by: Adam Guerino
Note: “Serial Dater” is a series that came in response from a magazine asking Adam Guerino to write a dating column. He realized the irony that anyone would ask him for dating advice and decided to write a dating column based upon the theory that no one should ever ask his advice about dating.
Let me tell you the single worst pick-up line ever. “Wow, you’ve got a lot of gray hair, if you dyed it, you’d look a lot younger.”
Don’t use it. It’s the opening line to a cautionary tale about tactless morons sleeping alone. Without fail, having gray hair will make you seem at least ten years older than you are.
Gray hair makes it hard to date. Either guys who are a decade older than me think we’re the same age and have so much in common are scared away when they find out I’m “Just a kid!” Even people my age who like the gray hair will still think I’m older. And what chance do we have at a relationship if they were hoping I was ten years our senior?
I have gray hair. I’m not sure which part I am from salt to pepper, but I’ve been going gray since 16. I’d be sitting in class or on the bus when I’d get a sharp shooting pain in the back of my head. Turning, inevitably, I’d see someone eye-balling a silver sliver of hair in a pinch between their fingers. Scientists can only hypothesize just how many grays I might have actually had if not for brutish interference.
One of the perks of the grays is that people give me more responsibility and trust assuming I’m a thirty-something. It has helped in careers, even if not in love. Where someone might assume I have had more experience in dating…well, they would be wrong. Inevitably, I will attract people under the assumption that I am something I am not. Should I dye my hair for dating? Whether it is superficial or not, it will make people who are attracted to my actual age more comfortable with approaching me.
This superficial feature is seen from society as distinguished, authentic and unique. You can dye your hair blond, black, brown or red, but it’s next to impossible to make your hair genuinely look gray. It inadvertently adds to your character. Think of George Clooney, Steve Martin or Anderson Cooper. I can only imagine how much pressure they faced to color their hair (actually I don’t have to imagine) and what if they had? How much of their careers’ success has been seasoned by their salt and pepper? Maybe their talent is inherent and their gray helped them get noticed for their talent? Or maybe, some of their talent comes from the fact that their hair threw them from the norm?
Now that I’m in my mid-late twenties, going gray is more… believable. And I enjoy a financial comfort of food and shelter. I could dye my hair. I could do it regularly enough that no one would notice otherwise. So I understand the pressure. But pressure to do what? Stand out by how well I fit in? I might get annoyed by being judged prematurely for my premature gray, but how much is me and how much is my hair?
And, no, the carpet doesn’t match the drapes.
Adam Guerino is a writer in Chicago who works nationally as a stand-up comedian event producer. Guerino is the creator of OutLoud Chicago a production effort bringing queer entertainment to the mainstream with rotating venues including Queer Comedy at Zanies and Barefoot Ballad at The Hideout. His benefit series, We Are Halsted, seeks to get the queer community to support the queer community by raising funds and awareness for queer homeless youth. For more information and a calendar of upcoming events, www.adamguerino.com.