The Arrogance of Youth, or how I learned to stop lying about hair color

The Arrogance of Youth, or how I learned to stop lying about hair color

Waiting for the Memorial Day Observance to begin last evening, I couldn’t help overhearing a conversation between a few elderly people a few chairs away. They were discussing the lives and accomplishments of some of their relatives, and one woman said, “I’ll never forget my niece! She lives – wait. Where does she live, dear?” she asked her husband. “Cleveland. Yes. And what’s her name again?” I sat there chuckling, thinking, what do you mean, you’ll never forget her? You’ve already forgotten her!

I was feeling the smug of youth.

It reminded me of a visit a few years back to my hometown, when I went to the local YMCA to watch my mom teach her Senior Aqua-Aerobics class. They were all in the pool as I greeted my mother. She was thrilled to show off her students – her “ladies” – to me, and me to them.

“And this is my dance instructor,” she said at one point, introducing me to a woman in her eighties in a spiffy one-piece suit holding hand weights, who was also a redhead.

“I don’t know how you did it,” my mom said, “but you two both have the exact same shade of red hair!” She turned to me. “What do you use, honey?”

I was beet red. “Mom,” I said quietly, “there are those who might think this is my natural color.” She looked at me doubtfully.

“No . . . really? Huh.” She then looked at her ladies for help, and they all smiled at me and shook their heads kindly.

Youth-smug, people. The struggle is real.


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