Welcome to the latest phase!

I've been blogging for several years at http://www.lauraainsworth.com/, and it's great to be entering a new realm. But you'll still find tons of archive posts on plastic surgery, Botox, diet books and other hilariously depressing topics at the original site under "Laura's Diary," along with pics, videos from my shows, sound clips and more. Go over there and poke around!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Laura's List of Pet Peeves

Sure, as always, there’s plenty in the news relating to age and beauty. I’ll get to all that. But first, I have to satisfy an urge I’ve had for awhile: to create my very first official List Of Pet Peeves. If you haven’t ever made one, try it sometime, just for fun, because it can tell you a lot about yourself. For example, I don’t consider myself that easily peeved-off, but my list of peeves turned out to be pretty darn long!

Some of these relate directly to The Age Thing (how could they not?), some only peripherally, and some not at all. Also, I chose not to include things we all hate, such as loud cellphone talkers, bad drivers and anything having to do with air travel. These are personal; some you will no doubt share, while others may just reflect my own quirks. They’re in no particular order. So, here we go, with the things that make me say, “Give me a break!”


the term “baby boomer,” also any variation such as “boomer,” “aging boomer,” etc.

being pointed at or gestured at from a music video

competitive eating contests

MORE magazine (if you read my blog, you know why)

fake call-in radio talk shows that are really infomercials

phrases such as “most unique,” “more perfect,” “the most complete”

the Nobel Peace Prize

“over-the-hill” birthday parties with black balloons

flawlessly PhotoShopped models

Magazine lists such as “The 50 Most Beautiful People,” “The Top 100 Movies Of All Time,” etc. (there are many of these, and they all need to go away, but they won’t. Maybe I should list the Top 50 Reasons for Them To Go Away.)

white walls and beige carpet

“tear-downs” and starter castles in once-charming old neighborhoods

being lectured to on global warming and foreign policy by Hollywood stars, many of whom didn’t even graduate from high school

concert reviews that insist on critiquing the age and degree of hipness of the audience

awards shows – come on, how often does the most deserving person win?

thug culture

Christmas overkill: Christmas season starting before Thanksgiving is over (let alone Halloween!); also, 90 percent of all the Christmas songs that have ever been recorded

on the other hand, having to call the Christmas tree a “holiday tree,” when everybody knows it’s a Christmas tree

fashion magazines’ monthly lists of “must-haves”

the term “reinventing oneself”

the age limit on “American Idol,” also the constant references to contestants’ ages

extremely passionate, argumentative people who are absolutely convinced of something that’s factually incorrect

today’s Saturday morning cartoons – the worst politically-correct pablum! (where are Rocky and Bullwinkle when you need them?)

saying of any actress with millions of dollars to spend on herself that she is “perhaps the most beautiful woman in the world”

gross-out comedies – I won’t go see “The Heartbreak Kid” and will never, EVER see “Kingpin” again

using “they,” “them” and “their” as singular, as in, “Give your child the things they deserve.”

Hollywood-style celebrity “justice”

overuse of the phrases “if you will” and “at the end of the day”

seafood from China

impenetrable business jargon

image politics

politicians who run on an issue that disappears off the radar screen once they’re elected

dividing us by decade, as in “your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond”

ads for mascara in which the model is obviously wearing fake eyelashes

child beauty pageants

adult beauty pageants

reality shows, except for “American Idol” and “Dancing With The Stars”

food companies that sell their products as healthy when one look at the label tells you they are SO NOT

swarms of paparazzi – arrest those locusts for stalking and harassment

my frustrating and unending quest for sexy shoes that don’t hurt

rappers yakking over great old hit songs written by real songwriters

those not-so-fabulous fakes: dark spray-on tans, chopped-off noses, wind-tunnel faces, expressionless eyebrows, clown lips, chalk-white teeth, bowling-ball breasts

Dennis Hopper talking to children of the ‘60s about financial services

Hardee’s (The “Monster Thickburger”? Please, Hardee’s, stop the obesity!)

those long loops on dresses for keeping them on hangers – I can never seem to keep them tucked inside!

