April 03, 2009

Do I Empower You?

I'm not really touchy feely. I don't like group hugs. You're going to lose me if you talk for too long about chakras or my personal pathway to anywhere. But this week, I am empowering women right and left. No, really. Two different women have come up to me to thank me for not dying my hair. Did I say, "No, really" yet? I started dying my hair when I was a teenager. I've spent nearly half my life working in beauty supplies and salons, so I've always had access. I didn't dye my hair to cover the silver—I dyed my hair because I fucking loved dying my hair. Orchid. Peony. Cobalt. And especially, mostly, perfect glossy black.

But about five years ago, I stopped. I wanted to see what my real hair looked like. And surprise, surprise, I've got quite a lot of silver. I knew I had some. I didn't know I had most. So I decided to see what I was like with silver hair. And surprise, surprise, I kind of liked the look.

The first story I wrote with a silver-streaked heroine was "Art of Darkness":

“Mouth open,” Killian instructed, dangling the bright red rubber ball gag in front of me, and I parted my lips and lifted my neck to make it easier for him to fasten the buckle beneath my heavy, silver-streaked hair. The rubber tasted bitter, an obscene flavor I found oddly pleasing.

“Close your eyes,” Killian said finally, and that’s when I started getting scared.

Killian, I would have said, if the gag hadn’t been in the way. Killian, please.

The words sounded clear in my head, but as I could no longer speak, I hoped my eyes spoke loud enough for me. Hoped he understood what I was saying. Of course, he did. He knew me well enough by now. In fact, I had no doubt that he’d put in the gag before giving this instruction for the sole purpose to see if I’d obey.

“Close your eyes,” he repeated, his voice sterner now, and I drew in a deep breath through my nose, but kept my eyes open.

I felt as if I’d never blink again.

But my silver-haired girls are popping up more often now.

No, I am not drawing the characters out of any sense of dismay at the beauty industry. I'm painting them silver because they look like me. I'm not going gray out of solidarity with my feminist sisters. I'm going gray because I find it interesting that I've run out of black. That I look sort of cool with silver hair. That I don't have to sit for hours with dye on my head.

Back to my story. Two women this week stopped me to compliment my hair. Both women said that I "empowered" them by my choice to turn my back on conventionality. I said thank you, of course, because a) I know how to take a compliment, and b) I'm not a total asshole. But really. How does my choice to go gray empower someone else? Or is this the new buzz word, and I simply didn't get the memo.

I'm actually waiting until I go totally gray.
I'm planning on dying my hair ruby.


P.S. Today, you need to go to Erobintica's house. She's talking about, um, sword swallowing. Remember to comment. You could win this.


Erobintica said...

AT - I think silver gives a lot of interest to hair. (My kids call it silver - and not because they think I'd nip at them if they called it gray.) I've never dyed my hair (typed it died first) - mainly because I've always liked my hair color. But it's funny, I have thought that when it's all silver (if I'm lucky - my grandmother had gorgeous silver hair) - I've thought about the occasional wild color streak. I'm going to be a glam ma (eventually that is).

Alison Tyler said...

On our honeymoon, I remember seeing a woman who must have been 70 with electric blue hair. She looked fabulous.

Smut Girl said...

i am empowered! i have not had the time or the money to get my highlights. so in my normal mix of my dirty blonde with sunstreaks mess my new 'highlights' are showing up.

the man said: you do not need highlights. you have them.

and he pointed.

i said, 'baby, those are not highlights. look closer'

'holy shit. that's silver'


'i like it,' he said and then he did dirty things to me.


i really like my silver streaks. they make me feel like a bad ass. so thank you for empowering me. and for the sex. from him, not you. but thanks anyhow! heh heh.

jothemama said...

Silver is cool. Some people get frizzy grey.

The thing is, dying your hair beautiful colours is not the same as'covering up the grey'. I remember seeing Trinny and Suzannah berating some poor woman for letting herself go, for 'letting the grey come through' as if it was some sort of terrible, pathetic crime.

The women find it empowering because you role model looking beautiful while wearning signs of age.

You live in LA, right? Where women are not allowed grow old? No wrinkles, no grey, no signs that you've ever moved your face, fed a baby...

of course it's empowering to see a confident, beautiful woman who is growing older but still sexual and attractive.

Not that I'm saying you're a crone or anything, but people are very scared of grey hair.

Isabel Kerr said...

I love flying in the face of fucking convention and doing my best Cruella de Ville... It turns men on. Believe me. I know. They know you know who you are and you won't take no for an answer. Empowered indeed.

Alison Tyler said...

Here's a bad ass for Sommer. And Jo? Thanks for not calling me a crone. I much prefer hag. Heh heh.


jothemama said...

Don't you mean Ehhhhhhehhehhehhehhehhehhehhehheh?

cerulean said...

I'm intrigued by the responses all of you are getting by going "natural" (hair color, girls, hair color--focus please.) I recently decided that my next color job was going to be my last.

I've timed it to happen next month, a week before I graduate from college (at 53-years-old--yeah, some things take time.) New beginnings.

We'll see how (or if) the man reacts.