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MIDDLE AGED HAIR AFFAIR

Who Says Older Women Can’t Have Long Hair?

One of the things that Good Enough Mother absolutely hates is when people try to tell me what I can and can’t do.

In fact, when someone tells me something I can’t or shouldn’t do, I am more prone to go headlong in that direction just to prove them wrong!

So I read with great interest this piece in the New York Times, written by a middle aged woman who was taking her fair share of grief for her long hair. The piece struck a chord with me for two reasons; I am middle aged. And I want my hair long enough to rival Rapunzel’s!

The writer tackles head-on, several myths about women with long hair, namely that they are acting out or trying to recapture their youth. Personally I think if your hair looks good and is healthy and strong, you should be able to wear it any way you damn well please. But it did get me thinking about some of the other things that society says we should give up by middle age. Some I agree with, others I question. Here’s a few favorites…


Who Says Older Women Can’t Have Long Hair?

One of the things that Good Enough Mother absolutely hates is when people try to tell me what I can and can’t do.

In fact, when someone tells me something I can’t or shouldn’t do, I am more prone to go headlong in that direction just to prove them wrong!

So I read with great interest this piece in the New York Times, written by a middle aged woman who was taking her fair share of grief for her long hair. The piece struck a chord with me for two reasons; I am middle aged. And I want my hair long enough to rival Rapunzel’s!

The writer tackles head-on, several myths about women with long hair, namely that they are acting out or trying to recapture their youth.  Personally I think if your hair looks good and is healthy and strong, you should be able to wear it any way you damn well please. But it did get me thinking about some of the other things that society says we should give up by middle age. Some I agree with, others I question. Here’s a few favorites…

MINI-SKIRTS: I have to agree it might be time to say buh-bye to the super short ones, but that does not mean I am confined to ankle length sackcloth. The truth is, I am a mama, and I cannot afford to have my bare butt showing every time I bend over to pick up a penny in the street.  I think the question really is – how short is too short? By the way, this has little to do with whether you’re in great shape.  Take a good look in the mirror before you head out. Do you look like you’re dressing from your daughter’s closet? If so go back and change.

BELLY SHIRTS: I have to agree with society on this one. I once heard someone say when you get to this age you dress to conceal rather than reveal.  I think that applies here.

LONG HAIR: The question that started it all. Society may say no but if your hair looks good then wear it long. But remember as we age, the texture changes, it gets dry, gray hair can become wiry and you’d better be taking time to trim and condition it well. If it’s long, gray and hangs like a heavy curtain around your face and you look like you just stepped out of the Haight-Ashbury district, well, get thee to a stylist!

GOING OUT WITHOUT MAKE-UP: I call BS on this one. I rarely wear make-up. If you take good care of your skin, there’s nothing wrong with a little cover-stick, mascara and lip gloss if you can pull it off. In fact, I look younger now than I did when I was back at CBS, with my heavy-handed make-up artist who didn’t understand that less is more, especially for a woman my age.

WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK: Yes, yes and YES. By middle age we should be able to go out with our long hair and bare faces and not really give a damn about what anyone else thinks or society says.  I am already there. There is something so intoxicating and refreshing about being at a place in your life where the only person you really need to please is yourself (kids and partner notwithstanding).

So for those who believe middle age is about hiding behind heavy make-up and a sensible haircut, keep on believing that. We’ll be the hip, smokin’ moms who understand aging doesn’t mean getting old.

I’ll leave you with this video by India Arie, featuring Akon. The song is entitled I am not my hair but listen to the words, it’s so, so much more!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_5jIt0f5Z4&ob=av2e[/youtube]

What do you think? What are the other things that you think society says we should give up by middle age? And Do you agree? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

14 Comments

  1. lena cole dennis

    October 27, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    I agree with most….I wear makeup because I like decorating my face. Although if you caught me with out make up on…now I would think I was fine and start flirting. Because I’ve found most of my boy friends while I was a little unkept. I love my natural hair. I love that men want to touch my hair. I’ve finally realized it will just have to be dented by hugs and I wll tilt my head to one side when taking pictures. Life is too short to be talking about anything about me I don’t like…I like it all and will continue to be happy with my big azz waist, my big azz thighs and my gig azz ego!

  2. Christian Iles

    October 27, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    The majority of ladies who are middle aged and with long hair, tend to always pull it back and put it into a bun. I think that shoulder length hair; what I call a soft shoulder cut is usually long enough. That length is usually still ok for ladies to be able to blow dry style or set in some rollers. But my experience is that anything longer than that usually looks disshuffled and and tends to pull the facial features down. So keep it long, if you wish, just put it up in a beehive or something. Be a hair hopper. 🙂 Take care, The Beauty Architect

  3. Rene Syler

    October 27, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    You know I forgot to make that point. I thought that as we age, when gravity pulling the features down, we didn’t need to make that worse with a lot of heavy hair. Thanks Beauty Architect!