Conan O’Brien’s opening, with the loooooong, earsplitting trumpet blast at 12:30 AM (11:30 AM Central). Conan has a fantastic band, but how many thousands of times have they done that by now?

laugh tracks

televangelists, “psychics” and “faith healers”

hearing any actor called “the greatest actor of his generation,” especially if it’s Sean Penn, because he probably believes it

the term “generation” (because unless you’re talking about someone’s family tree, people are born on a continuum and generational divisions are arbitrary, so there!)

commercials that say, “Get the (whatever) you DESERVE!” (because, hey, for all they know, I’m an axe murderer and don’t deserve squat)

status designer handbags that cost as much as a new luxury car

Whew, that turned out to be a long list! It’s good that I don’t get very worked up about most of these things, or my life would be miserable. Fortunately, I’m an easygoing sort; there are only a few things that seriously chafe me. And I need this long list of annoyances to write comedy about.

Besides, the list of things I love would be much, much longer.

Next: "Absolutely Safe," a new documentary on breast implants.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Plastic Surgeons Losing Patience With Patients

Definitely check out the October issue of Allure magazine. I was at the hair salon just long enough to read the article on plastic surgery patients who present themselves to their doctors as self-styled experts. This is becoming a frustrating problem for cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists.

These patients – almost all female -- have never graduated from medical school, but they’ve spent a lot of time on the Internet, where the real truth is, and they walk into the doctor’s office armed with stacks of single-spaced typewritten pages of exacting instructions. They’ve created computer morphed “Before and After” shots of themselves. They know all the medical terminology and sound well-informed to the layman. The problem is, they’ve never actually performed surgery, injected Botox and wrinkle fillers, or learned the hazards of many of the procedures they want their doctors to perform.

Nevertheless, they’re insistent. And they’re never satisfied – they have to keep tinkering. Ultimately, they have even more procedures to “fix” the bad results caused by the original procedures. Then they have to “fix” the “fix.” And then “fix” that.

One doctor quoted in the article spoke of a patient who had returned from Mexico with a vial of some kind of bone cement (I’m not kidding) that she wanted him to inject into her face. As any reputable physician would, he refused, explaining that he had no guarantee of what was in that vial. He could literally be injecting her face with anything, and he wasn’t going to be responsible for that. So she waved bye-bye with her perfectly-manicured hand and continued her search for someone who would do it for her.

No doubt she didn’t have to search for long. I've heard of dermatologists in Dallas who very openly perform procedures – or have their assistants perform them – that are unapproved by the FDA and pose serious risks to one’s health and/or appearance. You can probably find their names on various plastic surgery websites that extoll the virtues of such procedures. Go ahead, look them up, so you’ll know who not to patronize.

This problem seems to be a variation of Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which is what makes anorexics see themselves as fat when they’re actually starving to death and Michael Jackson think he’ll be perfect after just one more plastic surgery. Often it’s a focus on one particular physical flaw, but once that flaw is addressed, it can morph into a pathological appetite for perfection that will never be satisfied.

My friend Dr. Brown, who’s known as one of the best plastic surgeons in Dallas (and that’s saying a lot!), tells me he has women come in and tell him exactly how to make over their breasts. A common instruction is, “Make me as big as you can make me!” But Dr. Brown doesn’t do that. Often, he’ll counsel a patient that because of her height and bone structure, he can’t make her more than, say, a “C.”

I think I can safely say he didn’t do Pam Anderson’s breasts. Or the breasts of any woman who aspires to look like her.

Quite a long time ago, I actually consulted Dr. Brown about a possible reshaping of my nose, and the experience taught me a lot about the psychological aspects of plastic surgery. If you look at pictures of me on my website, you’ll probably say, “Her nose looks just fine! Why would she want to change it?” (at least, I hope you'd say that). Well, the reason was one photograph, taken from an odd angle, that really did make my nose loom large. So I told Dr. Brown that I didn’t want to change the shape of my nose, just make the proportion a little smaller.

