My beloved standard poodle Remy is nine years old. As Lorne Green used to say in that Seventies Alpo commercial, “That’s 63 for you and me.” Despite her years, she still acts like a puppy, her spindly legs as awkward as a newborn foal when she stretches, only to fly through the woods like a ski racer. The only tell that she’s not a puppy is the little patch of gray under her chin.
I can relate. My body feels, and, with the exception of a potentially somewhat more generous rear, looks pretty much the same as it did when I was 25. My legs dance just as awkwardly as they did when I was 13 and I also bark when I’m frustrated. Of course, my tells are the lines next to my eyes, the dark spots on my temples and those gray roots atop my head whose tenacity only increases as I get older but my colorist and I manage fairly well.
Like Remy, I have my own little soul patch, though mine is way below my chin, so maybe that’s why it’s as ignored as Remy’s is. Yes, I’m talking about that patch.
I have no idea how long it’s been gray down there. About ten years ago, I lasered away every strand of hair below my waist. The legs have remained Zamboni smooth, but my pubic hair (god, why is “pubic” such a cringey word?) has returned. I don’t mind, though. The idea of being completely hair-free down there has always seemed unnatural to me, anyway, so I welcomed the returning fuzz, trimming it when I remember as a cordiality to my husband, not that he’s ever griped about it…TMI?. The last time I did, however, I noticed that its color was no longer its natural dishwater brown. Wow. Yuck. Should I do something about this?
“Oh sure, I’ve given people color to take home with them to do ‘downstairs,’ as we call it,” says my colorist Gina Gilbert when I ask her about it. “It’s a gentler formula; semi-permanent with no ammonia. You don’t want to get roots or a demarcation line.”
God forbid. She adds an “lol” after writing that to me, but I suppose one doesn’t want a demarcation line downstairs any more than they want one in the attic. But is coloring down there the healthiest idea? That area’s got a whole lotta shit going on already, the least of which is that it’s a bit stifled and sweaty. Dare I go commando in the name of supplying enough oxygen to my newly-blonde pubes?
I’m not ready to cover them with Clairol X14 or whatever my formula would be, but then I spy a can of Oribe Airbrush Root Touch-Up Spray nestled among the perfume bottles on my dresser.
“Aren’t you in for a treat,” I say to my nether region as I take aim. One cold burst hits my pelvic bone. It also hits the hair that’s covering that bone, and upon closer inspection, I see that my skin is now also a medium shade of brown. I laugh. And then I walk around half naked for 15 minutes because I have no idea how long the stuff needs to dry since it’s never an issue when I use it on my head.
This whole thing seems silly. My down-there gray is an afterthought. I rarely think about it, but when it does catch my eye, my mind manages to rush from mortified to mentally sweeping it under the carpet the same way I do when I notice the cellulite on my upper arms. The “What the FUCK??” reaction quickly gets outweighed by “Yeah, okay…I don’t really give much of a shit” and I do nothing more than consider lowering the number of sleeveless dresses I wear then go on with my life.
Down there is only seen by one person. And when it’s, well, engaged in matters of arousal, the lights are usually turned off. My God, are we the most milquetoast sex partners?
The hair on my husband’s chest has also gone full-on gray, but not for one second do I regard it as a sign of old age. I think it’s sexy, actually, in that silver fox kind of way.
It reminds me of a friend who once told her husband she was considering getting Botox. She explained to him that she was worried about starting to look old. He smiled at her and said, “How about you and I just grow old together?”
I know that’s what my husband would say if I told him I was considering becoming a southern blonde. Instead, I look down at my pelvis and, in the most loving voice, I say, “How about you and I just grow old together?”
And then I turn off the lights.
Jane pens columns for the Cut, Coveteur and Elle Decor magazine. Her video series, Beauty Call, can be seen on lofficielusa.com and she documents her kitchen messes on her food blog, The Fraudulent Chef. Prior to all of this, she was executive beauty director at W Magazine.