COLUMN: Going grey is the new black

Recently, I treated myself to a mini-spa break. It wasn’t much, but I got a pedicure and had my eyebrows shaped.

By ‘shaped,’ I mean I paid a stranger to apply hot wax to my face and rip out hairs by the roots.

Like I said, a treat.

But that’s just what you do when you want your eyebrows to stay, as the kids would say, “on-point.”

I’m kidding, I have no idea what that means. I’m 51.

And if I’m using the expression, that’s a good indication that it’s already well past its expiration date.

Truthfully, I’d have inserted the same quotation marks when I was 21, or 31, or 11.

Fun fact: I was never cool. Just ask the cool girls from my high school (seriously, do – I’m friends with most of them now on Facebook).

Being so decidedly “off-point” was likely my saving grace in the mid-90s, when girls were all but ripping the brows right off their faces, leaving only a high, skinny arch, a few hairs wide, above each now-very-surprised-looking eye. These are the same women who today spend thousands of dollars inking those brows back in, keeping literally hundreds of microblading salons in business.

The blessed eternal union of fashion victim and the free market.

That’s not a judgment – I don’t pretend to be immune.

Adding up trips to the salon and the purchase of take-home hair-colouring kits, it’s safe to say I’ve spent in the high four figures keeping the grey at bay over the past three decades.

Yep, I’ve been going grey since I was 21.

I remember quite vividly the day the first silver strand was plucked from the top of my head by a friend as we sat outside on her front steps. She was seated a stair or two above me and caught the sparkle of sunlight glinting off the offending follicle.

A couple years later, a hairdresser friend needed models to practise fancy up-dos for grad. That year, the trend was to loop and pin – a style designed specifically to highlight grey hairs, apparently. And there were plenty for the highlight reel by then.

Fast-forward 30 years and along comes Keanu Reeves – the internet’s boyfriend – holding hands with a woman with (gasp) grey hair.

Once the world got over the fact that for the first time in decades the famously kind Canadia was stepping out, hand-in-hand, with a woman, it immediately began congratulating him for having an age-appropriate girlfriend. She is, in fact, nine years younger than he is.

I’m not suggesting it’s a newsworthy age gap – just noting that as a woman in her mid-40s, she hasn’t, like many of us, felt the pressure to cover her silver tresses with blond dye.

Before we injure ourselves applauding her courage, though, it’s worth noting that grey hair is now the height of fashion in Hollywood and beyond, with even very young women embracing their inner senior citizen and dying their hair silver or ‘greige’ (grey+beige).

As odd as the trend appears on the surface, imagine my delight as I realized this might actually be the moment I’ve been waiting for my entire, unfashionable life. Now might be the perfect time to finally make that formerly elusive quick-and-easy transition from bottle-blonde to silver, uh, vixen?

In doing so, I would no doubt save thousands of dollars on future trips to the salon.

And I could, at long last, show all the cool girls on Facebook that I’m finally, well and truly, “on-point.”

Brenda Anderson is editor of the Peace Arch News.

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