Last year I decided to let my hair grow out grey. It was a big decision for me because it is not just the hair thing, it is much more than that for a woman. For a man it is so different. Men age gracefully automatically, just so long as they take care of their bodies and keep reasonably fit and stay very clean. For women these days, with all the beauty products available, it is more of a conscious decision. It is almost like saying ‘I don’t want men to see me as a sex object anymore. I am me, I am older, see me as I really am. To be honest, I think going grey aged me ten years! That’s a lot isn’t it.
I wanted to see if people treated me differently and they do. I have become invisible. Some people treat me like their favourite auntie or granny, other people see me as an old nuisance, especially when I have my shopping trolley with me. I do get more respect from some quarters and less from others. What I am not anymore is a potential partner, not by sight anyway. My dazzling personality and winning smile!!! will still see me through when I get into conversation, but I don’t get those second looks anymore, not do I want them.
That is the turning point: I do not want the second looks. I have had a few lapses over the last year. I have hovered for a while around the hair dye aisle in the local Supermarket. I have gazed longingly at the jazzy new nail polish colours further down but I have resisted so far. I have tried to buy more conservative clothes and ended up with a wardrobe with three types of clothes in it. I still have work suits in there because they were expensive and I can’t bear to part with them yet. I have classic type clothes that won’t date and I have the sort of clothes that I really like wearing, which are largely Indian in style, with lots of long dresses with sequins and swirls. So I hover between them all. I rarely wear the suits, although they do come in handy for my visits to town. I wear the classic clothes to meet my friends and go to church etc. but when I am on my own – I paint my nails red and wear my Indian dresses.
Since letting my ‘hair go grey’ I have been much more careful with the way that I speak. I don’t swear any more! I never did swear much but now I leave it along. I don’t think it goes well with my new image.
I have certain role models – people who I admire from films or TV. I try to copy their style as the metamorphosis develops. Here lies a problem because my role models are so diverse. Ideally I would like to look like Sophia Loren. I realise that some people reading this will not have heard of her! Those that have will know exactly what I mean.
Then again I like Miss Marple’s style, do you know the version in which Geraldine McKewan stars? She is so sweet and so dainty. Yes, I’d like to be like that.
See what I mean? It’s a bit of a problem. If I am to be a butterfly changing back into a caterpillar, then I want that caterpillar to be a pretty one – one that people look at and say, ‘that’s a pretty caterpillar.’ Perhaps they will avoid treading on it then!
Now I’m off to Sainsbury’s with my shopping trolley (that’s a bag on wheels) ready to do battle with the crowds but with a big smile on my face.
I’m getting there slowly…