The Luv Doc: Premature
There is only one alternative to getting older, and it definitely involves not getting laid.
Dear Luv Doc,
I excitedly made my first foray into clubland in more than a year on Saturday night with a group of friends who are all officially vaccinated. We had a nice dinner at Moonshine and then walked to Rainey Street for post-dinner cocktails. We're all in our mid-30s, single, and used to go out a few nights a month before the pandemic. I don't know if it's because a lot of older people are still hiding out or maybe because I never noticed before, but everyone on Rainey Street seemed so young. It didn't help that when I was passing by the service bar on the way back from the restroom, the bartender pointed at a margarita and said, "That's for the gray haired lady in the blue shirt." He was talking about me. I don't have gray hair, I have one streak of gray hair that I have been letting go for the last year because I haven't been to the salon. I know I shouldn't care, but I have been obsessing about it all week. I was thinking I might gradually start letting my gray hair grow out, but now, after being out of circulation for more than a year, I feel extra old. I am only 36! I would really like to stick with the plan, but I don't think my vanity can take it. How do I get my head straight about this? And don't tell me to start hanging out in nursing homes!
– Silver Streak
Happy news, Silver Streak! You have come to the right advice columnist! I myself have been prematurely graying since my early 30s. In fact, I am still prematurely graying. Every damn day. Some people might say that at this point I'm just graying, but those same people would also have to admit that no one has ever described me as mature. Not my jam. I have, however, been called "old man," "geezer," "boomer" (that one stings because I am really more of a Gen X-er), and lastly, "grandpa," which will be true soon enough because, what can I say? I'm a breeder. Even still, I have always thought of myself as Dirty Sixth old, or maybe even Red River old, but Rainey old? Damn, that stings.
Maybe I'm going senile, but as I remember it, Rainey used to be routinely overrun with beer-gutted, lanyard-wearing conventioneers from Squaresville, Indiana, and gaggles of bleach blonde bachelorette partiers wearing matching pink T-shirts that said something like, "Bridal Party Animal" or "How Merlot Can You Go?" – you know, the kind of predictably generic, mildly obnoxious "fun lovers" that could really fill up a cash register at Unbarlievable, but made you pine for the days of the old Chain Drive. Pssst ... for all you dark-rooted youngsters ... The Chain Drive was a leather bar on Willow that was literally the hottest thing going in the Rainey Street District for a solid decade – and by "hottest thing going," I mean that the air-conditioning system was underwhelming for a leather bar. It was a great place to go to cook up some crotch chowder, but maybe not a huge hot spot in a social sense. Amazing what a few hundred million dollars of speculative real estate cheese can do to fuck up a vibe, isn't it? And now it's a district. Oh dear. It looks like I have dated myself.
It sort of goes without saying that a cluster of bars in the shadow of a cluster of pricey condos isn't likely to be the genesis of an interesting cultural scene, but damned if they aren't giving it the post-college try, albeit a couple of decades too late. I know, I know, I sound like a goddamn boomer. The point is that Rainey Street, while a perfectly acceptable place to do some bachelorette party binge drinking, is a horrible place to use as a measuring stick for your worth as a human being, regardless of your hair color.
We both know you can change your hair color anytime you like, and you should if it will make you feel better about being you. Remember though, you're only forestalling the inevitable. There is only one alternative to getting older, and it definitely involves not getting laid. Dead people might look pretty, but old people FUCK. All the time. So much that there is an epidemic of venereal disease in nursing homes ... #barebackboomers. Anyway, the point is that changing the hair on your head is fine, but it's only a temporary fix. Changing the thoughts in your head might take a little more effort and perseverance, but the result will be much more valuable and enduring. Let me be clear: I am not saying you can't do both. I am just saying that one yields better long-term results. Either way, you're still going to have to touch up the roots every now and then, so get to it.