Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hair Color Part 1 - Men vs. Women

I was standing at the back of a high-powered meeting with important big wigs of my company that flew in from headquarters.  I was just part of the dog and pony show and had to stand and smile for an hour as the minority female engineer, I mean as a Technology Team Leader.  In most long meetings where I have little interest or input, I write blog posts in my notebook (this very post was written during a "New Development Process" meeting).  In this case, I was standing without a notebook.  So I scanned the room absentmindedly.  There were twenty or so men in their 40's through 60's and three women including me.  The other women were in human resources (I often kid about being the token female engineer/manager, but there is a serious lack of them in my company).

I noted how many of the men were balding, how many were graying, and how many colored their hair.  Now women's hair color is a well-developed art and science, with blended colors and very natural looking results.  Older women who wish to be gray still color their hair gray to provide a softer, more even look.  And most women look great with colored hair.  That's not to say that some still totally botch it.  At least every women in this room looked great in their hair coloring (including me).  Men's hair color has stayed in the stone ages.  It looks flat and unnatural.  Just look at that guy on the box!  The majority of the men did not color their hair.  And it looked perfectly natural.  The ones who did color either looked fake, or had that unnatural gray/blond look.  I prefer salt and pepper over obviously dyed men's hair any day. (I must be getting old when salt and pepper hair is attractive.)  Is it a cultural expectation that men not color their hair?  And then there are men that don't gray and don't need to color their hair (like my husband).  They get wrongly accused for coloring their hair when they don't.  You can't win.  If you're a man in your 40's or 50's, you're expected to have gray hair.

So what do other people think about during meetings like this?  Are they as distracted as I am?

See also Hair Color Part 2 - Chinese vs. Black

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