To my surprise, two of my best friends in the whole world have grown the slightest touch of gray hair. When I realized it, the strangest thing happened: these girls got like, nine zillion times more beautiful than they were already. Straight up.
The first friend is almost exactly my age; we’re three days apart. Her gray caught my eye when we were sitting in the sun. She was telling me about the breakup that began that day and that has been so ruinous in her life for some months, now. We were at the Art Institute’s coffee cafe, out on the patio. I was listening and holding her hand. I saw the gray when she blew her nose. I thought, “Holy crap. That is life. That is what life looks like. It’s gorgeous because…it’s real.”
My other friend is several years younger than me but in my same decade. Her gray is lighter – so light I wasn’t 100% sure it was actually there at first, but now I’m 99% sure it is. I was at my sewing machine and looked over at her across the table. I saw the gray and I thought, “If that’s what gray hair looks like, I’m looking forward to it.”
Because sometimes I get sad about aging. It’s because my birthday is on Saturday,* probably, and I’m weird about birthdays. They’re my favorite day because I love being alive and they are my least-favorite day because I love being alive and now I’m closer to not being alive. Happy Birthday to me!!
My grandmother Dorothy went prematurely gray in her thirties and she looked so great. My mom has never dyed her hair and that’s pretty cool, especially when you consider she’s a person in the public eye. People do not like the people on their TV to change. Mom’s hair is silver and gorgeous.
But I vaguely thought I’d dye my hair when the gray started to grow in. Hair is fashion for me. It’s an accessory. I love to change my hair, as folks who have watched me on TV/online have seen over the years. I’ve figured – though I haven’t spent hours thinking about it because I haven’t found any gray yet – that when the time came, yeah, I’d probably dye it. No big whoop.
But then I see Friend #1 and Friend #2 talking, laughing, crying, creating art, being brilliant, being funny, telling me stories, making me laugh, teaching me, learning stuff themselves, and being really, really good friends with these first gray hairs on their heads and I think: “Oh, man… I wanna look like that.”
*It’s true: My birthday is Saturday, August 6th. I am going to shamelessly ask for a birthday present, too. From everyone. I gotta lotta nerve, don’t I? Don’t worry: It won’t cost you a dime. Actually, I think it will be fun. Stay tuned.