HomeUrdu NewsLife & StyleGoing grey? Forget what everyone thinks and follow your heart | Vopbuzz.com

Going grey? Forget what everyone thinks and follow your heart | Vopbuzz.com


The humble cockroach—fat, brown, with twitching wings, a survivor of nuclear holocaust—has long been the most hated creature in the known universe, tied with rats and lizards. And maybe pigeons.

However, I did find one instance where the cockroach emerged victorious in the “Would You Rather” contest, and it was in the following scenario: Would you rather have a cockroach crawl all over your sari (or shalwar/jeans/shirt – we’re not being picky here) for five minutes? Or would you rather never go near a bottle of hair dye again?

Global Consensus: Hair Dye Is As Important As Oxygen

I put this question to a generous sample of twelve women of various nationalities, scattered around the world, whom I was happy to accept as a scientific representation of the female population of the Milky Way. They all chose the cockroach, and although it was not a requirement of the questionnaire, they also kindly recommended what color would best suit my hair.

My hair is now turning grey at lightning speed. Personally, I blame it on bad genes and kids who, an hour before school, say things like, “Oh, I forgot to tell you, but I need 500g of keema for my food science class today, is there any chance we can go to the store now?”

The twelve women – all with gorgeous hair, by the way – don’t blame the kids or the qeema. They blame (my) idleness. The young women gave a scientific analysis of why grooming is important, and how one of the main ways to achieve it is through salons and tinfoil strips. The older Pakistanis – the most dedicated to preserving their youth – were less interested in grooming and more appalled by the idea that any of them could walk around so brazenly without a care for what everyone else thought. Like a beautician at a salon giving a dissertation on everything wrong with your appearance (“Oh, I remember those blackheads!” and “Wow, you haven’t had your eyebrows done in ages!”), they tried to make me see reason.

“Listen,” said a woman in her seventies whose identity I dare not reveal because she has my phone number, as well as my parents’. Let’s call her Mrs. B., because she will figure quite a bit in this story. “You’re still young, and if you’re not careful, you’ll start looking older than me. Why are you doing this to yourself?”

Anticipating this series of questions, I prepared a powerful speech about financial responsibility, taking a stance to show my daughters that beauty comes from within, and also made a neat little point about not being a slave to the salon. Which was a complete lie; I’m all for rejecting the tyranny of salons in principle, but even someone as fashion-unsophisticated as I am finds it hard to resist their appeal. Every few weeks, my local salon gets a frantic phone call from me and is forced to book me in for an emergency brow appointment, often at the expense of the woman doing the manicure (though it’s a win-win, really, because the manicurist can use my brow time to make the final, agonizing decision about which pink she’s going to live with for the next three weeks.) Either way, for the perpetually disorganized, following a regimented hair-coloring schedule is beyond our limited means, compounded by the stratospheric cost of the conditioning needed to keep the scarecrow-like texture of color-treated hair under control. I nearly died when I saw the price of salon-approved conditioner.

Do it for others

I didn’t have a chance to go into the “perpetually disorganized” part of my argument with Mrs. B. because my anti-slavery beauty salon movement nearly gave me cardiac arrest. “But your husband!” she nearly screamed. “Isn’t he trying to make you see sense? It’s important for a woman to look good for her husband!”

Pakistani women of a certain generation tend to accept their husband’s views on beauty matters. Asking him about his opinion on hair matters would yield about as many results as asking him whether we should move to Pluto or Mars. He would rather ponder more important questions, like whether he should give up cricket altogether, than offer any helpful comments on hair that is not his. (I’ve tried. “Do what you like” is not the beacon of helpfulness that everyone thinks.)

The Path from Root Coloring

In a burst of inspiration, I explained to Mrs. B that it was actually quite fashionable to go without artificial hair color, and that many celebrities had jumped on the bandwagon. She didn’t believe a word of it and demanded examples. “Mary Berry,” I said, not realizing that Mrs. B was a baker. Unfortunately, Mrs. B knew exactly who Mary Berry was, and she was getting closer and closer to cardiac arrest. From that point on, it didn’t matter what name I shouted. Neither Emma Thompson, nor Meryl Streep, nor Andie MacDowell—all with beautiful gray or white hair that shines like beacons at awards ceremonies—could help my cause. “Marina Khan, then,” I suggested desperately, hoping that someone more local would allow Mrs. B. to lower her blood pressure. “Shahnaz Sheikh! Samia Mumtaz!”

“All these women look old,” Mrs. B said scornfully. “Do you want to look old too? I’m sending you a link to the best hair dye right now. Get it done by the next time you meet.”

Luckily, Mrs B and I are separated by thousands of pounds worth of airfare. Mrs B also has a poor internet connection, so it’s unlikely she’ll be seeing my offensive grey hair, either in real life or online, any time soon. Until then, I’ll be looking for young celebrities to join me in refusing the tyranny of the salon, and perhaps together we can turn the tide and do what no one in history has ever managed: make grey hair fashionable.

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