"God you're gray"

hilltop_gwJuly 8, 2014

Today a former classmate from high school stopped by our office. Haven't seen him in decades. He asked where "Val" was and I said "I'm Val". The next words out of his mouth were "God you're gray!" and he shook his head.

My initial thought was "God you're bald" or "Geez you have no teeth" (both true), but instead fumbled with "well life happens". I should have said "Yes, I'm gray but I still have hair and I'm still alive and I still have feelings".

How would you have responded?

FYI - I'm 57, and my hair is more white. I made the choice to stop coloring when I started losing my hair in mass a few years ago. So at this point I'm just happy to have hair.

To those who contemplate stopping coloring their hair......I'm glad I made the decision, but some days it can be emotionally draining.

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Fun2BHere

People are the oddest creatures, aren't they? Some of them have no filters at all. Congratulations on not blurting out what you were thinking. I would have had a hard time biting my tongue.

I started getting grey hair in my early 30's. I still color it, but I'm sure getting tired of doing so, so I understand your decision.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 5:05PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

"I know! Isn't it wonderful!!"

I am one of those who has only about two grey hairs and I am 62. Sigh. I would love to be grey-or white. I think grey hair is stunning. Lucky you. Ignore him. I bet he is slapping himself upside his head if he realizes what he sounded like!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 5:50PM
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DLM2000

Our neighbor said that exact thing to my husband after a long hibernating winter where we didn't see her and he grayed significantly. His response was, 'Good grief, your boobs are sagging!' She didn't speak to him for a year.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 5:58PM
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RoseAbbey

Your response with "God you're bald" would have been perfect!

I also do not color my hair and love my silver color, I am 60.
I have only had one negative comment about 10 years ago when at my mother"s funeral, one of her friends said that I looked old with my then salt and pepper hair. This
came from a lady in her late seventies whose hair color was a bright red, something like Sharon Osborne's color. By no means did her colored hair make her look any younger than her age, still looked 77 but with red hair.

Celebrate your beautiful gray locks!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 6:23PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Dlm, I think I would like your husband! :)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 7:26PM
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mitchdesj

omg, that's a pet peeve of mine, how people blurt out things that come to their mind, without thinking of the effect it can have. Filters, people, filters.... sheesh.....

"God you're bald" or "Geez you have no teeth" you are probably too kind to say this to him.

I once answered the door at my grandson's birthday party, one of the parents was picking up his child, and I introduced myself and said " Hi, I'm Luc's grandmother" , the father said " uh yeah, I figured that was the case" , I could have kicked him, lol....

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 8:16PM
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SheeshareeII

Geez. I probably would've stumbled with words too since it was so blunt and unexpected (and rude). People with a lack of filter always reminds me to try and think before I speak. I believe what we sow is what we reap.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 10:00PM
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patty_cakes

Since most men are less emotional than women, he wasn't even thinking what impact such a statement could have on you. To say he 'wasn't thinking', PERIOD, is an understatement. I have two words that come to mind, and I don't know if I could have held back.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 10:19PM
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palimpsest

Are you sure it wasn't more of an awkwardly stated comment about the passage of time? He didn't exactly say "God, you got ugly."

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 11:55PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I would've been tempted to answer, "It comes from dealing with too many insensitive people."

Reminds me of a post a buddy made recently of a poster that says: "Overweight women live longer than the men who comment on it."

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:10AM
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hilltop_gw

Appreciate the responses. I'm too kind to respond with anything nasty and in subsequent conversation he was rambling on and on so I really just listened and had to say very little. I'm pretty reserved and private so generally hold back on comments regarding someone's personal appearance.

Palimpsest, you may be correct in that it was more of an awkwardly stated comment. The guy was at our shop to do business with an employee of ours and he had been asking the employee a host of questions about me and hounding the employee (and his girlfriend) for my phone number. But, it's been 40 years since the guy and I graduated and when I left I never looked back. Obviously some people do. Only wish my husband would have been there. He's aging well and looks 10 years younger than real age.....and he would have had a good comeback.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 8:03AM
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dedtired

I think a lot of gray hair is beautiful, but it is still a sign of aging. I bet he was surprised that someone the same age as he could be so gray. But still, what an obnoxious thing to say, since it was not meant as a compliment or simple statement.

I started turning gray in my early 30's and I bet I am almost totally gray now (only my hairdresser knows for sure). I am tempted to let it grow out but just not ready to go through the process. I love that "Eileen Fisher" look if you know what I mean.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 8:34AM
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tinam61

DLM, I would love to meet your husband! I like Cyn's response.

I would have probably said something like you. I could think of a hundred sarcastic responses to his insensitivity, but thankfully, I am NOT insensitive and would probably never say what I was thinking. LOL

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 10:24AM
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outsideplaying_gw

If you can't say something nice or positive, don't say anything at all. That always comes to my mind when dealing directly with people. But obviously this man doesn't have a clue and just blurted out the first thing that came to HIS mind. Very insensitive, obnoxious, and inappropriate. You did well in holding back and just thinking your thoughts rather than voicing them. Bravo for keeping your beautiful grey hair!

I'm almost to the point I can't wait to go totally grey but haven't had the nerve to do it yet. I am 65 and still working so that is part of it. Plus I really don't have many wrinkles and my hair is just streaked with grey so I have the roots touched up every 5 weeks when I have it trimmed. When I retire I'll do it though. My friend started letting hers grow last Christmas and she was smiling all the way at feeling so liberated about it.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 11:22AM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

I think a comment of time and chance happen to us all gets a point across subtly. Although, I do find comments like that one from dlm's husband personally satisfying.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 12:36PM
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runninginplace

"omg, that's a pet peeve of mine, how people blurt out things that come to their mind, without thinking of the effect it can have. Filters, people, filters.... sheesh....."

