Just for men with gray hair

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LIFE - Jim Mullen The Vil­lage Id­iot

Be­ing gray doesn’t bother me. Af­ter all, at least I still have a full head of hair. I don’t have to do comb-overs, shave my head or wear a baseball cap back­ward 24 hours a day to pre­tend that I still have hair.

Plus, gray hair looks dis­tin­guished. Strangers might mis­take me for a doc­tor, a lawyer or even a high school grad­u­ate. At least they might, un­til I open my mouth and they re­al­ize that they’ve been cru­elly de­ceived.

The fact is that gray hair just means you’ve got a lit­tle age un­der your belt. But like many men, for years I thought my hair had mag­i­cal, mys­ti­cal, Sam­son-like pow­ers. It must have been easy for Charlton He­ston to com­mand the Red Sea to open; af­ter all, he had such a mag­nif­i­cent mane of thick, beau­ti­ful gray hair.

“Who’s go­ing to get the pro­mo­tion?” “Let’s give it to the guy with the great hair.”

“Who’s go­ing to get into this ex­clu­sive night­club?” “That guy. He’s got the best hair.”

“Who’s dat­ing that su­per­model?” “The guy over there with the nice hair.”

The best thing about hav­ing gray hair is that it freaks out teenagers. Gray hair both­ers them al­most as much as nose rings and tongue studs bother me. Some­times I point at my head and say, “This will be you in 30 years.” They freak out.

Gray hair can be re­ward­ing. I’m al­ways get­ting se­nior dis­counts at stores where all the cashiers are teenagers. Though I’m still a few years away from qual­i­fy­ing for most dis­count pro­grams, teens see the gray hair and fig­ure I must be get­ting birth­day wishes from Al Roker. Teens would cer­tainly be sur­prised to learn the ac­com­plish­ments of many gray­headed peo­ple. Do they know that it was a per­son with gray hair who invented the light bulb and the phono­graph? Do they know that it was a per­son with gray hair who built the local shop­ping mall? Do they know that it was a per­son with gray hair who invented the cell­phone? Well, maybe it wasn’t. But I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a teenager.

That’s why I’m im­mune to those TV com­mer­cials for hair prod­ucts that color “only” the gray — grad­u­ally, over time, so no one will no­tice. Sure, no one will no­tice — if you work at home and your job is be­ing a her­mit. How­ever, if you have a real job at a fac­tory or an of­fice, peo­ple will no­tice. They may not say any­thing, but they will

no­tice. I worked at an ad agency once where a gray­haired proof­reader named Brian took a month-long va­ca­tion and came back as Betsy. No one said any­thing about the sex change, but ev­ery­one no­ticed that she was sud­denly a blonde.

Un­for­tu­nately, the fan­tasy that my gray hair is an as­set was cru­elly shat­tered yes­ter­day when a short, fat man wear­ing a spec­tac­u­larly ugly Hawai­ian shirt two sizes too big for him came up to me at a neigh­bor­hood get-to­gether and in­tro­duced him­self. He had a boil on the end of his nose, hair com­ing out of his nose and ears, a dis­tract­ing piece of food stick­ing to his teeth on the left side of his mouth, a tic in one eye and he reeked of non-craft beer. His hair, how­ever, was the same gray as mine, and it was cut the same. It was spec­tac­u­lar. “I can’t tell you,” he hic­cupped, “how many peo­ple mis­take me for you.”

Now I’m won­der­ing if there is a prod­uct out there that will make me go bald. Slowly, over time, so no one will no­tice.

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