With a group of friends the other day, I was attracted by the bright hair colours of the women. One had a shock of blue and platinum, another red-brown, two were rich black, two were blonde and only two were natural shades of grey. Those men who had much hair at all appeared to be grey-white – fully grey-white, mostly grey with a sprinkling of the old brown or black, or greying at the edges of wispy black or brown. On average, the men looked at least 10 years older than the women, though they were in fact all of similar ages. Why do only women get to colour their hair?
At a distance, my 60+ male friends all look old (sorry readers if you think this is you…but it’s a general observation of 60-plus men). And I think I do too. But when I see women of similar ages, they mostly look much younger…and full of life.
Why do women do it?
Women have coloured their hair for many years in most cases. In the case of blondes, often for ever. It probably seems natural to them to do this. And we men like it. It gives women life, attractiveness, character, energy, the appearance of youth. But if you dye your hair blue or green or pink, you have to have courage to carry it off.
Why not men?
So why don’t we men follow this trend and give our women more enjoyment? Well, judging by supermarket shelves, perhaps the younger ones do, since men’s hair colouring products actually seem quite extensive, now that I research this. But I don’t know any men who do. And the colour choices offered are only restorative really – there’s no blue, green, red, pink. It’s all black or brown.
And why the unwillingness to add colour? Perhaps it’s like clothing. Men just don’t care that much about it. Perhaps it’s vanity. We don’t want to admit what we look like (and we’ve all commented on the bloke whose hair suddenly went super-black and how ‘stupid’ he looked…but we were all envious when he got that girl…). Perhaps it’s insecurity. What would people say to us, or think of us if we dyed our hair blue or pink? Perhaps it’s our lack of flair. We’re embarrassed by flamboyant or loud clothing or colours. Our clothing is pretty boring too – mostly blue, white or black, plain, striped or checked. Or perhaps we just don’t want to tell. Secret man’s business, not to be shared with anyone. Though with men now moisturising and even waxing, not to mention tattooing, changing hair colour should be easy and acceptable.
True confessions: I did dye my hair once. I dyed it blonde. But the change from my natural white-grey was too little for anyone to notice, or to comment! And I now do add colour occasionally, so it looks less white-grey than it would be naturally. But it’s not a sufficient difference for people to notice or comment.
I think we men are missing a major opportunity for flair. Younger men are increasingly exhibiting it. Just look at the current range of flamboyant hair styles. I suspect as they age, they will add colour to maintain their youthful look…or perhaps they are already doing it. So why don’t I dye my hair blue or pink…and take my own advice? A very good question. If you have the answer, please tell me! Perhaps it’s the same reason I didn’t volunteer this week to be the life drawing model till the real one turned up…