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Coping With My First Gray Hair

It happened about a month ago. It was a Tuesday morning at 7:43am. I had just finished blow-drying my hair. Due to the fact that I choose elevators over stairs, real ice cream over fro-yo, and haven’t had a membership to a gym since the mid 2000’s, I was tired and winded from the half hour of flipping, twisting, and teasing my Cher length hair. Because it is summer and D.C. was built on a fucking swamp (thanks a lot, L’Enfant) I decided to wear it up so that I didn’t sweat like a whore in church, when the metro’s air conditioning inevitably stopped working that morning.

I had just secured the final bobby pin when I saw it. Like a fucking stripe down a zebra, there it was, my first gray hair. It was on the side of my head, in an otherwise unnoticeable location, which I suppose is why it had gone unobserved for so long. And long it was. Oh no, this was no recent development; the hair was a solid nine inches long. Meaning that if you do the math…your hair grows a half inch every month…nine divided by one half…that hair had been on my head for eighteen months. I had been gray for a year and a fucking half. Christ on a goddamn cross, this could not be happening.

I let out a shriek and proceeded into what can only be described as a full on conniption fit. My boyfriend rushed into the bathroom, likely thinking that I had electrocuted myself, or worse, gotten a positive on a pregnancy test.

“What the fuck is going on in here?” he yelled, visibly winded from his ten-foot jog.

“I…I…I found a…gray hair,” I whispered, embarrassed and holding back tears.

He stared at me for a second. I waited for it to sink in. Waited for him to grasp the gravity of this situation, but he simply shrugged his shoulders and smirked.

“It happens, babe. Look at me, I’ve got like fifty of them.”

I paused, took a deep breath, and tried to remember what my therapist told me about lashing out in anger. I calmly explained to him that he, as someone who was a solid year ahead of me in life, would always be the old one in our relationship and could therefore have as many fucking gray hairs as he pleased. I, on the other hand, was the young one. Simply put, there was no room for gray hairs on this girl’s head.

I then did what any logical person would do. I called in sick to work, grabbed a bottle of Bailey’s for my coffee, and proceeded to sit on my bathroom floor and cry. My boyfriend, likely used to my inability to function as a normal human being adult, kissed me on the forehead, tiptoed over my collapsed, crying self, and left for work.

A few hours later, having consumed nothing other than an entire bottle of Bailey’s, plus a few swigs of vodka, I peeled myself off the bathroom floor. I stood to look in the mirror and was greeted with the image of a literal sea monster. My hair was disheveled, and more importantly, fucking gray. My mascara had smeared down my cheeks, and my eyes were so puffy I could barely open them. I tore off my pencil skirt and threw on gym clothes. I made an attempt at fixing my make-up, but really just ended up looking like a character from The Black Swan. Whatever, nothing else seemed to matter anymore. I was a woman on a mission and the mission was to reclaim my youth.

I marched out of my apartment and walked into the first salon I saw. I ripped off my sunglasses and was met with “Oh, honey” by no less than eleven gay men.

“I found my first gray hair. There could be more. I didn’t have the heart to look.” I choked back tears, turning my head to the side, trying to be brave.

“We’ll fix you, girl. You just sit on down,” said my new best gay, Tyrone.

And there I sat for a little over five hours. I was gifted with hugs, “feel betters,” and more importantly, wine. Endless glasses of wine. It was somewhere between my fourth and seventh glass that I decided that Tyrone’s idea to go blonde was the best idea I’d ever heard. All my life, I’ve been a brunette. I’ve gone lighter, I’ve gone darker, I’ve done highlights, I’ve done lowlights, hell, I’ve even done ombre, but it has never been blonde. And there is a reason: my mother is blonde. And so help me God, I will not turn into her.

Tyrone assured me that my new hair color was something fierce, and more importantly, was no longer gray. Maybe it was my new blonde hair, maybe it was the alcohol binge, maybe it was the chemicals I’d inhaled, regardless, I felt at ease for the first time all day.

I walked into my apartment, re-did my make-up, and waited for my boyfriend to come home from work. It was Tuesday, otherwise known as sex night, and I knew he was going to love the new me.

“I’M YOUNG AGAIN,” I screeched, physically dragging him to our room and onto the bed.

We were just about to do the deed when he backed away, looked at my hair, then looked me dead in the eye and said, “I feel like I’m hooking up with your mom.”

I immediately walked out of the bedroom and into the neighborhood CVS. I was a brunette again exactly fifty-two minutes later. He slept on the couch that night. And regardless of how many gray hairs proceed to pop up, I’m never going fucking blonde again. I’m sure Tyrone will be disappointed, but eh, you win some, you lose some.

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Catie Warren

Catie struggles with adulthood and has been celebrating her 21st birthday for the past three years. She attended college in the nation’s capital and to this day is angry that Pit Bull lied to her, as you cannot, in fact, party on The White House lawn. Prior to her success with PGP, Catie was most famous for being featured in her hometown newspaper regarding her 5th grade Science Fair Project for which she did not place. In her spare time, she enjoys attributing famous historical quotes to Marilyn Monroe and getting in fights with thirteen year olds on twitter. Email: catie@grandex.co

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