Sunday, February 03, 2013

My husband forbids me from going gray

Ever since I wrote a blog post about Anne Kreamer’s book Going Gray: What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Really Matters, search terms relating to gray hair began appearing in my blog stats. Recently the following showed up in my keyword history:

My husband forbids me from going gray

I wanted to help this person and others like her formulate a response. Who better than Anne Kreamer herself to answer this query? I sent Anne an email asking how to respond.  Here is her reply:   
There's no question the decision to dye or not dye is timeless and universal. As to your husband, what does he say? Why does he forbid you? Because he thinks you'll look old? He'll look old? You have bad hair? I'd want to know with real detail what his issue is. Then I guess I'd ask him what is it that he fears will happen if you have your natural hair color. Will you not have sex? Is he worried about what others will think?

I'm not sure how long you guys have been together nor how old you are, but ask him does he want you to love him if he goes bald? Would he wear a toupee or dye his hair?

Good luck!
Thank you Anne - I was hoping your response would come from a position of strength.  I was not disappointed.  

Has your spouse or partner ever forbidden you from changing some aspect of your appearance? Or have they demanded you change an aspect of your appearance?  How did you respond?

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  1. Interesting post.

    I can't help myself. I have to add my two cents.

    My husband has tried to tell me what to do but I don't think he has ever forbidden me from doing something.

    I am too obstinate and he knows it. If he tried to tell me what to do, I'd probably do the opposite. Just kidding. Partly.

    I suppose, if he tried to tell me what to do, after calming down, I would talk to him to resolve his perceived problem.

    By the way, thanks for stopping by my blog. Have a fantastic day!

  2. The only thing my husband has requested (never forbidden) is that I don't go blonde because his ex was blonde. lol I just replied that blonde isn't good with my complexion anyway ;)

    The 5th Level of Motherhood

  3. My husband didn't like my hair when "it" got redder - wonder how that happened? I decided after a while that I didn't like it either, and magically it went back to normal.

    I take suggestions with a huge grain of salt, 'cause he likes everything just like it is. He's not too happy with my gray nails or navy toenails right now, so I think i will get rid of the gray and go navy for both!

    I am being way too flip about this tho. Am concerned when either PARTNER "forbids" the other from something. What does that say about the relationship?

  4. My boyfriend and I have an agreement about weight/appearance. We promise to stay in shape for each other and for ourselves. It's not so much about being attractive as it is about confidence, health, and happiness.

    I just feel better when I get exercise and eat well and so is he. :)

  5. Savvy, the Significant Other knows better than to tell me what to do with my appearance. Proof of that is how I spend my life in pajama pants! hee hee! Seriously though, he's respectful of my decisions--all of which also include how I look. I loved Anne's response! Fabulous retort if you ask me! :)

  6. Anonymous8:40 PM

    Anne's response is excellent. I bought a pair of pink skinny pants once and my husband laughed so hard and made comments until I took them back. After I explained how bad he hurt me he spent two weeks apologizing. As far as something physical that God gave me, he'd never say a word.

  7. This is very interesting. I don't think my husband has ever forbidden me in doing something though there are times that he tried to tell me what to do. But above all, my husband is the most amazing and supportive husband that I am so lucky to do life with and who pushes me everyday. :)

  8. I can't imagine my husband would use the word "forbid" with me. He knows I would do the exact opposite! I hope the person who googled that term reads the answer. Doesn't seem like a positive relationship.

  9. Darlene,
    Yes, telling someone they can't do something is actually a great motivator. I had a co-worker tell me once I could never handle going to school while working full-time. I left that conversation with an I will show her attitude. I did too.

  10. He comments often on the weave in my hair and when I had highlights. I ditched the highlights, I'm not ditching the weave. He can't have it his way 100% of the time:)

  11. Webb,
    Totally agree with you. Expressing an opinion is different than forbidding someone from doing something.

    FYI- my husband dislikes all nail polish colors except clear. I completely ignore him when it comes to pedicures. I don’t even bother asking him how he likes it anymore. Navy sounds fun!!

  12. I can't imagine my husband forbidding me to do anything related to my appearance. That makes me sad for this woman. :( Stopping by from SITS Saturday Sharefest.

  13. After 31 years of marriage, my husband has never forbidden me to do anything. We don't have that kind of marriage. We talk things over.

    I did mention to my family the idea of going gray. I've been fairly gray since I was in my 30's. It was my daughter-in-law who "forbid" it. She pointed out that I wasn't completely gray yet so it wouldn't look good. I'd have gray at the top but dark brown everywhere else.

    So I guess I'll keep coloring my hair. At least for now.

    Visiting from SITS.

  14. Anonymous9:47 AM

    I've been married for 7 years now, and the one thing that my husband has asked of me is to keep my hair long. That doesn't seem to be a big deal, but my hair is thick, curly, and unruly, and I have struggled with this for a long time. I generally keep my hair longer. I got and get it cut when I want and don't tell him because he makes a big deal. Half the time he doesn't notice unless I tell him that I cut it anyways.

    My point is that I try to appease him in this one area because it really is the one thing he's asked for. I just wish it wasn't such a hassle to manage my hair.

  15. Melanie,
    I imagine the last thing you want to do is remind your husband of his ex. Should be easy to comply.

  16. Kimberly,
    What a great idea. I've certainly heard stories were the guy (it is always the guy) makes his young wife or girlfriend promise to never get fat. So much better to both agree to stay healthy.

  17. Bella,
    I agree respecting our decisions is so important in a relationship as is accepting our partner for who they are - even if they live in pajama pants. I loved Anne's retort too.

  18. Carli Alice,
    I always model new clothes for my husband and he lets me know if they look okay. Some of my friends think this is mean, but seriously I want an honest opinion when a pair of pants makes me look fat. Giving an opinion is different though from laughing and making comments until you take hem back. That is just hurtful. I hope your husband learnt a valuable lesson on here.

  19. Another Jennifer,
    Forbid is such a strong word. I hope the person with this question reads the answer too.

  20. Anna,
    I don't think it was luck. You choose to spend your life with someone who is supportive and who pushes you - a wise choice even if he tries to tell you what to do every now and then.

  21. Joi,
    Compromise is also a great idea. Maybe the poster agrees not to go completely gray, but blends her gray hair with highlights or lowlights.

  22. Dose of Reality,
    I agree it is sad.

  23. Homemakers Daily,
    Kudos to a great marriage. Your DIL seems pretty opinionated, but I imagine she values appearance. You too could go to a blended look with lowlights or highlights.

  24. Joleneybean,
    Pretty funny your husband doesn't notice when you get your hair cut. Shortly after I was married my husband asked if I could grow out my hair. He envisioned a look similar to Crystal Bernard a former co-star on the NBC comedy Wings. I told him my fine hair would never look like that. He never brought it up again.