(October 12, 2020) Listen to the audio version

“Whoa!” my hair stylist said when he looked at my reflection in the mirror of his salon. It was the first of what turned out to be only two days in July he was allowed to operate his business. There I was, masked, hair wet from shampooing at home, more than three months after my last cut-and-color. My hair was shaggy and … no longer all brown. “You sure you want to do this?”

“Yep. Just a haircut, please.” I’d been talking with him for at least a year about how to make a graceful transition to the natural hair color of a woman in her 60’s. Though I liked the brown with summer blond highlights I’d had all my life, I also knew I didn’t want to continue that look into my 70’s and 80’s. Female politicians may feel they have to. I sure don’t. I’m afraid brown hair wouldn’t match my face in the coming decades. Why not see what happens? I can always dye it again.

The pandemic offered the perfect excuse. I couldn’t get into the salon. I also wasn’t attending any events to which I’d rather not show up sporting a skunk stripe on the top of my head. My adult daughters and husband agreed I should go for it. Yet I did appear on Zoom a couple of times a week, and I’m not someone who’s always comfortable with change. My stylist offered to whip up color I could grab, go home and apply myself. Friends and neighbors did that, or bought color kits online or at the drugstore, with varying degrees of success.

Nevertheless, I’ve held out. And I’m not alone. Turns out going silver/white/salt and pepper, or embracing natural hair in general is a pandemic trend. Though I’ve stepped away from social media, I’ve heard there’s a Facebook group for those like me. It’s been kinda fun these months to watch what color grows in. I’d hoped for my cousin’s white, but I think I’ll end up with my brothers’ silver. I never did get that skunk stripe. One more haircut and the brown will be history.

With a Perspective, I’m Debbie Duncan.