"SILVER FOX" CONFRONTS
To dye or not to dye. That is the question I posed to my wife
as I brushed what is left of my hair the other morning. She was quick with
"Do it," she callously said. "It might look
I was shocked. She clearly was no longer enamored with my
grayness. You'd think that she would be used to it, since I went gray
about 30 years ago.
"Maybe I'm a little tired of you calling yourself 'The
Silver Fox' all the time," she added. "A little touch of color
would make you look younger."
"Why don't I just go all out and get a facelift,
too?" I said. "Would that make you happy?"
"Men don't look good with facelifts," she replied,
nonchalantly. "Just go with the hair coloring and you'll be all
This was serious stuff. Apparently, I was no longer good
enough or young enough for my wife's tastes. I was appalled. But she
pressed on, reminding me of the story a few years ago involving a friend
of mine who is two years younger than me, but who dyes his hair.
We were playing in a golf tournament with two strangers, a
father and son. On the third hole, the father turned to me and pointed at
my friend. "So, you're playing with your son, too?"
That hurt. But I had to admit, it did show the advantages of
hair coloring. I didn't even know my friend dyed his hair, since he'd been
doing it before I even knew him. I found out about a year ago, when he
appeared with grey hair just as old-looking as mine. He had tired of going
through the hair coloring process every five weeks and decided to go au
"Remember what you said to him?" asked my wife
after she reminded me of the story.
"I told him he looked like he'd aged 20 years," I
answered, proud how men could tell men whatever they want.
"And." I added, "he didn't care."
We were both looking in the mirror at this point, and my
grayness popped out against her shiny brunette locks. "Maybe I'll
start letting my hair go grey," she threatened. "I'm kind of
tired of dealing with coloring it every five weeks, too."
"YOU DYE YOUR HAIR????" I shouted. "YOU
I was kidding, of course, but I was making a point. And not a
very convincing one. I like brunettes.
I knew she dyed her hair. I had spent plenty of evenings
before we went out touching up her grey roots with a brown hair coloring
pen. My suggestion that she just avoid taller people fell on deaf ears.
"Why are men so different?" she continued. "A
lot of older women dye their hair, and very few men do. Your grandmother
was 100 years old when she died and no one ever saw her with a grey
"The only guy I remember dyeing his hair was Ronald
Reagan," I countered. "And everyone said he was prematurely
orange. And now there's another guy in the White House trying to emulate
him. That's reason enough not to do it."
"Bill Maher's doing it," she said, referring to the
HBO talk-show host. "It's pretty obvious, even though he's doing it
"EXACTLY!" I cried. "Everyone will know what
I'm doing. Fans of The Silver Fox will be devastated."
"The Silver Fox has no fans."
She had a point. But I still couldn't believe that she wanted
me to dye my hair. Next thing you know, she'd be begging me to get a tummy
tuck. I decided to put it to a test.
"OK, I'll do it," I said as I ran my fingers
through my hair while studying myself in the mirror. "I'll ask my
stylist to add a touch of brown to my hair when I see her this week."
My wife looked at me and burst out laughing. "First of
all, you don't have a stylist. You have a barber, and as you've said many
times, she's the worst barber in the world. And secondly, I was just
kidding. I like you looking old."
I think she meant it as a compliment. I'm going with it.