Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Hairy Dilemma

Middle age bites. There, I said it and I feel better.  No?

OK, OK you got me. That statement was false.  I mean, to some people, middle age might bite, but I  honestly don't mind getting older for the most part. There are some things - chin hair, being called 'mam, dealing with PTA mothers - that kind of suck but I still feel and think like a sixteen year old.   A sixteen year old with the advantage of having much better judgement and a full time job.  So on balance, it's really not a bad gig.

But there is a bit of push/pull between chronological age and mental age in certain circumstances.  For example, how long is it OK to wear teal nail polish without looking like a complete tool? Or, do you buy the giant hoop earrings at Hot Topic when you are shopping for your 12 year old, or do you keep on walking? And most importantly, how long is it appropriate to have long hair?

This question surfaced the other night while I was watching "It's Complicated" for the umpteenthousandth time. I don't know what it is about that movie, but I find it charming. I think I might just enjoy seeing Meryl Streep get stoned and bake croissants.  Anyway, I'm looking at Meryl, who has a good 13 years on me, but looks pretty good, and I'm wondering, would she look better/worse/older/younger with shorter hair? And, if I'm wondering this about her, is someone wondering this about me?

My friends and I have an inside joke about our mothers asking us when we are going to grow up and cut our hair. Why is it that short hair is viewed as "mature"? Quite honestly, I would prefer not to hear my name and the word mature in the same sentence. And when I look around at what my mother's generation might consider mature hair styles, the chunks come up at the back of my throat in what my daughter likes to call a "baby barf".

Let's explore what the "age appropriate" hair options are, shall we? For some reason, all middle aged women are portrayed as having a disobedient bowels, so let's check out the hair on some of the women in ads targeted at my demographic:

The lady from the Dulcolax commercial. Apparently, us middle-agers prefer mom jeans and a conservative bob for our ride on the poo poo blanket:


Jamie Lee Curtis sports a silver pixie and a big green couch to hawk her bowel stirring yogurt to constipated middle aged women:



And best of all, I found this blog offering tips for hairstyles that women over forty could consider because "beauty never stops". Here are some of the examples  They are lovely women, to be sure.  But, do they look like any forty year old women that you know or did this get cast from the local assisted living facility:

According to http://www.beauty-and-the-bath.com/Forty-Something.html, these are the styles that forty-something" ladies should be sporting.  Any one else want to join me on the ledge?  If these hairstyles are a sign of growing up, then I plan to be 16 forever.

22 Your comments, banter and witty repartee:

Life As I Know It said...

I'm a fan of long hair. It hides wrinkles around my eyes ;)

SparkleFarkle said...

And then there's that tendancy for spouses to start looking like each other as they age: Did you know Christopher Guest was his wife's understudy during the filming of all those Activia commercials? Yeah, all he had to do is comb his bangs forward to pull it off. It's true. I wouldn't kid about a thing like that.

Have a great rest of the weekend!
SparkleFarkle~~~~~*

Kat said...

Stay 16, girl! I'm 46 and still growing my hair. It's short, because I used to have short hair my whole life except the one time I grew it out and donated it for cancer. I like layers, and finally found a girl who can cut it, and allow it to still grow, but leaves the layers in. It lays nicer. I don't want short hair anymore. A friend once said to me, while I was 23, "Why does every skinny girl I know have long hair, but every fat girl I know has short hair?" I was ASTOUNDED! So I attribute short hair with fat women, except for Jamie Lee Curtis, of course, who rocks that short hair as well as Hallie Barry and Demi Moore (in that army movie) :)

knittergran said...

I don't understand letting "whoever" tell us what to wear or how to cut our hair or whether to color it. Do as you wish! People harass ME about my sister's very long hair (age 60), but that is how she is comfortable.

Lin said...

Oh, I don't think I have ever noticed that push for older women to have short hair! I had long hair in college, but other than that, it has always been short. That said, I have a lot of 40-something friends who have their hair long and they look beautiful. I think it is an issue when a woman insists on dying it blond and pretending she's still 20 when she's not. I know someone who is like that--her face is waayyyy wrinkly, but she's got that damn dyed blond flowing long hair. It just looks silly. Maybe it is HOW she wears it that makes it look young. Hmmmmmm...

linlah said...

