Hate That Gray—Dye It Away. Love that Gray—Let it Stay. But We Old Ladies Need to Stick Together Like Hairspray!

Today I am on a rant ‘n roll.  It started yesterday when I read one of my “go-to” blogs, “That’s Not My Age“.  The wonderful Alyson Walsh writes a blog on style for women over 40 and she has “covered” the subject of gray hair a couple of times.  It’s great because she gets the discussion going—and yesterday’s post on this subject of gray hair had me obsessing all day and into the night.

mature woman standing with grey hair

This woman freakin’ rocks the gray hair. And I want to see this look as a stereotypical one for a mature woman. Her makeup is beautiful. I want that lip color. Unfortunately, my own hair isn’t as luxe as hers is to rock this look!

Where do I start?  Ok—here’s my view on the subject.  There are a few outspoken and rather militant schools of thought on the tresses of gray.  A wide number of women seem to insist that all women “over a certain age” should make themselves free of coloring their hair and embrace the change as the locks fade and lose color into that gray area.

If you are a woman over 40 or 50, I’m sure you’ve read the countless articles of women whose choice to “go gray” is a badge of bravery.  Their gray hair is empowering.  They are soldiers in the war of ageism because gray hair = age discrimination.

Um. That’s not necessarily true.  Age discrimination is based not on gray hair. It is based on age—older  age.  Corporations don’t care if a 30 year old woman has gray hair, nor do corporations care if a 25 year old woman has gone prematurely gray and decided to stay that way.  Corporations do NOT want to hire older women because of other factors.  Corporations feel that older women (men too) are not savvy with technology.


This cartoon by Scott Adams pretty much sums up ageism in  the workplace–nothin’ to do with hair!

They give tests to see how adept one may be on the Cloud system or on the latest and greatest versions of Microsoft programs.  And yet, they don’t test anyone in common sense. Case in point:

 Earlier this morning, Bonaparte was at the computer. I heard some choice words coming from our home office.  He was spewing very naughty words in his native language. Ohlalalalala!  And then I heard it—an unusual cry for assistance. The French don’t ask for help so I KNEW this was serious!

Lartigue Bonaparte my favorite pic

Bonaparte as a young man in Paris. He’s contemplating his future in the USA and wondering if  he will ever find a woman who knows her way around the world of computers (I don’t think they even had computers when this pic was taken)!   This is my favorite pic of him–I HAD to sneak it in here!

“Casseee.”  “Cassee.”  “Ah nid ehr ‘elp wis zee compew-tair” “Eez eempor-tahn—On y va!”  “On y va!!”

(Translation: “Cathe.” “Cathe”. “I need your help with the computer”. “It’s important—let’s go!” “let’s go!”)

 His daughter sent him three emails with photos of flyers that she needed printed in color. Bonaparte has AOHell as his email server.  I do not. Bonaparte did not know how to print off the flyer from the contents of the email. 

 To tell you the truth, I don’t use AOHell, so I wasn’t familiar with the process. But IT TOOK ME LESS THAN A MINUTE TO FIGURE IT OUT, resize, reconvene and print the flyers. 

 Corporations feel that only the under 50 crowd is adept at figuring out any sort of computer issues.  Corporations also feel that the under 50 crowd is also much more hire-friendly because they will never become ill. EVER!  Corporations feel older adults are a medical risk.  It doesn’t matter how knowledgeable or able they may be for a position.

Employers also don’t want to hire olders because they are “set in their ways”. Really??? I happen to know many younger people who are way more set in their ways—and dull as all get out then many older people.  One is never too old to learn!

Rather than focusing on your hair going gray, might I suggest placing energies on stopping ageism in the workplace in more important ways—like the ones I mentioned above?

Ageism getty images

Let’s focus on stopping the discrimination better known as “Ageism”!

Look—we’re all women.  We’re older. We need to support each other and stick together like hairspray.


And while I’m at it, we need to stick together like Elnett hairspray. This spray has epic holding power–and we need to hold on to each other!

And that’s the issue.  We all have little cliques.  We have the groups of women who are militant about embracing the gray.  We have little cliques of women who feel that we should age without the use of fillers and plastic surgery.  We have groups of women that look down on other women because they can’t afford designer clothing. It never ends.


That’s right.  I don’t exclude. You wanna smoke like a chimney…


you wanna have plastic surgery to match Jocelyn Wildenstein’s?   I embrace you for who you are!

I remember when Jake was born almost 33 years ago.  It was the decision that I would return to work until I had more children.  Since I was breastfeeding and wanted continue, even while working, I had questions.  I needed support. I went to a La Leche meeting to try to get that support.

