Fifty Shades of Grey Curly Hair!

August 22nd, 2012 | Categories: Age

Today, Jen Muroff of SmartThingz provides smart insights about her experience with stereotypes of people with grey hair.

Fifty Shades of Grey Curly Hair!
by Jen Muroff

I am not brave. I am scared of bugs, loud noises, heights and am constantly afraid that I am going to have a heart attack. So why have I been awarded the badge of valor and been called out as brave recently?

I let my hair go grey!

I went from medium length dark red curls which I chopped off to practically a very grey (almost pure white) crew cut. It was shocking to see what color my hair actually was! I initially felt liberated by the freedom of not having to keep up with touching up roots and having a cool unique look. I have had grey hair since 19 years old and I was just so tired of the maintenance. It was exhilarating not to have to plan my next appointment of touch ups so that I didn’t have “roots” while on vacation or at a social event.

The thrill was soon gone.

While on line at a local discount store I was asked if a cane was mine (ouch!). I was asked about my beautiful grandchildren…excuse me, they are my 5 year old twin daughters! I was constantly asked with bewilderment if my husband liked my hair grey and was met with incredulous looks when I said he loved it. I was also asked if I was sick, why I was letting myself go and good friends of mine started to call my granny.

I recently colored my hair back to its normal phony shade of red because I like it better that way. I didn’t do it because of all the negativity, I didn’t change it back because of any reason other than I wanted to be red again.

I have changed my hair color from blond, to black, to red and back many times over the last 20 years. I was never met with such stereotyping at any other hue than grey. Nobody thought I was any stupider than usual at blonde. However when grey I became an old lady that had given up on herself. Why is grey not cool? Why is it that in most kid’s books grey haired women are heavy, in the kitchen cooking and are always grandma?

I am not brave and I also am no longer grey. I work full time developing health and fitness products, practice Bikram Yoga 3 times a week, and am a mom of twin 5 year old girls. I am not lazy, and have not given up. But when my hair was grey that is how I was perceived. I would have loved to embrace my grey hair, it just did not look good on me. I loved the bold statement it made and loved being the only women in a room with grey hair, but the bottom line is I am vain and I look better with red hair. That is not to say I won’t get a crew cut and go bright white again.

Jen Muroff
Co-founder of SmartThingz, a NYC Company that develops health and wellness products, and a proud mom of 5 year old twin daughters

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  1. August 22nd, 2012 at 15:31

    love you any color! xoxo

  2. Frances A. Shea
    August 22nd, 2012 at 15:53

    I too had grey hair since 19. Unfortunately, I had similar reactions to Jennifer’s when I did let it go at age 50. I didn’t mind it, but people gave up their seats for me in the train (when I was pregnant I wasn’t given a seat, but my grey hair got a seat) – thank you very much! I have since returned to dying my hair to the color it once was because my granddaughter, now 16, told me that I scared her and that I took years off her life, and don’t do it again.

  3. Frances A. Shea
    August 22nd, 2012 at 15:55

    P.S. Hair color has nothing to do with anything – everything is perception – and perception only. Jennifer you and Stacey look lovely just the way you are!

  4. August 23rd, 2012 at 08:38

    Thank you Janice and Frances. The grey hair experiment was fun at first. I had always told myself that I would look great with grey hair. I had to know. So I found out. I did not look so hot. But man, it was great not having to do a thing!

  5. alexbon
    November 27th, 2012 at 15:49

    This is an unfortunate stereotype because the color of an individual’s hair really should not play into the way they are viewed as a person. Gray is automatically associated with old age, which is not accurate or fair. It is especially unfair that when men have gray hair they are considered to be more distinguished or sexier, while when women develop gray hair they become old hags. Who got to make that decision? There is something wrong with this country that people are automatically judged based on their looks. My own Grandmother used to run into this problem often. When she was about 60 (this is not old) she went completely gray. Her hair was such a sparkly gray that it was almost pure white. For a while she continued to cover it up with different shades of blonde and red. Eventually she just gave in and allowed her natural hair to take over. According to her it was liberating. She never had to go to another hair dying appointment again. People immediately began to assume she was much older than she actually was because of her hair. This makes no sense to me. The color of someone’s hair really has absolutely no impact on the mental intellect of a person. Additionally, I thought Grandma looked better with her gray hair! She looked healthier, younger and more natural!

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