Today I have to get my hair colored. Which makes me think about the whole hair thing.
When I was young no one colored their hair. Except of course for those platinum blond bombshells in Hollywood. "Bleaching" your hair, as in "Her hair is bleached" was popular with the women my mother would have looked askance at in those days. They often had questionable character and "sexy" was not something to be strived for. Jayne Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo - those were the sexy girls back then.
The only thing that happened in my house was perms. There were regular perms for my mother who, sadly, had very difficult hair to manage. It was very thick and straight as straw. In those early years she gave herself perms - they called them "Tonis" in the 1950s. Then she even gave them (called "tonettes' for little girls) to my sisters in about 1960 because they also didn't have great curls and everyone it seems wanted curls. Fortunately I was spared that torture because the smell was enough to kill you.
I don't remember when my mother began coloring her hair to hide the gray but it wasn't until I was at least in high school. No one did that until then. Suddenly it became a widely accepted practice and evolved to the place where few women in the 50's or 60's would have gray hair. The result was that women look younger than they did in my grandmother's day. No longer were women in their 50's wearing long drab dresses and sporting gray hair. Now they wore jeans and had cute hairstyles in youthful colors!
When I was in my early 40's I began to show some gray. It didn't bother me too much but I guess it bothered my kids because one of them told me one day I needed to "do something" about my gray hair. I think being in high school makes you very sensitive about appearances and I was embarrassing them. So I started putting a rinse in my hair every 6 weeks or so.
Now, I go regularly to have my hair colored for two reasons: first of all, a professional does and much better job of making the color and cut look right, and second, I can afford small luxuries so why not?
So today I'll get hair color and a trim and come home feeling and looking much better than I did when I left. Life wasn't simpler back in the day. It's much simpler now. But definitely not cheaper.