  4. Rene Syler

    October 27, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    LOL yay!

  5. kim

    October 27, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    my 11-year-old gives me grief whenever i wear my leather MC jacket. she says i’m trying to look young. i tell her thanks and go out with it on anyway, feeling hot and sexy!

  6. Sharon Nash Alexander

    October 27, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    I will be 50 next month…. my hair is long and I want it longer. If I could wear a mid dift I would rock the hell out of it lol I will be coloring my hair always the lady up above could look 15 years younger if she colored that grey. My husband is 38 so I don’t have time to be acting old or looking old… and if the mini looks good on me I am wearing that to

  7. R2

    October 27, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    It’s my hair, my face, my clothes… i like my long, gray hair w or w/o make-up and my stylish wear.

    At this age, I’ll do what I want to, when I want to, the way I want to. I could care less what others think… that was so 20s and 30s vanity.

  8. Cordenia

    October 27, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    I LUV the NEW, Hip, Fit Women over 40 & am EXCITED to BE IN that NUMBAH! I understand Sistah Arie’s message – but the truth is: I AM MY HAIR: Wild, Free, Naturally Curly & sometimes blown straight. I wore my hair HEAD-close through most of my 20’s & 30’s & chose 2 grow it long in my late 30’s into 40’s. I LOVE styling it in a variety of ways & I’m enjoying the God-Gifted “highlights”;-). Am OFTEN told – by Men – to NEVAH touch those silvery seasonings w/ human-invented colors, so I’ve stopped.

    Regarding the mini-skirts & mid-drifts – if you have the tight body & beautiful skin FLAUNT The Creator’s Blessings regardless of your age (cuz there are TOO MANY under 30 who should NOT be wearing this “new” leggings fad!;-).

    HUGZ 2 us ALL as we Relish in our DIVA-LiciousNESS howEVAH we Express it!

  9. Auntie Lisa

    October 27, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    For me, as long as I feel confident that I look good, that’s what counts. I try to be honest with myself and not just wear something because it’s always looked good on me. The truth is, as you get to middle age, there are things that don’t look so good on you anymore… but there are other things that look good that didn’t before! There are some colors I can wear, that never were great on me when I was younger.

    I have adopted some styles from the younger crowd, though I usually choose a less-extreme version of it. I put it on and take a good hard look. If it’s flattering, I go for it!

    Make-up needs to change over time, too. I try to stay in a flexible, experimental mode. I read articles about make-up for 40-something women and try out the suggestions. Some I adopt, some not. Example: can’t wear non-matte make-up anymore, as any shine or sparkle accentuates wrinkles or sags. I don’t use eye make-up on the lower lid at all (no liner, no shadow, no mascara), unless for onstage. I use a softer shade of lip color now.

  10. Nikki Newman

    October 28, 2010 at 12:41 am

    I have a real thing about my hair. It’s naturally curly but I tend to smooth it a lot, not necessarily straighten it, that’s hard work and looks kind of boring I think, I just create waves and flicks rather than curls. Watching Charlie’s Angels as a kid has a lot to answer for I think 🙂 My point is though, I often find myself thinking, as my years advance, ‘how much longer will I have my long hair? got to make the most of it before I have to have it all cut off’ but perhaps I don’t and won’t. I think the lady in the photo looks amazing myself. So perhaps I’ll do the ‘soft shoulder’ cut the Beauty Architect describes, keep it in top notch condition, and maybe that way I can keep it! It’s part of my identity, my big, long hair. I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready to give it up and after reading this, I’m not planning on doing so!

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  12. Rene Syler

    October 28, 2010 at 9:36 am

    YAY! I feel like as long as the hair looks good, why cut it? Unless it’s dragging down your face or you look like you’re trying to keep up with your daughter, LOL

  13. M.E. Johnson

    October 29, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Yeah, do what you want, Ladies. If anybody gets in your face about it, tell ’em to give you $20 and you’ll change.

    And thank you Cordelia. Some of the young ones look like a hummer with tights on, got varicose veins, got knockety knees, got disgusting love handles, makeup looks like a zombie on Halloween, etc.

    Think about back when at X age women started wearing them granny shoes, no white after Labor Day, no pastels til Easter. You gonna let some ‘expert’ (Lordy, deliver me!) tell you who you are? I didn’t think so.

  14. dirt

    December 7, 2010 at 12:36 am

    I feel just like Nikki Newman (#10 above) – I’ve played with the idea of chopping off the mop (almost to my waist, curly, thick, crazy…and I’m almost 49), but it is such a HUGE part of my sense of self, that it just wouldn’t be right. I’ve decided if it gets too crazy looking, I’ll get someone to put it in cornrows for me…or dreadlocks. Then I can watch all the ‘beautiful people’ run screaming with horror! lol!

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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