Deft sleight of follicle

By Mir
November 6, 2013

[This post is utter fluff with bonus terrible cell phone pictures. You’ve been warned.]

In addition to being taken to task for my comments about the unflattering wide-angle lens Otto used in this post, there were a couple of comments about how DIDN’T YOU LET YOUR HAIR GO GRAY? and I DON’T SEE ANY GRAY AT ALL YOU LYING LIARPANTS WITH PANTS AFLAME. (I may be paraphrasing.)

These comments made me laugh, and then they made me feel all warm and fuzzy, and then I sent each of you a pony as a thank-you.

You may remember there was some serious trepidation about disembarking from the Hair Dye express. After all, I’m so YOUNG (ha!) and VIBRANT (haaaaaaaa!) and really not ready to look like someone’s grandmother. On the other hand: lazy. So very lazy. And also I still have acne so hey, problem solved. Time to go gray!

But the thing is, I was sure my gray was really, really obvious because my natural hair color is just this side of black. I mean, my roots were SUPER-obvious while I was still coloring, so I never anticipated all of the comments I regularly get on photos about how my hair has hardly any gray at all. Turns out, I have a few things going for me here.

1) My gray is fairly evenly distributed… on top. I actually have a couple of fairly solid streaks on the underlayer (underlayer? like I’m a dog? QUICK, GET THE FURMINATOR!), but most of the hair that’s visible when I wear it down sports an even mixture of dark and silver.

2) Most people seem to go gray in the front, first, then gradually gray to the back. Because I am an extremely special snowflake, I am much grayer at the crown/back of my head than the front. Yay?

3) Something about wearing my hair curly makes it hard to process what color it is, I think. Maybe because your eyeballs are too busy going WOW THAT’S SOME MESS OF HAIR THERE, I don’t know. I wear it curly about half the time, and never get comments on the color. When I wear it straight, people comment on the color.

… and most importantly…

4) I think my hair appears a lot darker in most photos than it does if you’re standing here with me in real life. Because MAGIC. Or maybe Otto is afraid I’ll start bitching about my hair, next, if he doesn’t make the photos look like my hair is still brown. WHO KNOWS.

So even though I pretty much never take and hardly ever post pictures of myself, I thought there was enough chatter about my hair color (and length! though that happened on Facebook, and yes, I take my vitamins, and yes, my hair grows really fast) that I should really come clean.

I went out on the porch just now, intending to take a side-view picture of myself. I got about four pictures of the ceiling, one of the floor, and this:

Granted, this isn’t a lot of my hair, here, but it’s hair from the front (less-gray) part of my head, and sure, if you just saw this, you might think I was exaggerating about the gray situation. I get that. [Also note that our porch isn’t filthy, all those dark dots are just because it’s currently infested with Japanese beetles. Which is so much better!]

So next I took a dozen photos that proved my arms are not long enough to get a shot of the back of my head. Enter Monkey, who snapped this for me and then said, “Why do you want a picture of the back of your head?”

It’s kind of blurry and lighting-wise Monkey and I probably should’ve swapped positions (Otto is dying of secondhand shame right now, I’m sure), but you get the general idea. And STILL, as a photo, you don’t look at that and go OMG SO GRAY. Just a little gray, right? Camera = MAGIC.

Unless you do this:

THAT is what color my hair really is (minus the phone shadow from me holding it over my head).

Please direct any complaints to my father, who has been silver as long as I can remember. At this point I am grayer than both my stepmom and my mom. So unfair.

(And no, I can’t believe I thought this was interesting enough to write this much about, either. My hair is FASCINATING.)


  1. Aimee

    Your hair IS fascinating, but then you are fascinating so it makes total sense that your hair would be too.

  2. Anna Marie

    Your hair color is gorgeous! I would stop coloring my hair if my natural color weren’t so mousy. I’m actually ok with the gray – it’s the rest that depresses me.

  3. Erin

    I didn’t comment on it, but I totally had the same thought upon reading the previous outlet mall antics post–“I thought she was letting her hair go grey?!” Ha! You look great, in any and all cases! :)

  4. Karen

    Well… I gotta tell ya… you do have beautiful hair, gray streaked or not. And, lucky girl.. you can wear it curly or straight… awesomeness right there. At 48 I only have a few grays (greys)… and I think I will resort to dying it when the time comes that I can’t get away with it au naturale.. my coloring will render me OLD looking with grey-gray hair, but it appears you can get away with it and look pretty darn good from what I can tell in curly hair picture in previous post. You know, the arm biting one?

