Friday, August 18, 2006

Color Blind Society?

I was recently laid off after 16 years with the same company. One of the first things my wife said was that I'd need to start dying my hair to avoid age discrimination.

Yep, my hair is almost all gray, and a great many people make the assumption that I am much older than I am. My mother-in-law even reported that she received comments about my age (relative to my wife) from relatives who had seen my wedding pictures — they simply noticed the gray and made an assumption. I was 28 and my blushing bride is only 4 years my junior. And my hair is much grayer now.

As I started looking around in job groups I saw a good many comments from people who felt that their age (50 and up) was causing them problems getting a job in a high-tech field. The comments weren't just about hair color. It was an overall perception of age.

While I'm only 44, I've frequently encountered people who express surprise and admit to thinking I was much older, because of the hair. And it comes up surprisingly frequently, probably because they think 6/10ths (my better half) must be much younger than me and they are intrigued by the prospect of ours being one of those "May-December" romances.

So I've finally decided that I'd rather not get discriminated against for something that isn't true (i.e. I'm not over 50). I got my hair dyed.

Now I have to get used to the color. It's lighter than my natural color and has a bit of a reddish cast to it. It's hard to tell if my uneasiness with it is due to the drastic change (which those who don't know me won't experience) or if the problem is with the reddish tones.

I may have to get it done darker.

1 comment:

Gene said...

go for the UT Alumni look:

half burnt orange, half white.

a dye-hard Alumni will scoop you up in no time.