La Leche Leauge keep calm. I don't think so

Stay calm my ass–La Leche league was the biggest “letdown” (if you breastfed, you will get the play on words)

And rather than support, I went through an Amazonian attack of sorts.  Questions like “Why can’t you bring your baby to work?”  “Why can’t you insist that you leave work to breastfeed” were thrown at me.  Were these women for real? Were they that entitled that they truly didn’t know what support actually meant?



I felt like Jean Rochefort did in the film “Calmos”. He was attacked by a group of Amazonian troops.  That’s how I felt about La Leche League!

I do remember before the meeting ended, I stood up and told them that I was very disillusioned in their group. I needed support because it was very difficult for me to be separated from my son. I also needed advice on how I could keep my milk supply flowing since I would be away from him for eight hours.  I received no help from the La Leche League. Hence I learned a valuable lesson as a woman that night.   Do what is best for you and figure it out—because these women were a self-righteous group that didn’t give a shit about breastfeeding mothers returning to work.

La Leche League sucks. That was my thought after that disastrous meeting.

My version of Le Leche

As you can see from this photo, I went with my own version of La Leche! My tits were on demand–not just for meals but for snacking too! Oh goddess. I miss my big, huge ’80’s hair!

Breastfeeding is and should be a private matter. If a woman decides to bottle-feed, so be it.  The bond with her child is still great.  If a woman decides to breast feed, then La Leche League should be there for support and advice.  Period.  Stand by the woman and embrace the woman more than the ideology!

We’re our own worst enemies at times. I know women who think I’m horrible for supporting Bernie Sanders completely rather than supporting Hillary Clinton.  That’s not it—I just happen to relate to Sanders’ views and politics more than I do Clinton’s. However, should she win the nomination, she will get my full support and my vote. And it won’t be because she is a woman; it’ll be because she is the better candidate than the women-hating Republicans. Simple!


As much as I want to see a woman president, Hillary comes second to my Bernie. And both of them piss me off because they never address ageism!

It is also ironic that NONE of the presidential candidates have addressed ageism because they are too obsessed with gaining the youth vote!

See where the topic of gray hair has led to with me? Let me get back to the subject.

Yes. I read the many blog posts and articles pontificating about gray hair and not having to spend the time and money on dye. Yes. I’ve read from the “experts” that as you age, your hair color should be a couple of shades lighter or you will look “harsh”.

emmy lou harris

This is the beautiful singer Emmylou Harris. She’s been gray for years. YEARS!  However, not all of us are blessed with the beautiful head of hair she has and not all of us are blessed with her features! She is not the normal gray-haired woman!

Guess what?

Me in dark hair

Perhaps some may think my haircolor harsh, but I really don’t care. This is the color I will wear for a long, long time!

I’ll take my chances looking harsh. I’ll keep dying my hair jet black. It’s the natural color I was born with.

Since I’ve been incredibly lazy at times and have let my roots go to an uncanny resemblance to that of a skunk, I’ve realized that:

peppy le pew gif

If this guy saw me in between coloring touch ups, he would be in love with me!

  • I look washed out in gray—it doesn’t compliment my skin tone
  • My hair, thanks to Menopause (the great biological misogynist), has thinned out to the point of bald spots. Dark dye, along with certain products, disguises the loss.
  • My hair is also naughty. It is coarse and wiry and will appear even more coarse and wiry in its state of gray.
  • I happen to LOVE my hair darkened. In fact, I’m very comfortable with dark hair. And if I’m comfortable, I’m happy. If I’m happy I’m confident.
  • The weather here in the Northeast is gray enough. I don’t need to add to it.


This is how my hair would look if I went gray and allowed it to form into its natural state. Ain’t gonna happen.

I’ve seen very few women who completely rock the gray. Very few.  My Ob/Gyn from New York, Dr. Richard Levine—his wife was one of the few who rocks that gray.  The first time I saw her picture was while I was in stirrups. Her beautiful head of hair made me forget that I was being prodded for a Pap smear!

Ellen Levine. Best gray white hair on earth

Ellen Levine. At the time she was the editor of Redbook magazine and her hair was swoon-worthy. Not just because of the gray, but because her hair was just so thick and lustrous. It didn’t matter what color her hair was. And she made me forget all about the position I was in whenever I saw her husband! (Which BTW, he is the greatest Ob/Gyn in New York City. He has to be. He dealt with my craziness!) 


Her gray has turned to white and she still has a great head of hair.

And her hair didn’t empower her career. Her brains did.

And brains and common sense and respect are what we women need to truly be supportive of each other. We don’t raise our daughters to be exclusive nor do we raise them to be mean girls.  So let’s stop. Let’s be inclusive of ALL women and let’s be supportive of each other.

