Moms are Wise

For the record, my mom has a few grays. BUT, this hair is beautiful too and no one should tell her to dye it!

My mom sends me things to read, like the police log from our local paper:

Example: 4:20 Friday – Workers at the United Methodist Church on Massachusetts Avenue turned in a small amount of Marijuana found in a bag left on the playground of the property. (You read that correctly… at 4:20)

or notes from the empty nest:

Example: Day 6 in our empty nest – made some furniture changes in the house which you’ll see when you are home for Thanksgiving. Shopped at Trader Joes and spent the day reading and hanging out. Joe worked at the drum store. Photos are from our happy hour on the deck!

Yesterday, she responded to the blog post I wrote about my thighs with this very insightful comment:

Just as you don’t like someone in the gym to assume you want slimmer thighs, I don’t go back to a hairdresser who looks at my hair and asks me if I’ve considered covering the gray.  I should be the one to tell them I’m thinking about it and they shouldn’t assume I want to, because I don’t!!!!! You tell her mom!

On one hand, I love the instant camaraderie that women sometimes create in the most banal moments–offering to zip up a stranger’s dress in the locker room after yoga–, on the other hand, I detest that false familiarity that enables the kind of “constructive” criticism we level against one another. The same assumptions that prompted my gym bitch to comment on my workout regimen are behind the hairstylist’s comments to my mom. And I guarantee you that neither my father (gray since 35, white in the last few years) nor my stepfather (also graying) have faced pressure to dye. Aging, in the most natural (and beautiful ways), is considered so fundamentally unattractive that women don’t think twice about assuming other women view it as a curse to be avoided, delayed, tricked and banished. Similarly, the implication of “weight,” in any excess of zero, is assumed to be a horrendous insult (tits and ass excluded for a whole slew of complicated and corrosive reasons).

These are assumptions we need to undermine. The next time you find yourself in a dressing room at a lunch hour (just me?) and a woman asks you what you think of the pants she’s trying on, don’t tell her she looks skinny. Instead, take a moment and ask her what look she’s going for, because for all you know, she’d like to amp up the junk in the trunk, flesh out those thighs or create a little curve of the hip. You just never know.

Related Post: See? This lady has gray hair and she’s a bigger badass than I’ll ever be!

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8 Comments

Filed under Body Image, Chicago, Family, Gender

8 responses to “Moms are Wise

  1. kddries

    I wouldn’t guarantee anything when it comes to aging. My Dad definitely turned to men’s hair dyes when his beard started going grey, because with it, he could see his job opportunities in web design, a younger field, slipping away. Ultimately though, we’re all fighting a losing battle; he definitely didn’t try that for long, and his motives were very different than women who inherently feel less attractive because they’re grey. Without the job pressure, I’m certain he would have rocked the look just fine, and not thought twice about it.

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