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It’s My Birthday and I’ll Dye If I Want To

Like most women, I have a complicated relationship with birthdays.  Which happens to be today.  I won’t get specific, but I will admit to being in my eighth decade, and creeping closer to the next round number.  By the way, for those of you who, like me, almost failed math, the eighth decade does not mean I’m 80 – yet!  Not that 80 is a bad place to be.  It is definitely something I look forward to achieving – eventually.

While I am very grateful to be alive and feeling as well as I do, I can’t reconcile the person who lives inside my head with the DOB that appears on my driver’s license.  I’m also very grateful to still have a driver’s license.

Additionally, like most women, I also have a complicated relationship with my hair. (If you think comparing birthdays and hair is a non sequitur, please indulge me and keep reading. It is my birthday, after all.)

We believe that our hair represents us.  It delivers a message to the world about how we see ourselves.  Want to change the message? Change the hair.  Are we in a bad mood? Maybe we’re having a bad hair day.  Having a crisis? Go get highlights.

Over the years, I have tenderly nourished my hair with very expensive shampoos and conditioners, only to torture it five minutes later with a blow dryer.  I have alternately permed it, straightened it, let it grow long, and cut it really, really short.  I’ve ironed it, taped it, and strangled it with rubber bands.  And for more years than I care to remember, I saturated it with chemicals to hide the gray, which, of course, appeared prematurely.

But all that ended a while ago, on another significant birthday, when I decided to let my hair go au natural.  I didn’t care if I was the only gray haired lady in the room.  My message was one of defiant confidence. And except for one brief encounter with the color purple, this is how I have remained.  Until now.

My bravura continued until gray became the new blonde.  Suddenly there were articles in fashion magazines and the New York Times Styles section reporting on countless glamorous, courageous women who were going gray! Even young people were putting gray streaks in their hair.  I was no longer the lone woman in the room.  I was part of a trend.

So, the other evening I was at a performance, and during intermission, I took my place on line to use the Ladies’ Room.  (Why are there never enough toilets?)  To draw my attention away from my bladder, I began to study the group of women with similar needs.   The head count was overwhelmingly gray.  The trend had become a tsunami.

I exited the Ladies’ Room feeling both relief and enlightenment.  It was time for a new message.

Which brings us to today.  This morning found me at the salon, bravely or stupidly, sitting in a chair for an hour and a half, while a colored streak was applied to my otherwise silver tresses. It will eventually wash out, I told myself.  I could only hope the outcome would not compel me to wear a hat for the next six weeks.

I’m actually very pleased with the result.  I think it provides a sense of fun.  I’m not exactly sure what the message is, but maybe that’s not the point.  Hey, I f you can’t act out on your birthday, when can you?

By | 2018-02-13T21:28:54+00:00 February 13th, 2018|Categories: Aging, Beauty, Hair|31 Comments

About the Author:

Born and raised in New York City, Susan currently splits her time between Florida and Connecticut. She lives with her husband, and the world’s cutest dog, Sam, a rough-coat Russell Terrier. Susan gives her audiences a sideways view of life on a range of relatable topics. Whether skewering marriage, growing older, fashion, the media, politics, or money matters, her light touch keeps people laughing – and thinking.


  1. Bonnie Hollenberg February 13, 2018 at 10:07 pm - Reply

    Happy Birthday Susan! Have fun with your hair! Good for you!
    Xo Bonnie

  2. Susan Nordlinger February 13, 2018 at 10:23 pm - Reply

    Happy Birthday to the “New you”.

  3. Susan Nordlinger February 13, 2018 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Happy Birthday to The New You.

    • Susan Goldfein February 14, 2018 at 2:32 am - Reply

      Thanks so much!

  4. Bruder February 13, 2018 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    Looks good, schwester.

  5. Bonnie February 13, 2018 at 10:49 pm - Reply

    Happy Birthday! Looks great!

    • Susan Goldfein February 14, 2018 at 2:32 am - Reply

      Thanks Bonnie!

  6. Arlene Karyo February 13, 2018 at 11:09 pm - Reply

    Happy Birthday…looks good.

    • Susan Goldfein February 14, 2018 at 2:36 am - Reply

      Thanks Arlene!

  7. Joyce Nahama February 13, 2018 at 11:22 pm - Reply

    Happy birthday.. you are a delight! Keep writing!

