When I was a younger (less mature!) woman, my hair was dark, almost black, and then as I eased into my early midlife, it was salt and pepper. That was fine for a while, and then one day an exasperated friend hissed, “Why don’t you try color?” after she had heard me say that I looked like a witch and was going to cut my hair SHORT. “Oh, I couldn’t do that,” I replied. At that time, somehow I construed coloring one’s hair as artificial and too “obvious.” Interestingly, that same week, both of my teenage daughters experimented with hair color, and they looked stunning. I’m a biased mom, but still….Anyway, I changed my attitude about color and realized that it could be FUN. I followed my daughters’ examples, and for the first time in years, my bangs were dark brown. And so it began. Fifteen years later, and I’m still experimenting with color and having fun doing it.


Moving along, one day someone remarked that I was too old to have such dark hair. Ouch. A dagger to the heart. Not willing to go gray, I began experimenting with high lights and low lights and light brown and warm brown and all sorts of colors in-between. Nothing looked good; nothing suited me. However, some people apparently liked it. A brother-in-law even told me that I looked more real and less “plastic.” And yet, I wasn’t satisfied with my tresses.


My sweet daughter Elizabeth said, “Mom, it’s not you. You need to see Liz, my former hair stylist who lives 115 miles away.” My other daughter kept silent. So did my son…and DH too. Oh Christmas day, we went to Lisa and Mike’s house, and Lisa’s mother, Mrs. Mitchell was there, an 80 year old with dark brown hair. She looked fantastic. I remember once when someone asked her if her hair was (I know were is the correct verb but it looks funny here) really that dark, and without batting an eye, she said, “Yes, today.” Isn’t that great?


I relented and called Liz. She worked me in that week. After saying the magic words, “You’re too young to be an old lady,” she applied a medium dark color to my locks. I LOVE it. It’s more me. And if you ask, “Is that your real color?” I’ll answer, “Yes, today.” Or I might say, “Did you really ask that?”or “Are you that audaciously rude to ask a question like that?” or “Why don’t you try to improve your appearance a little too?”


So to Becky and Allen and any and everyone else who would prefer that I stay with high lights and low lights, I say, “This is the real Marla Jayne.” I think it was Judy Garland who said that a person should always be a first rate version of herself rather than a second rate version of someone else. Go Judy! By the way, Lisa and Elizabeth say this is the real me; the jury’s still out with DH and some others.


Am I writing this so that you’ll go out and color your hair? No. I’m writing this so that you’ll be true to yourself. Find what works for you and go for it, ignoring the critics and naysayers along the way.