You want gray hair. I support you and think it’s cool. So please do the same for this old broad and all the others who dye our hair and who pile on the makeup and hairspray. When it comes down to it–we’re all fighting the same “ism”–Ageism!

Let’s Watusi together!


This gets better and funnier with every view!  Look at the aggression of the broad with the cigarette hanging from her mouth. She can multitask. Check out the one on the sofa behind her.  We girls have to band together!

Let’s also dance together. We’ll do the Watusi with The Miracles and Claudette Robinson!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
This entry was posted in ageism, Beauty, Calmos, Ellen Levine Hair, France, Hair, Jean Rochefort, La Leche League is non supportive, Makeup for Older Women and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Hate That Gray—Dye It Away. Love that Gray—Let it Stay. But We Old Ladies Need to Stick Together Like Hairspray!

  1. bflyrenee says:

    Uggg I need to dye mine ASAP!!!!

  2. vellissima says:

    I think you are somewhat right about technology. I have seen ads (for “progressive” businesses, that ask “digital natives”, i.e., those born after the PC was created. I’ve taught a lot of people much younger than I a few things on computers at work. But age discrimination is more than just digital. It exists on every level of employment whether computers are involved or not. In Asia a person, man or woman, is strongly advised to dye their hair if they are on the job market. I imagine there is similar pressure in The US.

    • Catherine says:

      The pressure in the US is horrific. Everything in this country is youth-based. Employers simply do NOT want to hire older people due to past stereotypes. They also don’t want to pay the salaries that older people are worth due to knowledge and skill sets. They would rather keep the cycle of turn over and hire younger workers who will absorb what they can and turn around and leave. Our government is also full of shit because absolutely nothing is done to halt ageism. It’s awful. It really is!

      • vellissima says:

        The can pay young people McWages, and get rid of them when they feel they deserve more. I’m now retired. I wouldn’t mind working more, but not at the door of Walmart.

  3. spearfruit says:

    Okay, let me be honest, I don’t relate much to this because I am a man and I have my gray hair and I like it. But the whole post was worth reading just for reading about the pap smear. Catherine, I really enjoy reading your posts – you are fantastic! XOXO 🙂

  4. Hubby has gorgeous thick and soft silver/gray hair…Mine just isn’t far enough along for me to take a stab at it yet…in the meantime., blue-black is my color of choice….

  5. Great post! I agree – women need to support each other, and not tear each other down. It starts at school and continues through life. At each stage, it seems they want everyone to be the same and be put in the same box. I try not to be judgemental and think I am getting better at not being so. Personally, I don’t care what women do with their hair – as long as they are comfortable with it – that’s fine by me. Yes grey hair can look incredible on some women, and it can look pretty ordinary on others. Although I am ageing in all other departments, I am just to get a single grey hair (and I’m 54). But menopause thinned my already fine and thin hair out more and I had it cut, thinking it would ‘thicken’ up – wrong. I now wear ‘clip in’ hair extensions most days – something I thought I’d never do – but they work, and I feel much better.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Hipsterette, It’s true–right?? We do need to stick together at all times and all ages. Don’t even talk about what menopause does to our hair. I use Toppik to hide the thin spots I have. I also have a larger clip-in topper, which I use now and then. It’s amazing how much we feel better when we have our little helpers! XOXOXO!!!

  6. Penny says:

    Hi Catherine and oh wow,what a great post! I entirely agree with you about everything!!! I found the post in That’s Not My Age really disappointing in that going grey was a ‘style move’ and therefore a good thing to do. Nothing about skin tone! That photo on your post of Ellen Levine (the first one) is EXACTLY what I’m talking about. Look at the contrast between her wonderful creamy unlined pink/rose/slightly tanned skin and that hair colour – just stunning. And similar photos of young and middle age women like Ellen are used time and time again in the beauty media. Occasionally they do show a very pale woman with white hair and again they always look amazing. But you never see an older woman with grey hair who looks pale, washed out and just plain tired. If I went my natural colour and it was all white you wouldn’t know where my skin started and ended it would all be the same colour – I’d just disappear. But anyway, my hair is multiple colours, white at the front and top, going duller brown to the back with shades of red streaked in everywhere – not a good mix of colours – so I’d be dyeing it grey!!!! What’s the point – duh. I’m sticking to my blonde.

    I think it’s the sanctimoniousness of the articles that gets me – we should be free to do as we please with our hair and have it whatever colour we want. And be applauded for that free-thinking attitude. And yes, we should all stick together on this.

