A new start after 60: ‘I had the most dishonest dark hair imaginable. So at 65 I shaved it all ‘| Women’s hair

For her first 65 years, Marsha Coupé had dark hair. She wore it in a blunt sideboy style with red lipstick. She was married to her looks, she says. Six weeks ago, she got a No. 1 shave. Afterwards, she looked at the floor of the salon in her hometown of Davis, California. When she saw the black locks scattered, she put her hands against her head. “I could not believe how good it felt. Like a baby’s head, ”she says, rubbing her scalp as she speaks. “Almost like you’re a baby just born.”

It was Coupé’s daughter, Antoinette, 48, who proposed the cut. She said, ‘Mom, hair is an accessory. Women make too big a deal. Every woman should shave her head at least once, ”says Coupé.

At first she disagreed. I said, ‘Not all women look good with shaved heads. I have a very flat head in the back. And she says, ‘No, Mom. It’s not about how you see with a shaved head. It’s about what happens to you when you shave your head. ‘”

Antoinette knew this from experience. She shaved her own head when she had a brain tumor removed three years ago. She has done it again since, of her choice, but she has mitochondrial disease and cannot dye her silvery hair. The fact that Coupé continued to dye hers made them both uneasy.

“We had a really good talk,” Coupé says. “I mock people who have [cosmetic] surgery. I like to have a built-in face. And my daughter said, ‘Oh yes, as long as you have no silver hair!’

“She called me on how contradictory it is. On the one hand, I want the face that shows my life; on the other I have the most dishonest hair imaginable. Dark, dark hair at 65. And that was a valid point. ”

Coupé hated the idea of ​​growing her color, so Antoinette circulated a date for her mother’s shave on the calendar.

Marsha Coupe
‘That’s life. It’s traps, right? ‘ Photo: Marsha Coupé

The two women already considered this phase of life as “throwing years”. “I think it started with my move back to the US in 2019,” says Coupé, a website designer. She was born and raised in the United States and had moved to Kent, England 16 years before to join her third husband, Richard, whom she calls her “big, big, big love”. She was still mourning Richard’s death as a result of cancer when the news of Antoinette’s illness came.

She sold her house and belongings. “I came back with 13 suitcases from my whole life. Seeing someone you love die is the most humiliating experience. And then see someone you love fighting … That’s OK. That’s life. It’s traps, right? She says with tears.

The pandemic has exacerbated the losses – and the gains. “It throws off the way we used to live and adapted to what we have now, which in some ways is a much smaller life, but in other ways a much richer life,” Coupé says. She and Antoinette live barely a mile apart and “have tried to create the outer life internally” between their homes.

Coupé was a young mother – Antoinette was born when she was 17. “When you are so young, you are really quite interdependent,” she says. She loved caring for Antoinette’s hair; shaving his own head must have felt like not only a sisterly act but also a maternal one. The new style has helped her “feel more free emotionally and mentally”. She plans to keep it short.

“We live in terrible times,” she says. But she hopes “to become more fearless with age. I would love to help people not be afraid. For this purpose, she is working on “a really fun activity book about dying”. She had that idea when Richard was sick.

“I look at my life as if I may have five, 10 years left,” she says. This sounds surprising. She’s not sick. But death has always felt close at hand, a legacy of growing up “with hell, fire and condemnation laid out from the pulpit”.

“I do not want to live to be a very old person. I want to encourage people I know and love to go for whatever it is that they have a great desire for – to be brave with life. ”

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