The evolutionary imperative selected dark hair without a single gray strand in it because gray hair subliminally signalled “old age.”
However, within an urban environment, gray hair could also translate as “money” and thus could appeal to the nurturing instincts of young females of child-bearing age.
Looking at the matter from Edward Wilson’s “Sociobiology” perspective, gray hair put the young females in a bind by broadcasting two conflicting signals simultaneously — “damaged genes” and “wealthy protector.”
These days, in this age of international terrorism, nuclear proliferation, outsourcing, downsizing, bird-flu and global warming, perhaps the “nurturing” aspect of gray hair is winning the subliminal argument.
Here is Taylor Hicks, the winner of the fifth round of American Idol contest, and his prematurely gray hair.
Did you know that a total of 60 million viewers voted for him? That also means 60 million votes for gray hair, hurray! It’s in for sure.
And then there’s Anderson Cooper of CNN, a very energetic and serious young (38yrs) professional with a “nurturing” signal.
There are a lot of brainy creative women who for quite some time showed up in public with prominent gray hair as well. Writer Susan Sontag, for example. Or the singer Emmylou Harris, 59. It did not hurt their career one tiny bit.