Lightening the load

So I alluded to this the other day, but I cut all my hair off over the last year.

When I graduated from law school two years ago, my hair was past my shoulders; since then, it’s gotten progressively shorter, going first to a swing bob that went past my chin and then to a shorter, layered cut that curled around my ears and the nape of my neck.

But last spring, about six months ago, I decided I wanted to try going even shorter. So my stylist cut it short in the back, leaving some length in the crown and front (think an updated version of the short, blonde cut Gwyneth Paltrow had in Sliding Doors). And it was cute, but there was still too much hair on my head. So by June, I had cut it even shorter — a sort of shaggy pixie cut.

And today I went in and got the full Emma Watson treatment.

Part of the reason I got it cut so short is that I’m leaving Chicago and I want to avoid having to find a new stylist for a while. (I’ve been seeing the same amazing person here for five years and I am so sad to be leaving her. She has cut my hair in every permutation — long, short, growing out, all of it — and has done a great job every single time.)

The other part is that I stopped coloring my hair and the gray just looks better on short hair. I’m actually a little dismayed at how much gray I have now — I basically stopped coloring my hair about six months ago, so each time I’ve gone in for a cut (about every six weeks), more and more of the colored hair has been cut off. I think there’s very little left of that last box of color — and even that box was semi-permanent color, so there wouldn’t be a ton of it left anyway. My hair is pretty much its natural color now — and that natural color is completely shot through with gray. It’s no longer just in the isolated strands around my forehead –it’s spread to my temples and the crown and the nape of my neck. I have a gray patch at my part. A patch!

If I’m going to be this gray at 33 — which is young even for the women in my family, and the women on both sides of my family go gray early — I figure I might as well have the most stylish, progressive, daring cut I can. (Keeping in mind I can’t be THAT daring because I am, after all, a lawyer.) And the short hair is that — it’s super cute, it fits my face and style, and I think it keeps me young. (This is a young pixie cut, not soccer mom short hair, after all.)

So I’m pleased with it. My stylist has been going shorter and shorter with each cut and I think she finally got it short enough! And I feel good about it.

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Caving in

I’ve been trying to grow the dye out of my hair for a while now—say, about the last four months.  It’s been working pretty well, particularly considering I’ve been having my hair cut shorter and shorter with each trip to the salon.

But yesterday, my dear spouse looked at the top of my head, wrinkled his nose, and said, “The top of your head is getting pretty gray, honey. I think it’s time to color it again.”  I replied that I was trying to grow out the dye and he nodded and then repeated, “It’s getting pretty gray.”

Women in my family tend to go gray early.  I found my first gray hair at 23.  My mom was totally silver by 55. Both of my grandmothers, too.  So I’m doomed to have a full head of gray hair at a relatively young age; I get that.  And I am, to a certain extent OK with that. Philosophically.

But in practice, I don’t really like the gray. It stands out against my (pretty mousy) medium brown hair, it’s coarse, it doesn’t style well, and worst of all, it ages me.

And I think it’s that last one that bothers me the most. I tend to look much younger than I am—and thank you, Mom, for beautiful skin and some early lessons in how to care for it—so the gray really does stand out as a visible sign of my age. It’s not just a vanity thing, either—I don’t mind getting older and I certainly don’t pine for my youth.

No, more than vanity, I worry about its effect on my career. I’m an attorney, and a relatively newly minted one.  But I didn’t go straight to law school after college—I spent six years doing other things, six years I never regret. That means, though, that I am competing on the job market with 25 and 26 year olds.  My resume already marks me as older; the gray, though, I think, really makes that concrete. Jobs are scarce enough as it is and I don’t need potential employers downgrading me because of my age.

Still, though, I thought I’d try to grow it out. No one at my current job cares how I look—I don’t meet with clients and I rarely have to be in court. This seemed like the perfect time to let the dye grow out and see just how gray I’d gotten and then decide what to do with it.  Maybe I’d love it! Maybe it would look good. Maybe I’d be happier just being myself—mousy salt-and-pepper instead of from-a-box-red. I was trying to put my philosophy about my hair into practice.

But after hearing yesterday that it was looking pretty bad, I started to get concerned. I am in heavy job-search mode right now and I’m hoping I’ll have some interviews in the next month.

So I bit the bullet and bought another box of color. I did go with a semi-permanent dye, so hopefully it will grow out more softly than the stuff I’ve used in the past. And while it grows out, I’ll continue to muse on how exactly I feel about dying my hair—whether it’s necessary or just expedient—and hope I can stop dying it soon.

Things I’m too old for, #1

I think I’m too old for them, but I just bought these:

platform rope wedges

The spouse claims they look like stripper shoes. I think they make my legs look long, and I bought them for vacation and to wear with a cute embroidered cotton dress, so I figure they’re probably OK.

But I’m definitely too old for them.