50 SHADES OF GRAY


miss clairolToday when women go from brown to blond to red to black and back again without blinking we think of hair color products as we think of lipsticks. There are bottles and bottles of hair color product with names like Excellence and Preference and Loving Care and Nice and Easy and so on, each in dozens of different shades. There is even Chocolate/Cherry and Champagne Cocktail, colors that ask “Does She or Doesn’t She? but blithely assume “Yes, she does.” Slogans like these were instantly memorable and managed to take on meanings well outside their stated intentions.

My own history with the hair color industry is memorable, having been a victim of my own foolhardiness more than once. Pick a color, any color, and I have given it a short-term lease on my head. I became a Ginger Rogers blond at the age of 16, which then became a strange shade of green at the end of the summer swim season. On another occasion I dyed it black for a Hawaiian party, which had to be removed swiftly before I spoke before a rather dull women’s group. It became a mottled thatch emanating from my scalp, with varying spots of brown, red and a terrifying streak of purple somewhere above my eyebrows.

After my residence with the Pueblo and the bestowal of my honorary name, I colored it a lovely believable dark brown, suitable for my new adopted identity. It remained this color for many years until I nearly believed it was my own. I could wander among the various villages in New Mexico while painting, and not be exposed as “that Anglo blond woman”. Many years later, I let it grow out, at which time I cut it short and asked my good friend what color she would call my hair. She too-promptly replied “Mouse”! So it was back to the bottle. Along with Miss Clairol, I gave myself a home permanent which unfortunately fought with the color and became a bright red Brillo pad on perched on top of my head.

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It was bound to happen—the day arrives when you find your first gray hair, a reminder that Time is marching on. But silver or gray is trending now in clothing, fashion accessories and home d├ęcor. We have all heard that men with gray hair are distinguished looking, while it just makes women look 10 years older. However, a few lucky women can pull off a certain amount of elegance. It’s a dilemma for sure. Do you grab the old familiar bottle, or do you try a new color—gray? It’s the only one I had not tried so I decided to give it a go. A number of years ago, somewhat elderly women became blue, do you remember them? They were generally seen with locks the color of a drop-in toilet freshener, and no, it wasn’t a mistake. They did it on purpose—it took any vestiges of blond out.

Streaks of gray usually appear near the ears, giving the impression of “Frankenstein’s Bride”. I once worked for a man who used dark shoe polish to color his ‘side wings.’ I seem to have accomplished the ‘gray mission’ on my own, without the aid of dye or bleach. A grandson once asked me if it was blond or grey. I told him to take his pick.
It still looks blond to me when looking in a mirror, but for some reason, it photographs gray. It must be a trick of the camera.

The thing to remember is that age is just a number, and hair color does not dictate whether you lead a sedate lifestyle, or behave like a character in “50 Shades of Grey.” The choice is yours.

IS THERE TRUTH IN ADVERTISING?


felicitous

Is there truth in advertising? If so, we are in trouble, as half the men in the country seem to be impotent. Television commercials and the sports pages of the newspapers are showing a lot of help for these men with the use of Viagra and Cialis, and now many of the unfortunate souls appear to be suffering from low testosterone. I can’t tell you how sorry I am.

It caught the attention of my husband of 67 years immediately when the ads began showing gorgeous women smiling delightedly while their male partners were leering with anticipation. If we really saw that expression we’d call for the cops. It’s interesting to me that some of these afflicted males look barely out of their 20’s. What a shame. I pointed out to him that these were commercials and not real people. He was not convinced, so I called his attention to the rest of the ad: those with health conditions should abstain, and an erection lasting longer than 5 minutes is too long.

I’m sure you remember the famous scene in Gone With The Wind where Rhett Butler carries Scarlet up to her bedroom? The door closes and that is all we were exposed to. Clark Gable didn’t see the need for leering, and while Scarlet may have simpered for Ashley, she didn’t waste any of it on Rhett.

The now common practice of sharing the bedroom and it’s attendant problems with the public is getting out of hand. The newest ad is a pill aimed at the women of the world who are apparently having a problem constraining the men who have overdosed on raising their testosterone level.

Frankly, I don’t believe a word of it. cat

THE ART OF AGING GRACEFULLY—-OR NOT!


Beijing grandpa_0002If we are fortunate, we will age. It will happen, whether you like it or not, and if you are healthy, it needn’t be a time of despair. My friend refers to us as “functional seniors”, which is also an apt description of an old car in good repair.

These are mostly the seniors I consort with, although there are a few who no longer function as well, and I love them even more for their courage in the face of their pain. A strong woman does not let the hardships of life tear her apart. But a woman of strength goes on to accomplish what she wants even when she is torn apart.

Two women friends who are well into their senior years, one of whom is nearly 91 (going on 75), prepared a full Christmas dinner for their large families, and thought it was not a big deal. Another, a high school friend of mine of 85, regularly drives almost 4 hours to Lake Tahoe from the Bay Area to see her family. My mother-in-law, when in her 70’s, drove a number of times to Washington state to visit us, sometimes carrying a jug or two of the good wine we liked. As a matter of fact, she got a ticket once in Ukiah for speeding. I don’t think the trunk was inspected however.

My husband, who is quite a handsome fellow of 86, can frequently be found on top of our roof, or at the top of a ladder trimming a tree. His loving companion, besides me, is a frisky Jack Russell Terrier, a breed sometimes humorously referred to as Jack Russell “Terrors” They regularly disappear twice a day for mile-long walks which keeps them both in trim.

I took part in a great tap and ballet class with a stunning group of women when in my senior years, as well as a Tai Chi group for many years. As a dare from a grandson, I got a tiny “three-feather” tattoo to celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary, even though I really, really dislike the abundant tattoos on other people! Show a little class, please.

However, the best example of a “functional senior” is Liu Qianping, who is a 72 year old grandfather in Beijing. The five foot 8, 110 pound former rice farmer has become the new fashion sensation, and according to his fashion-designer granddaughter Lu Ting, “Looks great in crimson”. After struggling to find a model who could boost her online store, she realized her retired grandfather was the perfect model for her line of clothing, and now credits him with more than quadrupling her sales. He sometimes struts out on stage doing his own version of Korean rapper Psy’s “Gangnam Style” dance.

Enjoy life, it has an expiration date.