He listened, then had me come in for some “Before” pictures, both front and side view. The assistant behind the camera looked confused and had to ask me, “Now, what is it that you wanted changed?”

I’ll never know if Dr. Brown had told her to ask that question, but it sure made me think. “If this person,” I wondered, “who sees hundreds of plastic surgery patients every year, can’t even tell that it’s my nose I’m concerned about, then what is my problem?”

Then, when I saw the photos and realized that they looked more like “After” pictures, I told Dr. Brown that I’d decided against having any work done on my nose. He must have been relieved. And I’m glad that he trusted me to come to my own conclusion; if he’d just said at the outset, “You don’t need it,” I might have just answered, “Well, I think I do.”

Unfortunate, overdone nose jobs are as common as paralyzed faces these days. One big difference, though: Botox wears off in a few months, while, to paraphase James Bond, a nose job is forever. And if the first attempt isn’t right, there has to be another procedure, and perhaps another. I’ve seen many hypershortened noses that are beyond saving. Then the question becomes like a bad trip to a casino: Do you want to walk away with your losses, or risk what you have on another procedure, knowing you’ll probably come out worse but might come out better? In that sense, the addiction to plastic surgery seems to me a lot like the addiction to gambling. With this kind of risk, you might lose the ranch or lose your nose – or, like Michael Jackson, you might lose both.

This isn’t to say that a nose job is never a good thing. If you really don’t like your nose, if it’s caused you to suffer comments and heartache all your life, then I say, “Rah-rah, rhinoplasty!” If you’re in show business, and a slight change in your nose will make you photograph significantly better, then go for it, as lovelies from Paula Abdul to Halle Berry have. But find the best surgeon you can, one who will get it right the first time. Find one who will listen to you, and then…LISTEN TO HIM. Have the work done. And then, if at all possible, consider it a finished work of art.

Your life is a work in progress; your face shouldn’t have to be.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Mammogram Song

In honor of October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here is my wonderful friend and mentor, queen of the satirical folk song, Lu Mitchell, singing her hilarious song, "The Mammogram," and actually finding humor in what we all have to go through...

The Hallucinatory Halo of Health, and Other Cautionary Tales

A round-up of news from all over...

The famously shrinking Jared lost tons of weight by eating all his meals at Subway. So everything they have at Subway must be healthy, right? Wrong!

Cornell University found that people who eat at Subway, billed as the healthy, lowfat alternative to typical fast food, tend to consume more calories than McDonald’s diners. They gave students coupons for either a Big Mac (800 calories) or a 12-inch Italian sub with cheese (900 calories) plus any free extras they wanted. Subway eaters were more likely to add chips, a cookie and a non-diet drink because, researchers concluded, Subway has a “health halo” that makes people assume everything is low-calorie. Subway eaters were also more likely to snack later in the day because they think they ‘deserve it” for eating so healthily.

Also because, as everyone knows, free food has no calories.

Their snack of choice? I’m betting it was a Big Mac.

Does anyone really think Jared lost all that weight by eating 12-inch meatball subs with cheese? I’m thinking that most of the people in this study were college students with fast metabolisms, who got the extra cookie because it was free and Subway has really good cookies. The ones who did have weight issues probably just thought, “Well, this is free; I’ll diet tomorrow.” And maybe it’s not that Subway has a “health halo” but that McDonald’s has the opposite: an especially bad rep as unhealthy fast food that makes people choose more carefully. This study may have some merit, but I’ve noticed that researchers, after painstakingly accumulating and analyzing their data, often interpret the facts in an incredibly subjective way. On the bright side, if deluded people keep chowing down on Subway meatball subs, Jared has plenty of big old pants he’d be happy to sell them.


I didn’t know this, but it’s become a tradition in Venezuela, a truly beauty-obsessed nation, to give one’s daughter breast implants for her 15th birthday. There’s more plastic surgery taking place in Venezuela than anywhere else on earth – is it any wonder that it produces the most beauty queens? -- and the 15th birthday implants are so popular, they’re advertised on TV. Breast augmentation has become a rite of passage, like nose jobs in Beverly Hills.

