“Redheads don’t go grey,” my granny always insisted. To her, it was a fact that could not be argued, never mind any evidence to the contrary. By the end of her life, she had lost her sight, but if she had been able to see, she would have had her assertions confirmed—at least as far as her own hair was concerned. It wasn’t what it once had been, of course. It had thinned considerably and had changed from the bright red of her younger days to a darker, more muted auburn, but there was nary a grey on her head. It was almost as if believing that her hair would never fade to grey had made it so. Perhaps she had done the same thing with her skin, which was still smooth and creamy into her eighties, perhaps slightly more translucent as she grew older and her health failed, but wrinkles? Hardly a one. Maybe she was blessed with good genes or had been especially vigilant about staying out of the sun. Or maybe she had willed her skin to look young too.
As my mother’s hair has begun to fade, it’s not so much grey as a lighter version of the brilliant red that it used to be. “Redheads aren’t suppose to go grey,” she says with a frown and makes a mental note that it’s time to make an appointment with her colorist.
“Redheads don’t go grey,” people often say to me. “You’re so lucky.”
“Redheads don’t go grey,” I tell myself as I stand before the mirror, tweezers in hand, ready to pluck out the wiry white stray beasts. “Not this one, anyway.”