I saw a woman the other day who had ten years on me, which would be 20 years on you and she had her hair in pony tails. I applaud her sense of 16 forever.

SurferWife said...

Oh Dearest God. No. No, no. no. They all look like a anorexic drowned rats. Jamie Lee Curtis looks like she needs to take more vitamins because of that hair.

The Empress said...

*fistbump*

We'll go down fighting, hair hanging down our backs, together.

You got me, girl.

#teamhair

Ash said...

I figure it hides the age-telling rings on my neck. When did I turn into a tree, I have no clue, but September brings my 40th, and this hair is staying (blog shot is old ;).

blueviolet said...

I wore my hair long for such a long time that I actually got sick of it. So now I'm middle aged with short hair much to my chagrin.

foxy said...

I can't imagine ever having a "short all over" haircut. I have a really long face, so I naturally look better with shorter hair, but I don't think what I've got is a mom cut. And my husband would pretty much kill me if I ever went shorter than my bob.

FRANNIE said...

Next month I'll be 38 and currently I'm rocking the latest trend of long, loose curls thanks to the how to section in Lauren Conrad's Style book.

I say let's be 16 forever because I'm not ready to look like my mother.

DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

All - Let me be clear. . .I am not hating on short hair. Those that have the head, face shape and general style to pull it off, look great. Let's just say that my dome has more in common with a country fair, prize winning pumpkin than say a smoothly tapered ostrich egg. What I object to is the perception that with a certain maturity comes a certain hairstyle. I am not down for that. I say, wear what you wanna wear and try to get your mother's voice out of your head.

Linda Medrano said...

I think long hair looks great on women of any age IF they have the hair for it.

My hair is kept quite short but not because of age. I wear a spiky platinum crew cut (almost) because my hair tends to grow straight up and out kind of like a troll doll. Since all the women on my mother's side of the family have what I would call "big hair" including my sisters, I just opted to not have big hair.

Amy said...

The poo poo blanket!! AHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!

I say where it long as long as you can. While 30 is the new 20 & 40 the new 30...all bets are off. Look at actresses in their late 40s and 50s...they are stunning and still age appropriate. Examples: Kelly Travolta (hello? just had a baby at 48!) Helen Mirren, Annette Bening, Julianne Moore...I could go on and on:)

wwillow27 said...

All of the women my age have short hair, and mine is down to my arse. Guess who gets noticed and who doesn't? I say forget the age factor-do what makes you happy. And get the hoop earrings! :)

Sex, Drugs and Bacon Sandwiches said...

I got in early and shaved all mine off when I was 20...

PS I am back with a different disguise - I'm no longer eternally distracted ;)

Caution Flag said...

I'm 48 and wear it short only because I have NO talent for making hair look good. Now I need to go find some disobedient bowels since I am well beyond the age that should have begun.

Jen Chandler said...

I have always wondered about this! I'm only in my 30s, but I've had really long hair and really short hair and I like them both. I think you should keep the hair length that YOU like and not what society dictates. If you want hair down to your ankles when you're 100, then go for it!! Personally, I love seeing a "mature" woman with really long hair. It can look very elegant. Then again, I also like it when they cut it super short and funky :D

~Jen

Mom of the Perpetually Grounded said...

This one cracked me up. My mother used to say that all the time. She started when I was 9. She always wanted to get my hair hacked off. However, I am 45 and just below the shoulder blades and proud of it!

Sara said...

Don't do it.

I think if Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren and Faye Dunaway have taught us anything, it's that one can age with grace AND long hair. Granted, I think they're all fairly further in their years than you, but it's a healthy image to which we can all aspire.

Annette Benning is doing it wrong.

Repeat, do not use Annette Benning as your go-to for hair advice.

LiBBy said...

I'm 50 and finally got it to the middle of my back. Im not cutting it because I grew it this long for comb-over purposes. I'm getting that thin on top/ party in the back thing going on.

LiBBy

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