Dawn French, what are you doing? Where’s the glossy bob we all know and love?

So you are going grey — aren’t we all? Why do so many women believe that to turn white they must shave off their hair and do the Annie Lennox crop.

Admittedly, Annie looks fabulous, but most of us just can’t pull it off without looking drab. I tried it while my hair was still being dyed blonde and it looked terrible. Fat cheeks just don’t yell chic on me.

Instead, I decided to let it all hang over my back from now. I know it’s supposed to be a big no-no for older women to have long hair. Mutton dressed as lamb is a common description. But that’s because of outdated perceptions about how we age.

Marion McGilvary (pictured), who hasn't snipped her hair in nearly two years, says there is no rule that says 'thou shalt have short hair at 60'

Marion McGilvary, (pictured), who hasn’t snipped hair in nearly 2 years, says that there is no rule saying ‘thou must have short hair at 60’.

These days, surely we can do what we jolly well like — there’s no rule that says ‘thou shalt have short hair at 60’.

Last week was the first time I’ve been to a hairdresser since the Christmas before the pandemic. I haven’t had it snipped, blow-dried, tonged, straightened or highlighted in nearly two years.

Some days, I confess, I didn’t even brush it. I put it in a scrunchie, and forgot all about it. Ok, there were deep moisturising treatments.

I don’t have the time to use all the other unguents or goos that hairdressers love. To be honest, I didn’t even wash it that often. It was never washed more than once per week. Yet, it’s here, below the bra strap, for my 20th birthday and it looks better than it has in years (possibly ever).

Although it may seem like my hair is a result of lazyness, it is actually the result of a carefully planned plan to grow my hair.

I’ve always seen hair as a bit of a plaything. You can’t miraculously get rid of your cankles or minimise your bust when it starts spilling out of your bra, but you can change your hair. I’ve had it every colour known to Clairol, most recently rinsed pink.

Strangely though — and difficult to believe for some people — I’ve been longing to have white hair since I was in my 20s. I’ve always loved that startlingly silver hair that older women have.

Dawn has chopped her glossy bob. Pictured: before

Dawn has embraced her natural hair colour (pictured)

Dawn French has chosen to embrace her natural hair colour and cut her glossy bob. Pictured right: Dawn before. Pictured left: Dawn after.

My grandmother was 35 years old when she died. I was 17 when I started to get my first grey hairs. It was an inevitable process to dye it.

Five years ago, however, I noticed that the colour that I had so carefully added faded much faster than a summer’s tan.

I’m going to go natural, I told my hairdresser. You’ll hate it, she said. But I didn’t. It was a great experience. It was a relief to not have to sit with burning battery acid on my head every four weeks. ‘You’re going to cut it, aren’t you?’ asked a friend, last year. I said, “Nope.” ‘But it will age you so, Marion. It’s so unflattering to have long grey hair.’ ‘I don’t care,’ I said, and it’s true, I don’t.

Who do I tend to my hair for, if not myself? I am an old lady. I am not ancient, but I am definitely not a young woman anymore, not even middle-aged. So, at 63 years old, who cares about what other people think of the Timotei?

I feel the happiest I’ve ever been, like I’ve grown into the person I always wanted to be.

My hair curls if it is left to its own devices. I wash it, comb and dry it. It looks great for a day. The next day, I look like I’ve been sleeping rough under a hedgerow.

Marion (pictured) said having long hair makes her feel young and carefree, although you may think it makes her look old or vain

Marion (pictured), said that her long hair makes her feel young, carefree, even though you might think it makes them look old or vain. 

If I brush it, it waves around my head in a blaze of static before falling into a style I call ‘woman who keeps hens’. This is no insult to the many glamorous women I know who keep hens, but I’m more Hans Christian Andersen than yummy earth mummy.

For most of the year, I wore it in two fat hairstyles. A dishevelled bun or Frida Kahlo-meets-Heidi was plaited around my neck. None of these made me look 60-something. But what a joy it is to not have the hassle of faffing about with it.

You may think I look old or vain but it makes you feel young and carefree.

I love the freedom of it, the fact that if I want to I can put it up and still manage to look elegant and ‘finished’ or let it ripple like Rapunzel all around me.

We don’t need to sleep soundly through the night, looking like the principal boy from a panto. You can still be bold and sassy. Dawn was well-known for her embrace of her curves. Why not her stunning glossy fringed crop?

For me, it’s a bonus to be able to put that fear of being judged aside. To me, I look great just the way that I am… and half my age at the back!