A Self-Proclaimed Plucker Wages War on Midlife Hair

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I think it is time to talk about a taboo subject. Normally, I would not broach such a hair-raising topic, but my body is going through a subtle revolution whereby some parts or factions are declaring war on me. It is time for me to pull back, reevaluate the enemy and its tactics, and strategically plan a retaliatory maneuver.

What is this enemy you ask? It’s not the fact that I have to drop something on the floor to be able to read it. No, it’s not that I need to take a shot of Milk of Magnesia as an after dinner dessert. And, it’s not my on-going need to count the dimples in my thighs. I can deal with all of that. What I am talking about is what Dr. Seuss would say is “muchly much more serious”—midlife hair.

[Gasp! Gasp! Choke, choke. Cough…]

[Whispers, whispers]

[“Oh, she did NOT just say that.]

[Girrrrrl, uh uh, you cannot go there.]

[What? Did she just say the H word? No, no. NO!]

I know. I know. I am a brave soul for even mouthing the words, but quite frankly, ladies, THIS IS WAR! We deal with scary things in war, so tug up those Spanx and prepare for a debriefing.

When I was a teenager living in the most humid place on the planet—Miami, Florida—if wanted any lift or height in my doo (hey, this was the era of A Flock of Seagulls, Madonna, and Duran Duran), I had to lather my hair with “products,” heat up the curling iron to the blaze setting, and once fixed to the proper height, spray it like Bob Villa lacquering a piece of furniture. I did that so that the natural bone straightness would be transformed into a rockin’ look for this child of the 80s. In fact, I just resigned myself to the notion that I had straight hair forever. Styles come and go, and the straight thing has served me well at times, so I can’t complain. Recently, however, I am looking around to see whom I might have ticked off. I am wondering if someone has a voodoo doll with my name on it, and is sticking it in a light socket because my hair has changed significantly.

The only way to describe my hair is highlighted cotton candy. It is so fluffy that it has taken on the texture of spun sugar, and the more humidity in the air, the fluffier my head appears. I have heard that when your hair turns gray, the texture changes. It is more like wire. On my head, there is no mistaking this for wire. Now, I have noticed a touch of gray at my temples, but truth be told I have not seen the natural color of my hair since Reagan was in office. Underneath the artistically dyed camouflage could be an entire head of gray hair, but I lament that I did not inherit the strong steel gray hair that my mother and grandmother had. Nope. I am stuck with fluff that can only be tamed by a flat iron, and the taming lasts on average 1.02 hours. I am only able to garner a non-frizz hour because I have plied my locks with the latest serums and keratin miracle products. Otherwise, I would live in the Land of Fluff 24/7.

I know I should not complain. At least I have hair, something my younger brother hasn’t experienced since he was in college. I am just frustrated because I have spent over 40 years learning how to quaff my hair, and now the game has changed. It’s as if I have spent my whole life playing tennis, and one day I walk onto the court and somebody with a golf club in his hand yells, “Four!” It’s the proverbial fall down the rabbit hole.

All of this is not to say that I haven’t sprouted any wire-like hairs. The wiry hair I have tends to grow out of my chin. Yep. I am going there. The first time I saw a “stray” hair on my chin, I was in my 20s. And, it was exactly that—one lone thick hair, blooming from my chin like a rare rose in the desert. I didn’t really know what to do with it. I didn’t even own tweezers. So, I borrowed my roommate’s to discreetly take care of this strange variance. What was an anomaly turned into a weekly routine; almost like search-and-find game. In my 30s this happened with more frequency, but I was not alarmed. Now the distress signals are blaring.

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As I approach 50, my chin resembles the Sequoia National Forest. I didn’t know so many hair follicles could sprout with such frequency. And, these are not soft pale hairs. Nope. They’re course black or gray hairs that could do some damage to my kids’ faces at a bedtime kiss.

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