Thursday, January 14, 2016

"Let it Be" by Cordelia Manning

I'm delighted to post this piece on "going gray" in response to a public invitation to readers of Me, My Hair and I: Twenty-seven Women Untangle an Obsession. Reader Cordelia Manning sent in this lovely piece and titled it "Let It Be." It's more evidence that our hair is a deeply personal public/private matter that has the power to make us reflect on our entire lives. The wonder is that Cordelia Manning has done it so succinctly here. Thank you!

"I was a much adored child: first grandchild on both sides; first child of my parents; first niece of all my aunts and uncles. I was the one they had all waited for and I was showered with love and attention. Even later, after my siblings and cousins arrived, I was the first and eldest, the special one.

"I like to think all that attention was wonderful, nurturing, but in fact they were all always fussing over me. My hair was too long, short, or thick, my skin was too fair and freckled, my eyebrows too heavy. Then there was the list of things I couldn’t do because they might mar the perfection I clearly didn’t have: running gives you big calf muscles; playing the flute would mis-shape your upper lip; if you ski you could break a bone.

"So, once I started growing up, I just wanted them to let me be.

"I found my way in the words of a song: '’Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free, ’Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,' and started turning, turning, and am still turning, on my way to coming out right. What has this to do with grey hair? Hairdressers, too, were always fussing. 'You need streaks, you need a perm, let’s thin your hair…' But I have finally found one who says, 'Your grey hair is beautiful just as it is. Let it be.'"

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Ingrid Nilsen raves about Me, My Hair and I

Beauty and fashion guru Ingrid Nilsen raves in her NOVEMBER FAVORITES video about Me, My Hair and I.  Take a look at minute 10! Thanks, Ingrid!

Want to buy the book - an original paperback, published by Algonquin? Try Amazon or your favorite indie. Some of mine are Porter Square Books and Politics and Prose

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Me, My Hair and I - Boston and Miami Book Fair

Hair-obsessed readers, please join Hallie Ephron, Elizabeth Searle and me, Monday November 16 at 7pm Newtonville Books, Newton, MA.  There may be a drawing for a hair-related gift basket involved.

                                                      _____________________

And if you're headed to the Miami Book Fair, four of us will be on a panel, Saturday, Nov. 21, at noon. Details click here: 


Hair: A Cultural Exploration

Saturday, November 21 @ 12:00 pm

 |
Free
Have a good-hair day with Hallie EphronRu Freeman, and Marita Golden — contributors to Me, My Hair, and I: Twenty-seven Women Untangle an Obsession, edited and moderated by Elizabeth Benedict, the anthology that proves what every woman knows — many things in life matter more than hair, but few bring as much pleasure as a really great hairdo.






Saturday, November 7, 2015

Great Silver Hair Story from a Reader

I was delighted to receive this story from a reader in response to my call for stories about going gray, or as we say around here, silver. Got one you want on this blog? It can be with or without your name - entirely your choice. Email me at info@ElizabethBenedict.com and I'll consider it. 

In the meantime, here's one I really identify with - especially all the ambivalence - should I, shouldn't I? Thanks for sharing with us!


"I am a 37 year old brunette who has never colored my hair. Prior to having any grays, I never thought my hair was my best feature, so I didn’t want to spend the time/money in the salon coloring it. It simply wasn’t a big deal to me.

"As a few silver strands started showing up like obnoxious runway lights in an otherwise calm night,  I thought, “hmm.” About that time, a (male) colleague of mine gave me Anne Kreamer’s book [Going Gray]. Upon reading it, I resolutely decided to not color my hair and wrote her a fan letter (my first. She responded! It was great.) Now, two years later, I’m still resolutely not going to color my hair….maybe.  

"I am hoping to age gracefully and embrace my silver hair (my mother quit coloring in her 40s and looks fabulous), but I admit I spend more time thinking about my hair now than I ever did as a young woman. It’s crazy! Additionally, you should know I’m self-centered enough to be somewhat fascinated with my own aging process, so some days are easier than other. :)

"I try to use my gray as a tool to position myself (I work in advertising strategy in an ad agency, so I’m supposed to be the “smart” one) as experienced and wise next to the flamboyant youths I find myself among, but how boring does that get? Answer: very.

"So far, I’m au natural, baby. But ask me again, tomorrow….

Best, 
A naturally mousy-brown-haired gal from [the Midwest]"

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

To Go Gray or Not, That is the Question

Where are you on the issue of going gray? Are you firmly for, against, or ambivalent?

Before Me, My Hair and I came out, I thought the most risqué piece in the book was Alex Kuczynski's "And Be Sure to Tell Your Mother," about, well, pubic hair. But once it came out and the New York Post interviewed contributor Anne Kreamer on her decision some years ago to go gray, I realized this was a much more fraught issue than I'd imagined.  It has to do whether whether we're going to age naturally or intervene in the process - and what the costs of each decision are, financially, emotionally, and culturally.

My own story: my essay in the anthology is called, "No, I Won't Go Gray," but soon after the book went into final production, I changed my mind. My hair dresser mistakenly dyed my hair black - it had been a soft brown, close to the original - and after a few weeks of trying to live with it, I decided I couldn't bear to go through what's necessary to get it back to brown - months of highlights, aluminum foil in the hair, money and time - and I decided to take the going gray challenge.

Ten months later, there's a bunch of gray and still some brown. And I'm still not sure where I'm going or my hair is going, but I'm OK with not knowing. With waiting to see. With giving up the need I felt to color. And I've been heartened by all the Pro-Gray women who've posted on various sites.

Here's an abridged version of my essay in the book from Huffington Post, "No, I Won't Go Gray."

Visit the book's Facebook page and share your Pro-Gray/Con-Gray story, and/or send it to me in an email, to ElizabethBenedictOK@gmail.com, and I'll write up the results. Best if your story is 250 words or less.  (Please note the OK after my name in the email.)

And if all this talk of hair makes you anxious, you're not alone.

If you're curious about the book, read us in paperback, on Kindle, Nook, or your favorite ebook platform. And follow us on Twitter: @HairBookEliz


Monday, October 19, 2015

"This Glowing Collection of Essays...."

BOOK PAGE just published a wonderful review of Me, My Hair and I.  A taste from the beginning:

“Gorgeous hair is the best revenge,” said Ivana Trump, she of the platinum blonde, sky-high hair. Hair as tool of revenge, as obsession, as embarrassment, as source of pride: Why does a long string of protein absorb so much of our attention?"

and the end:


"Thought-provoking and insightful, Me, My Hair, and I is a must-read for anyone who has ever dealt with frizz, gray hair, mothers insisting we get a haircut, fathers insisting we not, hair envy or hair disasters. In short, all of us." READ MORE
Reviewer Amy Scribner mentions essays by contributors Suleika Jaouad, Alex Kuczynski, Hallie Ephron, Jane Green, Jane Smiley, Adriana Trigiani, and Anne Lamott. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Truth, Wisdom, Women & Hair

I love this review from the Chicago Tribune of Me, My Hair and I by Heidi Stevens. Here's the opening:
"Truth and wisdom do such a delightful dance throughout "Me, My Hair, And I" that you finish the essay collection wondering why we don't spend more time, not less, obsessing over our tresses.
"Ask a woman about her hair," writes Elizabeth Benedict, "and she just might tell you the story of her life."
"Benedict, an Iowa Writers' Workshop coach and the author of five novels, did just that, gathering essays from a diverse group of 27 female writers, including Anne Lamott, Jane Smiley, Maria Hinojosa and Suleika Jaouad." READ MORE