  8. Roz February 13, 2018 at 11:26 pm - Reply

    Happy birthday
    Hair looks great

  9. adele February 14, 2018 at 1:00 am - Reply

    you look beautiful with gray hair. If streaks make you happy, keep “streaking” Happy birthday

    • Susan Goldfein February 14, 2018 at 2:31 am - Reply

      Thanks Adele!

  10. Valerie. Fischel February 14, 2018 at 1:02 am - Reply

    Love your hair Susan. Enjoy it and your birthday. After all, if not now, when?
    Lots of love. 😘 Valerie

  11. Jim February 14, 2018 at 1:07 am - Reply

    Happy 🍰 !

  12. Nancy February 14, 2018 at 2:19 am - Reply

    Happy Birthday. Love the blue streak. I have had one for several years (mine in the back behind my ear). Beauticians have a name for it… called a “peek-a-boo”. Saw an article that asked: “Why are women putting streaks in their hair?” And the answer was “Because we can!” My peek-a-boo was inspired in Edwards, Colorado when I was 59 (and still am) at a shop where a 17 year old had the most gorgeous purple hair I had seen…. Stephanie, the owner of the shop, said a few “ladies” like me have a peek-a-boo. I took her suggestion and love it. Yours looks absolutely beautiful… Have a great birthday. .

    • Susan Goldfein February 14, 2018 at 2:30 am - Reply

      Thanks Nancy!

  13. Susan Gold February 14, 2018 at 2:31 am - Reply

    Hi Susan,

    From one Susan to another, hope your birthday is just the beginning of a fun-filled and health-filled year. I’m also letting my hair go natural and it’s great to be your authentic self. Thanks for being so honest and heart-felt in your writing- it resonates and confirms how so many of us feel about life.

    • Susan Goldfein February 14, 2018 at 2:34 am - Reply

      Thanks for the wishes and kind words.

  14. Suzanne Chait-Magenheim February 14, 2018 at 4:36 am - Reply

    Matches your eyes!
    Happy Birthday on 💜❤️💚 Week!
    Suzanne Chait-Magenheim

  15. Carol Makofsky February 14, 2018 at 5:15 am - Reply

    Happy Birthday, Susan, and many, many more! I’m so jealous … at least you have decent hair to color, streak, highlight (or lowlight). I wish I did. Not only do I have to wear a wig, but I also color my hair every 8 weeks just in case a few strands stick out from underneath!

    • Susan Goldfein February 16, 2018 at 2:43 pm - Reply

      Thanks Carol. And I think you look great – strands and all!

  16. Rosalie Roth February 14, 2018 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    Having dined with the newest version of you, I think the Blue Streak defines the decade.
    Hooray and Happy Birthday

    • Susan Goldfein February 16, 2018 at 2:42 pm - Reply

      It’s the latest version of the blue-haired old ladies!

  17. bonita February 16, 2018 at 12:09 am - Reply

    i had the guts to let my hair be grey. i thought i needed a more warm color. so i did the dying and coloring thingy for a couple of years. tons of money and too much time. the color is wonderful but i am tired of the fuss. now, how do i have the guts to let it grow out and what it looks like during that time. why can’t my hair be white like my mother’s? good for you that you took the plunge. if i let it grow out i will streak it with white. happy b-day. bonita

    • Susan Goldfein February 16, 2018 at 2:41 pm - Reply

      You Go Girl! Thanks for writing.

  18. S&P February 16, 2018 at 2:25 am - Reply

    Happy Belated Birthday, Susan!👍🏿 love your hair!🌚🌝

    • Susan Goldfein February 16, 2018 at 2:40 pm - Reply

      Thanks Ladies. Shall we see you soon, I hope?

  19. Marilyn Siegel February 16, 2018 at 3:21 am - Reply

    Happy Birthday Susan! I share the same magic number with you as well as a February birthdate. We shared our teen birthdays as sorority sisters and NUHS classmates. I am enjoying your blogs and look forward to seeing you and the “gang” again in May!
    Warmest regards!

    • Susan Goldfein February 16, 2018 at 2:40 pm - Reply

      Happy birthday to you as well. I’m also looking forward to our little reunion.

  20. Marjorie Weiss February 19, 2018 at 10:21 pm - Reply

    I have been thinking about pink for mine, but doubt I will have the courage. An actress on Days of Our Lives has had a blue peek a boo for years. Her name is Lauren Koslow, Google her

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