Ms. Natural Woman

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Taking a long puff on her cigarette, she gave me a hard look. “You have pretty, big hair,” she said, as I went through the door of the building where I work.

The smokers hang around outside to pursue their nicotine habit since it is not allowed inside in the workplace. This particular morning I was trying to get to work on time and sliding under the wire, as usual. I was totally off guard with my mind on the million other things waiting on my desk inside.

Big?” I heard. BIG hair? I guess it was meant as a compliment.

“Er, thanks,” I murmured, while making a mental note to go straight to the ladies’ room and assault the problem with the hairbrush.

I forgot about the incident until later in the day at lunch. A bunch of us gals who work downtown get together once a month for lunch. It’s a “girl thing,” chitchat, a chance to socialize, and a break from the routine.

One of the ladies had just redone her hair in a new lighter shade. Of course, everyone noticed and commented on how nice it looked. Then one of the other ladies speculated on how much she would like to have a new style. The discussion eventually turned to whether or not to “color” your hair or leave it natural – whatever that may be. First thing you know, all eyes are looking at my hair. Good grief! “What is it with my hair today?” I wondered, trying to slide gracefully under the table where they wouldn’t notice me.

Why is that our society seems to be fixated on hair? Billions of dollars are spent advertising and promoting hair products to make our hair softer, curlier, another shade, straighter, shinier, or to add texture. You name it, and if it has to do with hair, there is a product for it. Curly haired women want straight hair and straight-haired women want curls. Go figure.

The one thing most women don’t want, however, is gray hair. When the first few gray hairs come, we pull them out and pretend they were never there. Then others start coming like an avalanche of dirty snow. A man is merely “distinguished” when his temples turn gray. A woman is mature, aged, a senior.

So, we attempt to turn back the clock with a bottle. It used to be called “dye,” but someplace along the line the term fell out of fashion and became stigmatized. So now we “color” it instead. Most women admit to using “hair cosmetics.” You don’t see too many middle-aged women with gray or graying hair these days. It has been “washed away” secretly at home in the bathroom sink or shower.

Finally, one of the lunch ladies asked the dreaded question, “Is that your natural color?

The bitch! Obviously I’m old enough to have gray hair. Now, there is a little white lie that many women use to answer the question about “natural” color. Their “natural color” is the color their hair used to be. Gray is “unnatural.” Go figure.

That reminds me,” I said, “As I was coming to work this morning, there was this lady who said, ‘You have pretty BIG hair’. It made me think of the country music stars and their big hair. I ran as fast as I could to find a brush and visit the ladies’ room to make my ‘big hair’ into ‘little hair.'”

Everybody laughed and they forgot about whether I did or didn’t “color.” Whew! Close call. That opinionated big-mouthed person saved my day.

One acquaintance of mine has long gray hair. I guess she likes it that way – but she would look 20 years young if she would do something with that mop of hers. Sure, once you start you have to keep it up, but so what? Females look better with makeup – barns look better with paint. Shows how brainwashed I am by advertising.

Now if I can just figure out a way to tell the Ms. Natural Woman with the gray mop that she needs to join the twenty-first century, I’ll be okay. Wonder if Ms. Opinionated Big Mouth could talk to her?

Copyright 2000 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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8 Responses to Ms. Natural Woman

  1. energywriter says:

    So relatable. What we go through to stay looking young. sd

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Only the undertaker will see my gray hair!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I always liked the Joni Mitchell look maybe it’s a (still in the ’60’s thing) and naturally enchanted with her songs.

    Liked by 1 person

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