The Daily Telegraph - Saturday
Without hairdressing, my wife looks embarrassingly old
Last week my wife was picking up our kids from school and met a parent who assumed she was their grandmother. I can see why they’d think that – and it’s been depressing me ever since.
When we met at a tennis club 20 years ago she caught my eye instantly. She was older than me but that was part of the attraction. She came across as a cool and experienced woman of the world, an elegant blonde driving a sports car. I was in my early 30s and up till then had been quite proud of my recently purchased first flat, whereas she had her own business and was renovating a gorgeous Edwardian house.
I’d moved to her town because of my job and knew no one, so I was really happy to become part of her crowd, especially when I realised that she was interested in me. She’s the oldest of four sisters and had recently ended a long relationship, so was very conscious of still wanting to be a mum, especially since her sisters all had children.
Everything happened quickly and we were married within a year, with three babies following quickly. Back then she had a bit of a thing about being older than me, but always looked amazing, getting very fit very quickly after each pregnancy. She gave up work when our first child was born but that was fine, as her parents had actually bought the house for her and she put a good manager into her business and we rented out my flat. Her parents also paid for an excellent school and life was very good. We were really happy together – until lockdown. We’re all at home and everyone got a bit slothful and put some weight on, including me. My wife hasn’t let herself go exactly, but she decided to embrace her grey hair – and I hate it. It’s aged her instantly. Even her eyebrows are grey. I tried suggesting I help her dye her hair and she laughed at me. Our daughter accused me of being sexist because my hair is grey and thinning a bit, but it’s not so ageing for a man. And while I’m not as in good shape as I used to be, I’m 53 now and I think I can carry it. I don’t think she can carry this new look of hers.
When things eased off after the first lockdown I suggested she went blonde again but she wouldn’t entertain it, saying she was embracing her age happily. She got her hair cut properly – but that only made things worse. It’s short when it used to be long and lovely, and now she actually looks older than her real age. I thought she’d prefer to look as young as possible for as long as she can. It feels like a huge gap between us now. She’s fitter than me, but I know I can still pass for my late forties whereas her grey hair feels like she’s given up. I feel that also reflects on me. I know I shouldn’t, but I just feel embarrassed to be seen with her.
I tried talking about it again after that parent assumed she was a grandparent, reminding her that she always used to look so young and elegant but she got annoyed and said everyone else liked her hair. In truth, she looks closer to her mum in age than she does to me. I want my lovely wife back. Is that so wrong?
Our daughter accused me of being sexist because my hair is grey, too