in her natural hair, made a point of telling me how much she liked my hair color. Others that I usually don't interact with come up to me and say how beautiful my hair looks. Even my mother, who is an expert in style and beauty, approves of my look.
The response from other Persian women, however, has been very strongly negative. With a great sense of concern friends pull me aside and tell me that I am too young to let myself go. Those who haven't seen me for a while, cannot hide their shock. I am surprised at how comfortable people have felt letting me know of their disapproval. All this has made me very curious. What is it about my decision that is so upsetting? I know that they truly care about me but could it also be a little bit about their own vanity? Have I let the cat out of the bag that most Persian women are not naturally blonde? And they would probably look like me if they didn't dye their hair regularly? I promise I do not mean any offense. I am no one to judge others. As I said, I admire women who have take the time to enhance their beauty. But this is me. I like me this way. And my husband and kids like me this way too. And that's all I care about.