Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

The white stuff

white haired old gentleman

Despite being emphatically in the anti-grey hair camp when it comes to my own carefully tended barnet, I draw the line at male dyeing, sorry. And how strange it is that wealthy men like Paul McCartney can't afford a good dye job

George Clooney indeed does have it right, and I'm not even that much of a fan of Gorgeous George:

Friends, mostly women, tell me that George Clooney has perfect hair. A light sprinkling of salt and pepper, looking natural and suited to his age. Well-seasoned, in fact. I've no idea whether Clooney spends a small part of his fortune on his hair or whether it's natural, but it's certainly a model for others to aim for. Instead, even the wealthy come a cropper whenever they unscrew the toner.

I don't mean the Paul McCartney auburn rinse, during the high summer of Heather - having a different hair colour can be fun. I'm talking about the straight black and brown, like boot polish. Some people seem to deploy industrial-strength dye, as though it's a totem of manhood that their locks can stand up to the onslaught.Next time you see an ageing rock star, check out the inevitable goatee. Monochrome. Dark as a 1970s bass line. A case of "Hope I dye before I get old." My friend at the bar had the same problem. He didn't look bad, just weird, as if someone had dropped a wig on him. Bald would have been better.

I know this sounds less than gracious from a man in his fifties blessed with a full head of hair. But I, too, know what the hair police can be like. When things started to turn white, my teenage children used to play a game called "Hunt the Badger" in supermarkets. But I never dreamt of airbrushing out these signs of mortality.

So why do they do it? The most obvious answer is a desire to hang on to their lost youth, to summon some of the virility of the past by returning to the same colour. But that doesn't really work.

To have a lined and aged face under a helmet of black matting is only to draw attention to age, rather than to divert it. It's like putting a granny in a tutu.