I do some photography on the side, and I’ve noticed that older people lack color in their faces. I’m not talking about old women who spend their retirement years in the sun, turning their skin to leather and looking like a Shar Pei. I’m talking about the ones you see in church, or at bazaars, or in the line ahead of you at every checkout counter with a small change purse extracting correct change, one penny at a time.
Older women tend to have a heavy hand when it comes to coloring their cheeks. I used to think it was because they were blind and didn’t realize that they were putting on too much blush, but now I think it’s because they’re starting with such a washed out background that it’s the contrast in color that’s so noticeable, not the quantity of makeup.
Older men lack color too, but fortunately they don’t try to hide it. They’re too busy convincing the general public that they have hair. I’m sorry men go bald, I really am, but must they have those long strings of slick black hair running over the bald spots like someone drew a grid on a basketball? FYI Donald Trump, the general public is not fooled by these comb overs.
When women start losing their hair, they deal with it by cutting it all off. Then they pay a hair dresser once a week to kinky curl it up so that it looks like thin, coarse, pinkish beige wool all over their heads that you can see through.
Which, I suppose, is more attractive than the blue-haired ladies I grew up with. I don’t know how it happened that so many of them had that magical shade of blue. Did they go to the store and find boxes of Clairol called, “midnight blue” (for blackish blue) “baby blue” (for bluish blond), and “blue all over” (for bluish-blue.
When I started getting grey hair, I fretted about it just like everyone else who was turning prematurely grey (everyone in my age group). After plucking a few hundred, I toyed with the idea of dying my hair. When I had my kids captive in the car, I’d ask them if I should dye my hair. “No, mom, it looks really pretty,” was their standard response. They had learned to say this to keep me from asking additional questions: “Does my grey hair make me look old? How old do I look? Do I look older than the other moms? How about Rebecca, do I look older than Rebecca? What about Cindy?”
One day I asked my son again, “Do you think I should dye my hair?” He said, “You don’t need to color your hair to look younger.” I sat up straighter, thinking what a fine young man I’d raised. Then he added, “It’s the wrinkles that make you look so old.”
I can’t remember exactly what happened next, but I think I used the ef word, and I think I reached over and opened the passenger door and used both of my feet to kick him out on the sidewalk, but it’s all a blur, I could have just patted his hand and said, “we need to see about getting you some glasses, sweetie.” It’s hard to remember the details when you get my age.