Proving the old adage that even a broken clock is right twice a day, socialist president and aspiring revolutionary Hugo Chavez has come out against the ridiculous fad, calling it “horrible” and “the ultimate degradation.” He also wants his country rid of “Western icons”such as Barbie dolls. He lectured the country about this on a recent Saturday TV appearance that ran eight hours.

I hear that people actually watched the whole thing, transfixed. Maybe because it was illustrated.

Obviously, Chavez hasn’t thought this thing through. If he wants a socialist revolution, what could be more helpful than a country full of giant boobs? Also, his stand against fake breasts could be the final straw that makes Venezuelans rise up and overthrow him. He’s said some crazy things before, but this time he’s gone too far!


Scientist Patrick Mallucci presented a breakthrough report in London this week. He thoroughly researched photos of hundreds of female celebrities with fake boobs to help plastic surgeons create perfect-looking breasts for clients. (Millions of guys do this job on the Internet, and he’s apparently the only one who gets paid for it.) Speaking to the Breast Enlargement Conference (yes!), he said he’d found the ideal breast job is a “45-55 percent proportion,” with the nipple at least 45 percent from the top and not at the halfway mark or lower.

He also declared British model Caprice to have the best fake boobs in showbiz (they’re absolutely capricious), while the worst are Victoria Beckham’s, which are “unnaturally round.” I tend to agree. Of course, they look that way because in honor of her husband, she had two soccer balls installed.

Also, her nipples are in the bottom 10 percent.

This researcher had wanted to study female celebrities with real breasts, but, unfortunately, he couldn’t find any.


McMaster University in Canada studied the Hadza tribe of Tanzania and found that men with deeper voices had more children than men with higher-pitched voices. Researchers said previous studies found that women find males with deeper voices to be more attractive, judging them to be older, healthier and more dominant and masculine. Also, men perceive women with higher voices as more attractive, subordinate (!), feminine, healthier and younger.

Okay, then, I want to know why Jessica Rabbit, the most seductive cartoon character ever, was voiced by Kathleen Turner, not Jennifer Tilly or the woman who voices Minnie Mouse. And why have men traditionally been attracted to sultry-voiced women like Lauren Bacall and Susan Hayward?

Conversely, why did women like the Bee Gees in the ‘70s? Sting sounds as though he’s on helium, yet he’s perceived to be all the things on the above laundry list. And look at Mick Jagger and Robert Plant: they don’t have deep voices, and I’ll bet they’ve got more children than anybody. Some they don’t even know about.

I personally tend to like lower voices, for both men and women. My husband has worked in radio and doesn’t have the basso profundo “voice of God” announcer’s voice, but it’s still pretty low. It makes him more attractive to me than he’d be with a high voice. On the other hand, he doesn’t have kids. I think this may be another one of those studies in which subjective conclusions have been drawn. Or maybe those conclusions are just particularly true in Tanzania.


A 43-year-old man in Johor state, Malaysia, was in bed with his 48-year-old wife when he began unfavorably comparing her sex skills with those of his new, younger, second wife. Bad idea!

Wife #1 became enranged, grabbed a kitchen knife and nearly deprived him of his manliness. He managed to get to the hospital and have it sewn securely back in place.

Though the wife could get up to three years in jail, she’s not worried. All she needs is one woman on the jury. Then it’s “justifiable penicide.”

Men, listen up. Never, I repeat, NEVER, compare your older first wife to your younger second wife. Especially when you are naked, and there’s a kitchen knife within reach.


Have you seen the billboards that show anorexic French actress Isabelle Caro nude? The shocking pictures of this emaciated woman are captioned with the slogan, “NO TO ANOREXIA.” There’s a magazine ad, too, and Caro has been featured on Entertainment Tonight and other TV shows. Critics say girls might look at Caro as a role model because she’s getting to be a celebrity, and they have a point. But photographer Oliviero Toscani said that girls with anorexia who look at it would say to themselves that they have to stop dieting, not that they have to look like Isabelle Caro.

My thought is that girls with anorexia will say to themselves that Isabelle Caro looks fat.

