Some months ago, I decided to conduct a survey, albeit a small one. I like to date, and I wanted to know what men are looking for in a woman’s online dating profile: I consulted a 20-something blogger and a 68-year-old ex-lover. Both of them suggested that my long, graying hair would be a turnoff to men viewing my profile. The young guy apologized for sounding ageist or sexist. The ex said I might be mistaken for one of those religious types who never cut their hair and wear mesh caps.
Really? This from the man who found me hot enough to buy me sex toys?
At some point in her life, every woman contemplates her face in the mirror and notes the signs of aging. How do we handle this when it comes to dating? I know the standard advice for senior women: Get a dye job. Get a makeover. Buy new clothes. What I read is, Change everything about your self in hopes of finding a man.
Does gray hair make us unattractive? Less likely to find a man?
I want to date – I also value authenticity. As we age, where is the balance between being comfortable in our own skin and wanting to appear attractive?
Women choose to dye their hair for a variety of reasons from vanity to a need to be competitive in our youth-driven society. Entire blogs are devoted to the topic of gray hair. It’s a subject that polarizes people. Just check out these opinion pieces from the New York Times and Oprah.
My Take on Gray Hair
I’ve chosen to embrace my long graying hair. I’m happy with how it looks and when I look in the mirror, I see a confident woman who’s not afraid to show her age.
But what do men see when they find my online dating photo? I could be driving away hordes of them. Should I follow my mother’s advice of 30 years ago to wear more makeup so men will want me? Maybe if I dyed my hair, I’d have more success finding Mr. Right – wasn’t that what my two survey respondents were telling me?
Then the following week, two men contacted me through the dating site, both complimenting me on my “sexy” long hair. Survey be damned. The long gray hair was staying.
I want to look good on a date – maybe I’ll wear a touch of mascara and lipstick. But if I add much more, I’ll feel so self-conscious, it could negate any wow factor the makeup might have conjured. I pick clothes that enhance my figure or camouflage features I don’t like (flabby arms). But I’m not trying to hide the essence of who I am. I want to present myself authentically – graying hair, age spots and all.
Those things don’t make me who I am; they’re just looks. And I’m pretty confident that there is at least one man out there who will appreciate me for my sense of humor, intelligence and mature outlook.
There are no universal rules, no quick fixes for finding the right man, and as women growing older, we all feel different about the way our looks are changing. A new dress is not guaranteed to make dating any easier – it might, it might not. Whether it’s a red lipstick, a dye job or a facelift, the decision is yours. When you show up feeling good about yourself, looks and all, you radiate self-confidence. And that is attractive.
What are your thoughts about graying hair and aging as they apply to dating?