  5. Brenda

    First of all, no idea how I missed that other post, so I’m glad you linked it up so I could partake in the mannequin fun. Second of all, I love your hair anyway. I’m far too lazy to bother coloring my hair, so even though my grey hairs are recruiting friends, it’s totally not noticeable to anyone but me even though my hair is dark. I actually kind of like it, and since I wear my hair very long, I’m kind of hoping that somehow I will eventually end up with a cool X-Man like streak in my hair. I would totally rock that crap out of a hairstyle like that.

  6. Mary Fran

    Life bucket list: See the top of Mir’s head. Check! Whew.

    • Mir

      Please add “come up with better bucket list items” to your bucket list, STAT.

      • Mary Fran

        Ah, but now I can feel like I’ve accomplished something!

  7. Diane

    I always say that if I can’t see it without contorting my body, using a mirror and a camera to see it, it simply doesn’t exist.

    I had to stop coloring for about ten weeks this summer after having a couple of scalp cysts removed. As long as I didn’t put my hair back in a headband, I could live with it. Like yours, it seems the underlayer is sneakily turning grey(er) first.

    LOVE your length and the pretty flip it does even though straightened.

    • Brigitte

      Like I have no worries about the size of my butt, I can’t see it!

  8. Brigitte

    Yep, I got the under layer gray, too. We have a friend whose hair was completely silver by the time he was 27, but since he’s a GUY, it’s a whole different thing. HE ends up with more of an Anderson Cooper look. >:-(

  9. Chuck

    I like my gray hair. I feel like I have earned every one of them. :) As a guy I suppose it’s viewed differently. Still, I used to work with one lady who had almost completely white hair (she was pretty young to have it also) and I thought it looked really good on her.

  10. Jen

    My husband is almost completely gray at 40, but all the ladies seem to love it. My best friend calls him the silver fox. He’s a nurse in an endoscopy clinic (think colonoscopies) and he literally gets compliments on his hair DAILY. Consider, however, the general age of the clientele of an endoscopy clinic…but still..every day! Guys have it so easy. His mom was early to gray and she didn’t used to color it, but too many people assumed she was the grandma of her youngest kid and so she started coloring. Such a double standard.

  11. Kritty

    We battled Japanese beetles forever! Get some milky spore you silver fox!

  12. RL Julia

    I am grayer- but I like to pretend that they are just really blond highlights. Delusion isn’t a river in Egypt either!

  13. dad

    It is futile to apologize for giving you the hateful “gray hair gene.”
    However you are still pretty.

    My philosophy is to embrace any hair color but “gone.”

    • Frank

      Second that philosophy!

  14. Elizabeth

    We moved to Northern California from NYC and I thought I would be able to go all natural here…. but I look in the mirror and I see mouse. Trying to decide what to do… I don’t love all the chemicals in the dye, but mouse? ick.

  15. Peggy Fry

    zomg!!! My eyes!!!! The GRAY! THE GRAY!!!! OH THE HUMANITY!!!

  16. Mom

    Ha! Your mother so wants the white hair that her maternal grandfather had, but has 7 white hairs and that is all. Methinks we all want what we don’t/can’t have. I wanted pink and I got it!

  17. JennyA


    • Mir


  18. Little Bird

    Those are merely platinum highlights. I have them too.

  19. s

    I haven’t colored my hair in ages, but slowly the grey was weaving in there…so 2 months ago, I asked my hairdresser/friend for suggestions as I am very low maintenance, so she did some grey coverage thing that doesn’t contain any bleach/peroxide so it doesn’t lift color, but does cover up the grey. Funny thing, though, is it did make my hair a tiny bit darker for the first few weeks, and I started getting people saying “why did you dye your hair darker, I loved all your highlights” and I thought to myself highlights??? must have been all they grey! I don’t know, I don’t get too jazzed about my hair – I need to re cover it again (supposed to be every 8 weeks and she gave me the stuff, the directions, and it seems easy to do myself, yet 3 months later, I have not yet mustered the courage/energy/alone time so no one sees me with my hair like that?) and she did refuse to “chop it all off” last time I went in for a cut, so we compromised with MUCH shorter, but not too short. sigh. hair – what a lot of work!

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