Or maybe they’ll look at the pictures and say, “Hey, I’m not that thin... I’d like to be…”

I’ve seen what she looks like, and it’s a skeleton with some skin stretched over it. I don’t know how this woman is still alive. In fact, my theory is that she’s not actually alive. I think there’s been some taxidermy involved. She’s been stuffed and mounted.

Well, mounted.


A study by the gym chain L.A. Fitness has found that the fitness of Britons has reached a new low: 53 percent can’t touch their toes, 68 percent can’t do 20 sit-ups, 60 percent can’t carry their weekly shopping home from the supermarket, and a quarter of British women are too fat to fasten their own bras. It has occurred to me that these are the very women who really need to wear bras! I suppose many of them just give up and wear tube tops.

The Brits seriously need to start getting in shape. Here’s one suggestion: If they’re having trouble carrying home their groceries, maybe they should stop buying so much food.

Next: In October’s Allure magazine: Plastic surgery obsession from the doctor’s point of view.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Don't Believe Your Eyes...Or Anyone Else's

I’ve just watched two absolute must-see videos. The first one, Onslaught, a Dove film at campaignforrealbeauty.com, opens with a closeup of a lovely fresh-faced girl, maybe about 9 or 10 years old, and then takes off into a bombardment of edgy media images at breakneck pace: flawless faces, perfect bodies in tiny bikinis, and “transformed” skin, interspersed with yo-yo weight loss and even a brief flash of the toilet bowl as it awaits an upchucked meal. (This all happens so fast that one may need several viewings to take it all in.) It ends with another shot of the young girl with her friends as they walk to school and the message, “Talk to your daughter before the beauty industry does.”

Bravo, Dove! Of course, it has to be said that Dove is a part of the beauty industry, but they deserve a huge commendation for their unique approach.

Several months ago, I was surprised by the cynical reaction to the Dove campaign expressed by an acquaintance of mine. “I can just see the executives and ad people sitting around the table, talking about how they need to position their company to cut through the clutter,” she said (I’m paraphrasing here), her eyes rolling. “That’s all it’s really about.” And she considered it exploitative to show the women of various body types in their underwear.

I must confess -- cynic though I am -- that I love the Dove Campaign For Real Beauty. The quest for perfection forced on us from all sides can be so damaging; this campaign shows how we can be suckered by it and helps us find our way back to the real world. Even if, in the end, it is just a way to sell products, at least it’s the right way. May they break all sales records with this campaign.

Dove has another great video that rapidly details the amazing powers of Photoshop to “beautify” a woman’s face. It’s called Evolution, and it's been on their website for some time; but there’s a new one, not associated with Dove, that does the same thing with a woman’s entire body. It’s called The Power Of Photoshop. Unless you’re a professional photographer who’s already skilled at this process, you have to see it to believe it.

In the video, an extremely heavy woman is posing with much of her ample flesh exposed. The Photoshop artist gradually reproportions the woman’s body and face, much as a sculptor chips away at a block of marble to create his vision of Aphrodite. The woman’s dimply skin becomes flawless, her breasts are lifted and shaped, her dark hair triples in volume as her hips become one-third their original size, and the light around her glows like hundreds of buttery candles. She has become a completely different woman, and the effect is totally realistic. Now, she’s ready to post her picture on eharmony.com.

Wow, this is even faster weight loss than they promise in those ads for weight-loss products. No hunger, no surgery, no sagging skin, and the weight stays off!

I’m urging every woman to watch this, in the hope that she’ll never try to compete with Photoshopped media images again.



As any reader of this blog knows, I follow the Perricone Prescription. That means no sugar or other high-glycemic foods and plenty of antioxidants, both in food and as supplements. I think it’s had quite a remarkable effect, not just on how I look but on my overall health, so much so that I even sing an aria, “O Worship Dr. Perricone,” in my show.

Scientifically, Perricone has been on the cutting edge, but the jury is still out on some of his recommendations. For example, the German Institute of Human Nutrition says that a key to living longer might be giving up sweets and – here’s the surprising part – avoiding vitamins.