Here's mine, actually decor-related. We once were visited by a couple of friends/neighbors who had moved out of our area and then returned quite a few years later--maybe 10?

Anyway, at one point I was in the kitchen with the wife and she looked around then blurted 'oh, you haven't updated your kitchen? I would have thought you'd have done that a long time ago!'

I still remember this because it absolutely stunned me, both that she would say something so rude and because she really was a very nice, sweet ( or so I had thought) person. It happened too that the kitchen was an area of my house that I was really sensitive about; it was the original and much-used 1950 room that was the last space in the house we could afford to update. So to hear that was like someone stepping on an already sore toe!

I still think about what she said and to be honest, I still get irritated. It sure killed any warm feelings I had about her.

Ann

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 4:27PM
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SaltiDawg

My hair turned white/grey at about 70 years old. (I'm now 72.)

I never would have been offended if someone had ever noted my hair was grey or white. It is not an opinion nor an evaluation. It is just stating a fact, unlike most of the examples posted in this thread.

That said, I am much overweight - read obese - and would be upset if that fact was pointed out to me.

Wish I had never posted in this thread. lol

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 5:44PM
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badgergal

Reading this reminded me of the time I was visiting my mother in the assisted living facility she had just moved into and she said, "Everyone in this place is so old. They all have grey hair." I had to laugh because my mother had been dyeing her hair since she was about 40 years old and still was. There's something to be said for memory loss, if it makes you think you are still young!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 6:08PM
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bpathome

I would have said nothing and let the fellow worry about it later when it hit him what he had really said. If he even thought about it.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 9:40PM
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anele_gw

I read the first message, but to me, the second message where you explain that this "gentleman" was romantically interested in you (I think!) is the telling part.

I wonder if he said it to try to "get over" you. He obviously is very interested in you but knows it won't be returned, so he wanted to find a flaw.

Given that this was what he said out loud, you made a VERY wise choice 40 years ago to move on! Whew!!!

On a side note, my dad started going gray at 17! He looked handsome, but I do think ageism affected him as a result. Less than it would a woman, however. One of my friends went completely gray by her early 20s. It's not life . . .it's genetics!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 11:26PM
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Elraes Miller

I finally went with the gray and now don't even use a dryer. For some reason a dryer doesn't make my hair any better than going natural. Love the GK and GGK, they have to play with my hair and I end up with the most unusual hair styles. It fascinates them and life is good.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 7:31AM
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yayagal

I would have said "Did you enjoy saying that" and turned back to my work. Obviously he wants lots of attention.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 4:32AM
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arcy_gw

Sometimes silence speaks volumes. Chances are it was very reactive on his part. No brain engagement. I would take it more as "time has marched on and I wasn't expecting it to affect you, too!!" Maybe a funny quip like "ya prom was awhile ago!!" . Being offensive back only brings you down to his level.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 8:03AM
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melsouth

A long time ago, my husband's perspective helped me get over people's remarks that got under my skin. He said it every time somebody made one of "those" comments.

For example-
Me:
Did you hear what Susan said about my hair?
She said she thought I was supposed to have a hair appointment today, and why didn't I keep it?!
I did keep it!
I can't believe she said that!

Husband:
Well, this is Susan we're talking about; you should probably cut her some slack. She's really, really stupid.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 6:40AM
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loribee

We know someone who does that constantly.
The excuse is, well, she has no filter or no people skills. Sorry, no excuse for rudeness.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 7:33AM
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peytonroad

I think I read here once from a poster and it was the absolute best comeback ever! The best response was to not respond but rather look someone up and down slowly with a concentration of the shoes and then and only then look then in the eye and respond. Anyone remember who wrote that? Makes me chuckle!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 8:03AM
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marti8a

Aha, in his mind, you still looked like the girl you were in school and it was a shock to him that you had actually aged like everyone else.

That's no excuse, I know.

I am dreading my 40th reunion that is coming up in the fall for just the same reason. One of my friends confided that a male classmate wanted to see pictures of me from our last friend's weekend because he had had a crush on me since high school. I don't remember EVER talking to the guy. Well, I've gained 60 pounds since high school, have bags under my eyes, and a chicken neck, not to mention gray hair. I guess I'll just have to show up and make him grateful he married someone else. lol

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 2:23AM
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peony4

Marti8a, many people have a name for a guy who'd ask another party for a picture of someone he had a crush on 40 years ago...

Nevermind him. You'll be lovely and gracious and truthful. And be grateful you don't remember him.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 12:53AM
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writersblock

I think I read here once from a poster and it was the absolute best comeback ever! The best response was to not respond but rather look someone up and down slowly with a concentration of the shoes and then and only then look then in the eye and respond. Anyone remember who wrote that? Makes me chuckle!

IIRC, it was the inimitable marcolo.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 12:54AM
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jmc01

is "god, you're gray"

1. A statement of fact
2. A judgment

?

Depending on how one answers this is key to how and if to respond.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 7:23AM
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carolssis

Congrats on not responding! I bite my tongue all the time. No reason to be rude, but I can think what ever I want! My response to "God you're gray" Yes, and I worked hard for every one! I'm showing them off. I'm mostly white at 61, and yes, I did work hard and earned all of them.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 11:49AM
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