Photo from http://www.grayhairaway.com/

Every once in a while I scour the top of my head visible to me, searching for a dastardly hair gone blonde, or occasionally a white/gray one. There’s one particular spot where I know a white one grows, and it’s right by/in my bangs, so when I notice it, I, uhm, take care of it. It’s been awhile since it cropped up, but today, there it was, shorter than every other hair buddy in its midst from its last demise and laying low, hoping to avoid the precision tip of my tweezers. I attacked it with brushing fingers first, as Frankie does have some white hairs on him and occasionally he sheds them and sometimes they somehow end up on my hair (I blame his absolutely adorable and very comforting habit of curling up right next to me on the pillow). Wouldn’t budge. I’m still going to blame it on Frankie though, somehow in the middle of the night he forced one of his own soft, short, thin white hairs into my scalp and made it grow wiry and thick like my own hair. That sneak! That rapscallion! That scallywag! He should be a scientist! A scientist of hair science!

Ahem. I plucked that bastard. All one inch of it. And I didn’t feel sorry.

Until I found its big sibling, a hair about five inches long, and just a few inches to the left of little gray hair. Big gray hair passed by unnoticed for quite some time, apparently by trickery and deceit, as almost half of it was some weird orangey yellowy browny shade, which has probably never before graced my head since the Great Attempt to Self-Bleach One’s Dark Hair ’97. Big gray hair was devious, oh so devious, right from the start. Having gone undetected for probably months and months, it got cocky and darted between its appropriately tinted companions while I sought a solid hold on it. Fingers gripping, it slipped through them time after time, coy and mocking, until I called in the reinforcements of my faithful beauty & grooming companion, the tweezer. Much like True Grit‘s Rooster Cogburn, my rusty tweezer is ruthless, relentless, and kind of a drunkard, but rarely fails to get its bounty. Caught orange-tipped, that big gray hair had nowhere to go but out of its follicle.

It was then that the reality of the situation set in. I had heretofore been a one-gray-hair-at-a-time person. “Bad news,” one of my hair stylists had uttered a few months ago, “I found a gray hair.” I was used to those words. Now I’m a two-gray-hair person. (I realize the potential for more, considering there’s a whole hemisphere of my head I can’t see without multiple mirrors, a few extra hands, and countless hours of time to waste, but I’m refusing to acknowledge it as fact.)

I had a mini moment of panic. I left the house in a flurry of it, desperate to leave the scene of the discovery, and possibly slightly more desperate for a skinny caramel macchiato. I’m 29 and though I’m often mistaken for being younger, my age has started to show lately, in the fine laugh lines around my mouth and unremitting bags under my eyes from lack of sleep and a surplus of stress. I don’t necessarily feel my age, given my messy house, penchant for tchotchkes, and inability to pay any bill on time, but I will be 30 in 8 months and 10 days (not that I’m counting), and I’d hate for it to show any more than it already does.

So I googled ‘what to do with a gray hair’ and a great many (online, probably not reputable) sources assured me that two or three would not grow in its place, and a few (online, probably not reputable) sources cautioned me that it might result in scarring or infection, and it psychosomatically started to smart where I plucked out those two gray hairs. Then I started to wonder about future gray hairs, and how I’d look with a full head of silver hair, though that point is a long way off, I hope. Will it be all one smooth shimmer of white, find a way to variegate itself just as my natural hair does, salting and peppering as it sees fit, or will it be mostly brown with strands and streaks of gray? How gradually will it change – and how long will I color it, if I go that route?

So much to think about! So many science-y questions! So much time for those little follicles to plan and plot their coup! For now I’ll wage my battles one at a time (or two if I have to), and when the forces become too numerous for me to combat with merely tweezers or Clairol, then I’ll steel myself and google pictures of gorgeous women with glowing metallic hair for inspiration. And maybe I won’t be so quick to pull the next gray hair I see.

(But it’ll still come out)