Ettie Newlands

My new favorite Facebook group, Curly Silvers, is pretty exclusive.

It’s for woman with naturally curly gray hair.

Not straight gray hair and not curly black, brown, red or blonde hair.

Most of the woman in the group are transitioning from one of those colors to the gray, and they’re looking for support.

It’s a process that involves having their hair at least two colors for what seems like forever, sometimes with a very distinct line of demarcation between those colors.

It’s a process of wondering how old they’ll look when the process is complete, while far too many “helpers” offer their not-so-flattering opinions.

It’s a process of accepting the inevitable, or opting out and trying just one more time to beat this age thing.

The women on the site encourage each other to embrace the changes, wear hats in the meantime, and approach total strangers with the mantra that curly silver is the way to go.

“When you see a woman who’s transitioning to curly silver, and she looks great, approach her and tell her,” the site encourages.

“If she doesn’t look great, remind her that it’s a process. Tell her she looks gorgeous, tell her that her curls are beautiful, tell her she’s making the right choice.”

I’m long since over the wondering and the embracing and the transitioning, but the approaching was intimidating.

In this new world where PC no longer means ‘personal computer,’ do I dare go up to a total stranger and tell her that her hair is gorgeous?

In a world where a man can no longer tell a woman she looks nice today without the threat of being labeled a sexual predator, dare I compliment a stranger – even another female – on her hair?

I did it.

I went up to a curly silver candidate who was still in morphing mode and I told her. “Your curls are gorgeous and the silver will be amazing when it all comes in. You’ll be so glad you did this.”

She almost cried, she was so grateful. She told me that her husband doesn’t like her “looking old,” and that it’s been a struggle to keep on.

We talked, we shared, we bonded, we said ‘goodbye and good luck.’

Two days later – my right hand to God – a total stranger came up to me and said, “I’ve debated saying anything but I’ve got to tell you…”

At that point I was terrified I was schlepping toilet paper on the bottom of my shoe or had forgotten my slip.

But, she said the magic words…” Your hair is beautiful and I just had to tell you so.”

Women, we need to compliment each other. Curly, straight, gray, blonde, whatever…When we see a woman who looks good, we need to tell her. Her hair, her shoes, her kid…we all need all the reinforcement and encouragement we can get.

And if we don’t get it from one another, where will we get it?


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