At least, if you’re a worm.

In their study, they blocked the ability of worms to process glucose, with the result that they (the worms, not the researchers) lived 25 percent longer. In a human, that translates into about 15 years. The scientists found that restricting sugar at first caused the worms to build up free radicals that cause aging. You’d think that would be a bad thing, but their bodies responded by building up stronger, long-lasting defenses. This might explain why taking antioxidant vitamins to wipe out free radicals doesn’t seem to help people live longer. The researchers said, “The bad thing in the end promotes something good.”

So it seems to me that, if you restrict sugar and take antioxidants, you won’t live longer, but you will look younger when you die. Very important if you want an open casket. You should have seen how young these worms looked – you wouldn’t even have known they were segmented! They looked unsegmented!

Actually, I know what preserves worms best of all. Tequila.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

To Gray Or Not To Gray

Did you know that the typical mega-bookstore has an entire section devoted to aging? It's true! You see, it's very important to age in exactly the right way, because every choice you make is going to be a political and personal statement, loaded with implications about your values. I just found this out in an article called "The War Over Going Gray" by Anne Kreamer, who has also written an entire book on how your hair should age. It's called Going Gray.

Kreamer, after coloring her hair for over 20 years, decided to stop doing it. "I found to my surprise," she says, "that by visually challenging my peers (if I was really gray, so must they be!), I unwittingly landed myself on the front lines of a public struggle - literally superficial but at the same time almost existentially meaningful to American women - with the vicissitudes of age."

She says she encountered two reactions: "a sort of proud, sometimes, sanctimonious right-on-sister enthusiasm from fellow gray-haired women," and "an equally proud, sometimes resentful don't-judge-my-choices-I-do-this-to-feel-good-about-me defensiveness in the comments of the committed-to-dyeing cohort."

"Hardly anyone was lukewarm in their reactions," she continues, "which suggests to me we may have a contentious new baby-boomer argument over gray hair that is as mutually judgmental as the mommy wars between working and stay-at-home mothers was in the 1980s and '90s."

Again with the boomer thing. Never mind that the youngest boomers -- many of whom, I'm sure, are graying now -- were three years old during the Summer Of Love. Among even the oldest boomers, I'll bet I could find a few who weren't cutting class to join sit-ins or dropping acid at Woodstock. Nevertheless, there's an assumption that all the baby boomers used to be hippies and they'd be selling out, man, to do something as dishonest as color their hair! It's ironic: former flower children are obligated to say goodbye to the hair they had as children. The kids who believed they should "never trust anyone over 30" are now forced to deal with the politics of age. Well, what goes around comes around.

I know I live in Dallas, home of the hair that's big and blond, but have I completely missed something? Where is the existential meaning in the decision about hair color? Why is hair color an "age thing" at all? High school girls color their hair. High school boys color their hair. Twelve-year-old girls get highlights, just for fun. Most women of all ages change the color of their hair or at least enhance it in some way.

Women go gray "in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond." Hair color, including the way it changes through the years, is a genetic trait. Raven-haired Lara Flynn Boyle has said in an interview that her hair turned totally white in her twenties but that she chose to keep it dark. (I agree that the dark hair is very dramatic against her fair skin.) But all-over silver hair can beautiful at any age; I think women such as Emmylou Harris who attain it at a young age and look beautiful in it are lucky. And just think - if you're tall, skinny, have great skin and beautiful white hair, you can be quite successful modeling for Chico's.

I didn't get the "white hair" gene. My poker-straight blond hair, about a decade ago, started turning a little darker and more ashy. I had it highlighted for awhile, but so many Dallas women are blond that I'm glad I made the decision eight years ago to turn it a vibrant but natural-looking red. It makes me feel good. It makes my eyes look bluer. And the shade suits my overall coloring so well that most of the people I've met in the past eight years are stunned when I tell them I'm not a real redhead.

