Where have all of the blue-haired ladies gone? Last week, I went to the Philadelphia Flower Show and saw what must have been every senior woman living within a twenty-mile radius, but none had the blue hair that we used to joke about. Now, they are all orange-haired, a peculiar shade of orange that would only look natural on a orangutan. (“What shade would you like today, Hon? The Indonesian orangutan, or the lighter Malaysian orangutan?”)
They started getting on the train in happily chirping groups of three or four at about Crum Lynne, then more at Ridley Park, Glenolden, and Sharon Hill, until both sides of the aisle fairly glowed in orange. At Convention Center, they streamed in from all directions, and not a blue-hair among them.
The style of their hair was to my non-expert eyes exactly the same for all of them. It reminded me of the DA haircut we boys once had, except without the “A.” It was sort of a pushed-forward pompadour, waves on the sides and short at the back, all sprayed stiff enough to protect them from a falling brick. The spray was needed to hold up their hair which was teased enough for the ceiling lights to reflect off their bare scalp, which I assume was the effect they wanted, because they all seemed proud of their doo that must have cost a good part of their social security check.
Which brings me to the subject of women’s aging. It is clear to me now with my falling testosterone level that when we say a woman is attractive, we mean she looks like she is exceptionally fertile—would easily get pregnant and produce strong, healthy children, certainly nothing I am looking for. I can admire such woman, but am no longer attracted to them.
In most third-world cultures, this stage of fertile womanhood only lasts a short time. By the time she is in her thirties, she looks dumpy, haggard, toothless, and far from attractive, but this is fine because her attractiveness has done its job. She already has four children and does not want more; she does not want to be attractive any longer. Remember the famous National Geographic cover of the Afghani girl with piercing green eyes? When they found her again after years had passed, there was no longer anything attractive about her. And she couldn’t care less.
In Western cultures, however, women become addicted to the extra attention and privileges their fertile stage brings them, and they do all they can to extend the appearance of that stage, even while abhorring any thoughts of more children. So every gray hair and wrinkle is a tragedy to be fought to the death with dye and Botox, since these are obvious signs that peak fertility is past—and the privileges that go with it. Like an aging athlete, life is hard when the cheering stops.
The laws in Western cultures are strong enough so the woman can safely reject any male advances that would get her pregnant, so why not do all she can to prolong the charade? Look, men, but don’t touch or you will be the immoral one. With almost all women fighting the same battle, the unusual woman who “lets herself go” just seems stupid or misanthropic for not taking advantage her opportunity.
I’ll skip the subject of lipstick. This blog is for family reading.
As the woman ages still further, her fertility is obviously past no matter what is done, but lifelong habits die slowly. Gray hair is still out of the question, so why not pick a cheerful color that has no need to look natural, no need to fool anyone? Orange would be good.
P.S. Here are the lyrics to the 1998 parody of Willie Nelson, a song once wildly popular in Florida, but, sadly, no longer appropriate:
BLUE HAIRS DRIVIN’ IN MY LANE
As recorded by Pinkard and Bowden
Based on Blue Eyes Cryin’ In The Rain by Fred Rose
Well, we’d like to do a kind of a tribute song, now
This is a tribute to all them sweet, little old ladies
“God Love ’em.”
That drive around in front of you all the time
On the streets of Nashville, or wherever you may live.
In the taillight’s glow I see ’em
(What do we call ’em, Sandy?)
Blue Hairs Drivin’ In My Lane
When she hit me and departed
I knew there’d be no insurance claim.
Lucky I’m a paid-up member
Here comes good old Triple-A
From the tow-truck I remember
Blue Hairs Drivin’ In My Lane.
Someday on the streets up yonder
They’ll be no-o Chevrolets
In a land that knows no parking
And no more Blue Hairs Drivin’ In My Lane.
(You can hear it on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gea3SJauh6E)