Steve and his older sister Karen
Last night my husband went to a party celebrating his sister’s birthday. It was what most would consider to be a “big” birthday. Steve’s sister is nearly 8 years older than he is. For years now, people who know Karen and then meet Steve automatically assume Steve is older than his sister. Why? Because he has gone prematurely grey.
When I met Steve way back in 1993, he had very dark hair. It wasn’t quite jet black but it was black and not brown. By the time our youngest son was born in 2003, the grey was definitely noticeable around the sideburns and at the temple. Now, 9 years later, about 50% of his hair is grey. While some might note that the greying of his hair neatly coincides with his marriage to me and our raising our two sons, I would like to point out that premature grey hair runs in Steve’s family. His Aunt Bobby was grey before she turned 50.
Last night, I stayed home with our boys while Steve went to the party for his sister, which was being held at a bar downtown. Through the night he was updating me via text on the party I was missing. This message came in:
“2 people thought I was older. F*** me.”
“I’m sorry,” I responded, adding a 😦 to punctuate my sympathy.
“I knew it would happen,” came his reply.
When he got home, he told me that a third person had told him they thought he was older than Karen. I tried to console him.
“It’s okay, hon. George Clooney went prematurely grey. I read an article where he was commenting that people always think he’s like 10 years older than he is because of his grey hair. At least you’re in good company.”
“Yeah. But, at the end of the day, he’s GEORGE CLOONEY.”
Well, he had me there. Can’t argue with that.
If Steve’s hair wasn’t grey, I’m fairly certain no one would suspect he’s older than he is. He’s not incredibly wrinkly. He’s healthy and fit and 20 pounds lighter now than he was when I met him. Wash out that grey hair and no way does he look older than 40. But, with it, people are going to suspect he’s at least 50, if not older. Steve is not vain, though, so he’d never color his hair. I suggested it about ten years ago and he shot the idea down immediately. He’s stuck.
I feel bad for Steve. I do. I can imagine how much it would suck to have people assuming you were a decade older than you really were. Luckily, I will likely not ever have that problem because I am vain and I refuse to age “gracefully,” whatever the hell that means. If anyone ever implied I looked ten years older than I am, I’d be at the hairdresser, dermatologist, and plastic surgeon so fast I’d leave a Road Runner-like white swoosh mark behind me. Incredibly shallow, I know, but true nonetheless.
Steve was telling me today in the car that he wholeheartedly believes in karma. I told him I think karma is what unlucky people believe in so they feel better about their misfortunes. But, then I thought about it for a second. Maybe it was karma that gave Steve his grey hair? You see, I am 18 months older than he is. Every year on my birthday, my accountant husband acts like he can’t do the math and questions my age. (“Wait…so now you’re TWO years older than me?”) Funny guy, right? Truth is that although I may be 18 months older than he is, until I decide to go grey (sometime years and years from now) I will never look 18 months older than he is. Maybe there is something to this whole karma thing after all? 😉