Judging from my eyebrows, the hair on my head is probably coming in an ashy-blondy-brownish color. If I stopped coloring it, the occasional gray hairs that might be there would probably blend in and look like subtle highlights, if they were noticed at all. My mom didn't get much gray in her taupe-colored hair until very late in life, so I probably won't, either. I'll never have Emmylou Harris hair. I have as much chance of that as of having curly hair. Or thick hair, drat.

Never did I dream that by coloring my hair I was being dishonest in any way or making some kind of personal statement about aging. But it seems I have been, without even realizing it!

Kreamer points out that of the 16 female U.S. Senators, not a single one has visible gray hair, though they range in age from 46 to 74. Of the 70 female members of the House, only seven have gray hair. "Political professionals," she reports, "say that the double standard is a great unspoken inequity but that candidates and officeholders don't dare publicly discuss it for fear of seeming trivial."

What double standard? There may presently be, percentage-wise, more gray-haired men than gray-haired women in office, but that number is going down as more and more men feel the pressure to look young and vital. Ronald Reagan dyed his hair. (The joke was that he'd gone "prematurely orange.") I'm sure quite a few men in Congress do. I'd be willing to bet Mitt Romney's coloring the gray, and my hunch is that other Presidential candidates - not just Hillary Clinton -- are, too. Joe Biden got a hair transplant. And imagine how many toupees there must be among politicians! How many men in politics are being "dishonest" by covering their male pattern baldness?

Kreamer's article paraphrases Clairol's in-house creative director of color and style as saying that one powerful motivator of gray-haired women to dye their hair is to live the fantasy that they're still 30 or 35 instead of 45 or 60. (This statement chafes me for so many reasons that if I were currently using Clairol hair coloring, I'd switch to another brand.) She says that rather than sell it as a fantasy or lie, the postmodern beauty industry casts artificial color as a means of expressing a deeper truth about who one is.

Gee. I color mine because it's fun, it looks striking on stage and, as previously noted, it makes my eyes look bluer.

Rose Weitz, who wrote Rapunzel's Daughters: What Women's Hair Tells Us About Women's Lives (Jeez, another book on aging hair??), says, "Even if, in the abstract, we think we look all right with gray hair, we nonetheless feel as if we are losing our 'real selves' if we no longer have our 'real hair color' - the color we had when we were young and looked our best." If that's true, I should want to be blonde forever. And who says we "looked our best" back then, anyway? Some of us did. Some look better today.

Interestingly, Kreamer notes that when she tested gray hair vs. brown hair on Match.com, posting the pictures three months apart, she had much more success as the gray-haired version of herself. (She gave her age accurately for each posting.) Three times as many men in New York City, Chicago and even Los Angeles were interested in the "gray" Kreamer. She speculates that her honesty made her seem refreshing and accessible, or that perhaps her gray hair made her stand out among all the fake, colored hair.

Both of those possibilities may be true. But an additional consideration is that the gray just looks really good on her. Did she ever think about that?

Probably not. In her article, she says, "These days, choosing not to dye has become a statement rather than a casual stylistic choice."

She obviously didn't talk to me. But I'm telling you now that, down the road, as I get more gray in my hair, my decision about coloring it will be nothing more than a casual stylistic choice. My hair color will never be a political statement. It will not reveal my numerical age. It will not clue others in to my opinions any more than my numerical age does.

And to you gray-hairs out there, dyed or not: Unless you're in a field that demands employees who look as if they're straight from Central Casting, I recommend that you get over yourself and stop overanalyzing this issue. Do whatever you like with your hair. It's not that important. Really.

Kreamer didn't talk to my friend Lu, either. Lu is a longtime Dallas folksinger and songwriter who has straight, thick, uniformly gray hair. It's not a dramatic white or silver, just light gray. She wears it in a distinctive short cut that looks good on her. (For those who care how old she is, she's 80, though she looks many years younger, even with the gray.) I asked her about the to-dye-or-not-to-dye question; does she keep her natural color as a personal statement, or what?

Her attitude was very much like mine. She's not making any statement; she just chose to do what she liked. I saw an old picture of her with brown hair, and I have to say, I like the gray better on her. The lighter color is eye-catching, and she stands out in the crowd.

She could go blonde, and I'd say the same thing.