Tracy and I often joke about all the things we have in common. We’re both immigrants to Canada who came here with our parents when we were young. We’re very close to the same age. We both have American PhDs. We wrote disserations in ethics. We started our careers in the Philosophy Department at Western in the early 90s. And we’ve had a multi-decade friendship and conversation about body image and physical fitness in our lives and the lives of women more generally. Then there’s the “fittest by fifty challenge,” this blog, and our book.
“[Fit at Mid-Life] reinforces the message that fitness can and should be for everyone, no matter their age, size, gender, or ability.” ––SELF
What if you could be fitter now than you were in your twenties? And what if you could achieve it while feeling more comfortable and confident in your body?
Here’s what we looked like when our book was published. Promotional photos are from the Amazon site. Thanks Ruth! (Ruthless Images)
Now we’re aging and going grey together. Tracy first! See Tracy enters the grey zone. Tracy’s move to grey/silver was deliberate and planned and involved hair salons. Mine was accidental and a result of COVID-19.
I love Tracy’s silver hair and think it looks beautiful. I confess that silver envy is part of my motivation but I am not sure mine will look as good.
Luckily Sarah owns clippers and has been tidying up my undercut as it grows. Here’s my latest bikes and boats haircut. Gradually there’s less and less blonde and more and more of my hair’s natural colour.
But the thing is I never was someone who coloured her hair to cover grey. Here’s 80s me with a similar haircut and colour scheme. In wilder times it was also pink and purple. I’ve also never coloured the undercut bits and hiding my age was never part of my intention. I’ve always thought of hair colour as fun. I like tattoos rather than jewelry because they can’t get lost. And hair colour rather than make up because you don’t have to put it on and take it off each day.
Here am in, in my 50s, in an administrative role as an academic, frequently sitting around tables with men in suits and women in dresses, almost of the women my age with blonde streaked hair. It’s ubiquitous.
I know why we do it. It’s easy. Highlights aren’t that expensive. The blonde is easier on your complexion. It’s closer to the lighter colour your hair is naturally turning. It’s forgiving in terms of growing in. It’s flattering.
But what if it no longer feels fun? It looks (except for my secret graying undercut) mainstream. What if it starts to feel mandatory?
Blondness is also complicated.
Apparently just 2 percent of adult white women in North America are blonde naturally. You wouldn’t guess that looking around campus or at the mall.
I hadn’t thought of blondness as connected to normative identities and whiteness until I read this article, The Pursuit of Blondness.
“Blondness, then, exists as a complicated form of self-expression. It can signal youth, beauty, privilege, and conformity. But it can also represent rebellion, independence, and the demand to be looked at and respected. It’s a choice that’s both distinctly personal and deeply intertwined with what society has taught people to value. Rankine and Lucas have a term for that: complicit freedom.“
Anyway, I’m growing it out because of #PandemicHair. Maybe I’ll keep it its natural colour. Maybe I’ll revert to blonde. It’s easy to do. It’s shockingly more dark than I remembered!
Cheddar, by the way, is a completely natural blonde.
What are you doing with your hair colour during the pandemic? Any post pandemic hair colour plans?