Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Going Grey

I am not blessed, physically, with wondrous things. God did not intervene at my conception and say, "THAT BABY THERE, THAT ONE, YES YOU, YOU WILL HAVE LONG LEGS, EYES LIKE POOLS AND A TINY NOSE LIKE THAT WITCH PERSON (who I admit probably wasn't very godly but I liked what she did with her nose when she cast a spell) YES JUST LIKE HER".

In fact, He didn't do bugger all. So I was born and my face was roughly in the right order. As I grew, it was clear that my arse was too big and my legs were too short and my boobs were too small.

But at least I looked marginally human.

Anyway. Luckily, they don't kill fairly plain people so I've managed to survive this long on the strength of my shoulders - which are broad - and my ability to touch my nose with my tongue (always good to bring out at parties). But one thing that is also running in my favour - currently - is that I'm not going grey. YET.

I'm 43, and actually, what I said just then isn't true. For about a year after I'd decided to leave my husband, the grey hairs started coming. I was pulling them out apace, wondering if I'd soon have bald patches at my temples, but in the end I gave up. That's it, I thought - it's happening. I should just accept it with good grace. I am, after all, getting on.

But bizarrely, after about a year, I stopped going grey. No new silver hairs - just the normal mousey brown colour that I've always had and always ignored. And this seemed to coincide with getting settled, finalising the divorce, and moving on.

I seem to have been given a second chance.

Which is lovely, of course (and I'm now going to grow my hair as long as possible in celebration, possibly interweaving loom bands, bits of ribbon and post-it notes as decoration) but it did get me wondering; do we really go grey when we're stressed? And if so, why?

I have researched long and hard into this (15 minutes). And my conclusion is this.


There's been some fairly recent research done on mice who, as far as I know, don't generally get divorced - but may get stressed in other ways, such as falling off wheels, or getting scared by giants in white coats - and conclusions are mixed. Details on the experiment here: the researchers seem to conclude that there IS a link between stress and skin pigmentation/greying hair. The NHS says that the evidence is still uncertain. But I'm sure there must be a link; one look at Tony Blair after five years in office and it's obvious to everyone.

So. My face might be lined and speckled with brown spots. My legs covered in thread veins. My eyes rheumy and red. But my hair remains resolutely brown and I'm enjoying it while I can.

From the back, if I'm wearing trousers, I look 26. From the front, I look 60.

Average age: 43. I'll settle for that.


  1. I love the last comment about from the back you look 26 and the front 60. My family go grey young, I'm 27 and don't have any greys yet, but I'm sure they'll make an appearance soon! Thanks for linking up to the #binkylinky

  2. I love your writing style! This really made me laugh and I love that you stopped the greying process (are you sure God didn't make you a white witch?) I look so knackered and spotty at the moment I have stopped looking in the mirror! It's causing a kind of downward spiral though ;) #BinkyLinky

  3. Gray hair & my eyesight getting poorer is happening to me lately which i awfully dont like as my husband is younger and before I look like his older sister now I probably look like his mother! Not good! I try to get them gray out or hide under some black hair but they go out and when they do they go out in droves. #pocolo

  4. You do hear about people having a traumatic experience and then waking up one day with a silver streak in their hair (I guess that's somewhat more stylish than just some random greys...) I have to imagine that the whole 'make you go grey' turn of phrase must be based on something and yes, you're so right about Tony Blair!! I'm the same age as you but haven't ever noticed a grey yet - I think stress comes out in a different way in me (I get mini patches of shingles on my left forearm.. go figure...)

  5. I think stress definitely affects my skin, but not sure about my hair, I am only just starting to get a few grey hairs now (37). #PoCoLo

  6. There is definitely a link between stress and grey hair. I remember watching a documentary about a guy who worked on the titanic. A photo before the tragedy showed him with dark hair, a few weeks after the ship sank, a photo showed he had completely white hair! #binkylinky

  7. love this- I have been pulling out the same 3 or 4 grey hairs hidden in my hair since I was 21- my sister blames all my bleaching, but I think it is just because I have always been so anxious!
    love that yours has stopped, hoping mine will too!

  8. Absolutely bloody brilliant! God gave me the short legs too, along with a generally tubby look and thin wispy hair that I can't do anything with! The grey has been there for a while so I decided to let it grow out by getting my hair braided... going to take them out soon (been in for over 3 months now), curious to see what colour my hair is!

  9. Haha! I too am similarly blessed. I've reached 36 with only 3 grey hairs and although my son seems determined to generate more, they aren't spreading too quickly. It makes up for being a larger lady, with a big bum and bingo wings ;)
    Thanks for linking up with #BinkyLinky

  10. Nice post, made me chuckle! If it makes you feel any better, my wife was 27 yesterday and I've been known to pluck the odd 1 or 20 grey hairs from her head (don't tell her I told you)!

  11. I actually found my first grey hair this week! I'm 35... I'm sure they'll keep coming! I've also been blessed with very short legs and a fatt, although I blame my rib cage. It's the ribs... Hilarious post!

  12. Erm what's a fatt? I meant fat back! Can't even type now!


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