I allowed my long suffering husband to choose my latest hair colour.
It is red-purple. I am not happy.
The fact I can be so affected by something as superficial as hair dye is not a great realisation on a crisp Monday, after a brilliant but fleeting weekend of fun and family.
My hair comes second only to my substantial bosom when it comes to physical attributes that affect my self-confidence.
So there it is then. Undeniable proof I am vapid, and vacuous and vain. When it comes to my hair and boobs at least.
It seems to me that when a woman reaches a certain age the fucks she gives about her appearance take on some sort of phoenix-like transformation. I do not look anywhere near as fresh, young or dewy as I did 15 years ago when Grumpy Husband first met me at the tender age of 23. He often reminds me that he thought I was a little chubby when we first started seeing each other (mere weeks before he proposed) as I weighed a hefty 55kg at the time. There’s considerably more of me now, and I very much doubt I’ll ever see those lean little numbers on the scales again.
Yet, it seems strange to admit that I have never felt more confident or at peace with how I look, or who I am.
I still hate this fucking hair colour mind you, but the whole package of me is pretty well worn and I am happier living in it than I can ever remember.
One of my heroines, Jane Fonda, is recently and famously quoted as saying: “You couldn’t pay me to be 20 again.” I couldn’t agree more, and I couldn’t be more impressed with her poise, appeal and stunning appearance as she nears 80 years of age.
My gal pals of a similar age often talk about looks and sex appeal and professionalism. We sometimes lament the struggles of our younger colleagues, and their need to balance the two.
That struggle is real, kids.
So here’s my take on the whole sordid affair.
By the time you are pushing or past 40, you may feel as if you have flown over the clear and present dangers of being asked out by clients or lurid looks from colleagues. You can wear your wrinkles and muffin top as signs of surviving the trenches of life and perhaps even parenthood.
Do some women pine for prettier days?
Do I crave a world where age, gender and attractiveness are totally eclipsed by the meritocracy of performance, experience, skill, enthusiasm and integrity?
You bet your fucking ass I do!
Do my own behaviours, preconceptions and actions sometimes contribute to the status quo of women having to fight tooth and nail to be seen as equals?
Sadly, I think yes. I might be a part of the problem and not so much the solution.
All this self-reflection stemmed from a bad bottle of hair dye.
I don’t have to be concerned with how attractive people think I am, as I am happily coupled and enjoying the spoils of toughing it out through the trenches of marriage and parenthood.
My husband is my business partner and my biggest client. So keeping him happy personally and professionally is in my best interests. I don’t think that’s where my self esteem stems from though.
I am well worn, curvy and kind. I am full of joy and enthusiasm, and keen to share this energy with any willing recipient.
And I think that it is the joy that bubbles over into conversations and relationships that makes me whole.
So, if you’ve taken the time to read this, and you are, or you know a woman who struggles with her appearance and the ageing process, here’s some advice for free:
Do what works for you.
Make small or large changes if you want to. Be it botox, or yoga or hair dye or a pair of Spanx. Or don’t change a single thing! Wear your yoga pants and puffer jacket with pride. You are already beautiful without a shred of make-up. Just own the fuck out of who you are and what you’ve been through, because every mark and millimetre on you is part of your story.
So I will continue to hide behind a thick mask of cosmetics, because I like to play with make up and it does affect my self-esteem. I’ll suffer through this painfully purple hair colour and feel a bit silly every time I see it until it fades.
You be you, I shall be me, and together we will fight our battles with or without the war paint of rouges and contouring creams.
Have a good week.