To Dye or Not to Dye

To Dye or Not to Dye

To dye or not to dye, that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler to let the grey hairs win
And reveal the age she truly is,
Or to take arms against the march of time
And hit the Clairol aisle at Shoppers. To dye—to streak,
Or more; and by dyeing to hide
The roots and faded follicles
That dot the ageing scalp: ‘tis a temptation
Difficult to resist. To dye—to streak;
To streak, perchance with foils—ay, there’s the rub:
For in that choice to dye what costs may come,
When she must colour every month or so,
Must give her pause—there’s the price
That makes expense of so long life.
Yet who would bear the tyranny of age,
The dismissive glance, the cheery “Dear”
The assumed discount on Seniors Days
The insolence of youth and the scorn
Of techie geeks
When she herself might fix it all
With a single flask of dye?
She ponders highlights, hues, and tones,
Till a nagging question wracks her brain.
“Why not be who I truly am?
To hell with turning back the clock!”
And thus the needless plans to dye,
Are cast off with a single thought:
“I’m free of this, let the grey begin
I shall embrace my silver locks.”

With apologies to William Shakespeare

Fifty Shades of Grey by Robyn Martelly

About Ruth McQuirter

Ruth McQuirter is a Professor in the Faculty of Education at Brock University (Hamilton Campus), where she teaches Language Arts. Ruth enjoys writing retreats at Five Oaks Retreat Centre in Paris, Ontario, only partly because she can say, "I'm off to Paris to write."

About Robyn Martelly

Robyn Martelly is from magical Cape Breton Island and the diverse community of Whitney Pier, a Canadian heritage site. She's a contributing author, writes a monthly column in the Cape Breton Post called "Pier Dear" and is a self-taught artist, her skills ranging from painting to poetry. Robyn has 15-plus years’ experience creating beautiful art and working with various community organizations in Halifax and Sydney. Robyn's art is inspired by her culture, community and current events. See more of Robyn's art at and on Instagram.

4 thoughts on “To Dye or Not to Dye

  1. Giselle Whyte

    Well done Ruth!
    It captures the dilemma of many women who have decided to honour the grey as well as those who, despite bold intentions to forge ahead into the grey zone, eventually reconsider and allow the dye to “take root”!

  2. Marianne Jones

    Love this! You so perfectly express the dilemma I’m wrestling with right now.


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