Two and half years into life as a woman with gray hair, here are some facts:
- Gray hair doesn't exist, not even fifty shades of it. It's white hair, mixed with the original color hair, which - depending on the original color - may or may not give the impression of gray hair.
- In my case, as a brunette, 'gray hair' looks rather white in sunshine, and darker in other lights - which isn't reason enough for me to wish that summer wouldn't last forever.
- The color of my hair is often a topic of conversation, which I usually find amusing. Most people, in fact, are rather puzzled by it. Reactions from men and women tend to be different. From women, I've received very disparate remarks, ranging from the bewildering question: "Is it because you're depressed?", to envious comments from those who are sick of dyeing their hair, but don't have the courage to wear it in its natural color. Men, instead, are more discreet but equally puzzled. I was in fact twice referred to as "that blond lady", and on a crowded bus in Milan I've had the seat vacated for me on a couple of occasions - the implication being that gray hair per se is a sign of age and frailty.
- But my main day-to-day problem is that I still haven't found the right style. For now, I'm inclined to keep it longish, so that I can tie it up in a bun. However, does long gray hair look witchy – or am I myself the victim this time of a cultural stereotype? And isn't short gray hair just too plain? Please note, I'm not implying that you ladies who wear your gray hair long look like witches, or who wear it short look plain. It's just that around here, all women with gray hair sport the same short-cropped hair style, which I don't think does them justice.