George Clooney. Richard Gere. Dermot Mulroney. Anderson Cooper. Eric Dane. One thing this A list crew has in common is they have all had a silver coat since I remember seeing them on tv, for the first time. When I was a much younger man, grey hair had 1 connotation – old. The words “experienced” or “wise” never once crossed my pre pubescent boob infested mind… Until now.
As a 31 year old male, I have started to sprout a couple grey hairs of my own. Fortunately, there are only enough to warrant a quick tweeze here and there to remove these unsightly signs of ageing, but they are becoming ever more present and calling in the troops to make a more permanent residential arrangement atop of my head. In contrast to my dark brown mop, these greys hairs stand out like a white guy at a Mendoza concert, so its in my best interest to eradicate these old timers at my soonest possible convenience. Why would I do such a thing? Because the elixir to my youth is the absence of grey. While balding is another tell tale sign of ageing, my hair is so thick, my scalp could survive a polar cap blizzard with out even noticing a temperature fluctuation, so that is of no concern to me.
I was asked a question at a child’s birthday and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. I was asked my age. Being a male, I have no shame in admitting that I am indeed the age that my ID states, so I said “I’m 30.” – which I was at the time – and the person asking the question looked at me as if I had just told them that Santa (spoiler alert) is nothing but a fictional character. So I politely stood to my feet and introduced myself and we continued to chat further for what seemed like most of the child’s party. As we decided another whiskey was in order they said to me “I hope you weren’t offended by my asking of your age earlier, I just assumed you were one of the kids here with your parents waiting for the party to end.” At the time, I felt revived and filled with the ego of a much younger me and I couldn’t wait to share the good news with my wife. She lovingly looked at me and laughed, but as time has passed, vanity has given way to certain perceptions people have about me.
While the perception of being younger than you are is nothing but flattery to one’s conceitedness, in business it has the potential to hinder more than it does aid. The successful business men and woman of the world need to be able to identify with you in order to willingly hand over a pile of cash to better benefit their empire. I have seen this first hand. After presenting an idea to a board of directors, they questioned my logic and process. So, instead of answering this myself, I let an older and more experienced individual answer the question and essentially repeated what I had just said. As soon as he removed his glasses and raised to his feet, the board members saw themselves in this person and he managed to achieve in a couple sentences what I had failed to do in 10 minutes. After he said his first sentence, the board members heads started nodding like a desk of bobble heads. The content of what we were saying was identical, but an older, more experienced and identifiable person spoke words of wisdom and the board agreed.
So, going back to the initial question, does grey hair give away your age or does it exude wisdom and worldliness? Personally, I think it depends on where you are in your journey of life. When I was younger it meant life lessons and stories from when a movie cost 2c, but now, I think a little grey shows the world, you are starting to enter into the circle of dominance and climbing your way to Alpha male status. A grey mop, like the animal kingdom, will have the rest of troop wanting to follow you to survival and more importantly, success. That being said, don’t discredit and apply prejudice because of what you think someone appears to be, hear them out first and draw your conclusions from what was said, and not who said it.