    And yes, again, to Elnett, the best hair spray in the universe xxxxxxxxxxx

    • Catherine says:

      Penny! I’m so glad you like the post. I also replied to Alyson’s post yesterday. You picked the perfect word to describe the tone of the “gray movement” articles–sanctimonious! It’s true let me have my color and be happy with it and whoever wants to go gray–so be it. But Ellen Levine has had gray hair for well over 30 years and she never looked old or anything–she looked and continues to look great. I have fish-belly write skin with a bit of rosacea. Um–it’s not flattering! Thanks for your comment!! XOXOXO!!!

  7. Miss Bougie says:

    Concerning age and work, the US is not alone in that field. But you have more mature people in the workforce than we do in France. Here you are considered “old” starting at age 45. It’s difficult to find employment again at that age when you’ve been laid off. The percentage of people working between ages 50 and 65 is the lowest in Europe (just over 50%). When you’re over 50 and laid off you get unemployment benefits for 3 years. When you’re under 50 it’s up to 2 years. That includes health coverage. The unwillingness to hire older people has several origins. More expensive, need to train for new technology etc. Also in the 70’s and 80’s there was a system called “préretraite”, where you could be pre-retired by the company at age 55. You continued to get you salary for 5 years (retirement was age 60 at that time) ; all paid for by the state. Old habits die hard. My Father in law benefited from that program and he’s been retired for about 30 years now. Crazy, isn’t it? And you wonder why our taxes are so high! And on top of that unemployment of the under 25 is over 20%. So you are absolutely right to rant about the unwillingness to hire more mature workers. Sorry about the length of this post. Xx

    • Catherine says:

      Hi B! Oh. Bonaparte has told me that the ageist issue in France is just as bad if not worse. But the difference is that you get benefits for far longer than we do in the States AND your health care is covered. I would pay higher taxes for that. But here in the States it’s also a “me” country and people do not want to pay higher taxes to help others. It’s a vicious cycle! XOXOX!!!

  8. calensariel says:

    My hair is very light blonde. It’s starting to grey on the sides by my face, but boy you gotta look hard to see it. I usually get a weave in the spring and the fall and that’s all it takes. Just lightens it up enough. Man THAT song was a blast from the past! Interesting post.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Lady Calen. I’m still Watusi-ing! LOL! You’re lucky that your gray is elusive. I’m telling you I look like a skunk when the roots start to show! XOXOXO!!!

  9. julietC says:

    Love the dancing women – hysterical! and I am never going to dye my hair – mine is the very fine hair with a kink, my mother used to try and push waves into it and insisted it was curly (no it is not curly – it is confused, on good days it resembles almost curly and on other days – wool) imagine that on top of my wee bunce, I’d look like Mrs Santa Claus, hair dye means my hair is not transperant, it is light brown and goes with my skin tone – pale and pinkish. Without a little colour (thank you lovely hairdresser) I would like something washed up on the beach all pale and NOT interesting. All power to those who look fantastic grey or white – fantastic, sadly not me

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Juliet. Oh. The dancing women are complete greatness. Keep viewing. It gets better with each view. Hey. I, too, have that multiple personality hair. Sometimes it falls straight in places and other times like steel wool. I hear ya! Oh…and my pale face would look absolutely horrid with a gray head! XOXOXOXO!!!

  10. maidsdayoff says:

    There are times that I wish I’d never started dying my hair, but I don’t think I’d look good gray. It all boils down to what we feel when we look in the mirror. When we’re happy with what you see, that’s all that matters. (“Happy” is relative of course – don’t get me started on my crows feet and forehead wrinkles!) 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      LOL. It’s true. We need to be happy with our looks. The crows feet and forehead wrinkles…they look better when our hair is our happiness! XOXOXO!!!

  11. Little Voice says:

    I wish I could dye my hair a lovely, rich white. But alas, I’ll take what Mother Nature gives me.

  12. mareymercy says:

    I love your blog! So glad to have found it.

    I grew out all my hair dye envisioning stunning silver locks, and instead I discovered I still barely had any gray and what I was left with I didn’t like. So now I am back to dying it and I am happy. I also love my wigs and have all sorts of hair color that way, including gorgeous silver! You look a TON like Geena Davis in the throwback photo and I love your current glasses!

    • Catherine says:

      LOL-Marey..that photo was sooooooooooooooo long ago! My sons are 33 and 29 now! Thank God I stopped breastfeeding when they were three years old! I dye. I’m happy and I also have a couple of wigs that I wear when I’m too lazy to Toppik my thin and bald spots! Welcome to my circle of friends–and I’m so happy you enjoy the blog! XOXOXO!

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