our commercial exploitation of highly
sexualized images of young women are
two sides of the same coin. To paraphrase Steinem: All pedestals are tiny,
cramped spaces. I wouldn’t want to try
to live on one.
In 2008, I married a kind, family
medicine doctor who serenades me with
a bluegrass fiddle. I returned from my
honeymoon in time to turn 50. “Made
it just under the wire,” a male colleague
my age quipped.
Some women say they start to feel invisible after 50. Every week in downtown
Bethesda I see some older woman who has
starved herself into the skimpy clothes of a
20-year-old rocker. From behind, the illusion holds. Then they turn around.
But I also see women my age and
older who radiate the relaxed confidence
that comes from knowing who they are
and how they got here. For my part,
I like being 55. I know who I am. And
I’m quite certain that my crowning glory
isn’t my hair. That’s why I’m letting it go
I found a chemical-free hair color
from Germany at Whole Foods that’s
made with tree bark, looks like beetle juice and smells like hay. Applying
it is such a production that I feel like I
should be listening to Wagnerian arias.
But it beats the alternative.
The last time I let a salon use chemicals on my graying hair, I arrived to find
the stylist had given my appointment
to a stunning young blonde with waist-length curls. He handed a bowl of dye to
his assistant, who usually just shampoos
hair, and told her to brush it onto my
roots. I arrived home with such funny-looking hair I could have made the cover
of Mad magazine. But my loving husband danced me around the kitchen and
told me he’d love me with bad hair, short
hair, long hair, gray hair, no hair. Back at
Unconditional love is a rare and beautiful thing. It’s the beauty that lasts. n
April Witt is a former Washington Post
reporter who lives in Bethesda. To comment on this column or suggest ideas,
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