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An older woman smiling | Source: Freepic
An older woman smiling | Source: Freepic

For Our 30th Wedding Anniversary, My Husband Gifted Me a Hair Dye for My Silver Hair – I Decided to Teach Him a Lesson

Prenesa Naidoo
Jun 12, 2024
02:45 P.M.

Aging is a privilege not everyone gets to experience. That's what I always told myself when my hair started turning gray. At first, it was hard, and I battled with my insecurities, but as time went on and people began complimenting my salt-and-pepper hair, I grew to love it.

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Little did I know, my husband had other thoughts.

A smiling older woman | Source: Midjourney

A smiling older woman | Source: Midjourney

Our 30th wedding anniversary was around the corner, and I wanted to make it special because it was such a big milestone.

I got Deon a nice watch and reserved a table at our favorite restaurant. As I was getting ready for the evening, he watched me closely.

"What's that look for?" I asked, raising an eyebrow.

A woman doing her makeup in a mirror | Source: Midjourney

A woman doing her makeup in a mirror | Source: Midjourney

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"Nothing, Eve," he said, a mysterious smile playing on his lips. "You'll see at dinner. I have a surprise for you!"

"Oh, a surprise? I can't wait!" I replied, feeling a mix of excitement and curiosity.

In the past, Deon had given me wonderful gifts, so I could only assume that he would try and outdo himself for our anniversary.

Giftbags on a bed | Source: Midjourney

Giftbags on a bed | Source: Midjourney

But I could have laughed at how wrong I was.

We arrived at the restaurant, and everything was perfect. The soft jazz, the candles, and red roses in the middle of the table, it was all just the perfect setting for an important evening.

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"Let's order first," my husband said, smiling over the menu. "I'll do the steak, as usual. And you? The salmon?"

I nodded. We had gotten so comfortable with each other. Every action seemed effortless but, at the same time, felt like a well-rehearsed routine.

"Here you go," Deon said, handing me a little gift bag. "I thought you'd like it. And appreciate it."

A table setting at a restaurant | Source: Midjourney

A table setting at a restaurant | Source: Midjourney

There it was: a box of jet-black hair dye.

My stomach churned fiercely.

"What's this?" I asked, trying to keep calm and my voice steady.

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"It's hair dye, Eve," he said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "I thought you'd like it."

"Hair dye?" I echoed. "Because I have gray hair?"

"Yes, of course, it's for your gray hair," he said, sounding exasperated. "I thought you'd want to look younger."

I forced a smile, not wanting to ruin the evening.

An older woman holding a box of black dye | Source: Midjourney

An older woman holding a box of black dye | Source: Midjourney

"Thank you," I said quietly, placing the box back in the gift bag and letting it hang from the chair handle.

"What about my gift?" Deon asked excitedly, not taking note of how his actions had devastated me.

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Reluctantly, I pushed the watch box across the table. He snatched it up in an instant.

"Oh, Eve!" he exclaimed. "This is wonderful! My old one had done its time anyway."

A watch in a box | Source: Midjourney

A watch in a box | Source: Midjourney

"I'm glad you like it," I said curtly, not wanting to tell him that the underbelly of the watch had a message inscribed on it.

Happy 30th Anniversary, my darling.

The next few days, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I couldn't understand why my gray hair really bothered him. Especially because he had gray hair already. We were well into our sixties, and nobody expected us to look young.

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Unless maybe that's exactly what he wanted.

A smiling older couple | Source: Midjourney

A smiling older couple | Source: Midjourney

"So, you think that trying to look younger is going to make Deon regret the hair dye?" my best friend Susan asked me when we met for tea.

"Yes," I replied. "If he's ashamed of me now, just you wait."

"Oh, Eve," Susan laughed loudly. "I cannot wait to see what you do next."

The next day, I dyed my hair jet black. It felt strange seeing my reflection with such dark hair after so long.

A person getting their hair dyed | Source: Midjourney

A person getting their hair dyed | Source: Midjourney

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But it did remind me of my younger days.

And, of course, I didn't stop there.

I went shopping, taking Susan along with me. I bought clothes that made me look like I was trying to recapture my youth.

"Eve," Susan said when we were in a clothing store. "This is extreme, even for you."

Tight jeans, trendy tops, the works.

A trendy clothing store | Source: Freepik

A trendy clothing store | Source: Freepik

By the end of the day, I started to look like I was trying to be 20 again.

"So, now what?" Susan asked me.

"Now, I'm going to wear my new clothes to Deon's office tomorrow. I'll take him some lunch and he can see the person that he's trying to recreate."

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Her shopping bags | Source: Freepik

Her shopping bags | Source: Freepik

The next morning, my husband went to work as usual, seeing me in my newly dyed black hair but with the same old clothes that I always wore.

The surprise was going to come later.

I made Deon some pasta salad and put it away, ready to take it when I was ready to leave.

Then, I changed.

Pasta salad in a bowl | Source: Pexels

Pasta salad in a bowl | Source: Pexels

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"Okay, Eve," I said to myself in the mirror. "We're doing this."

"Hey, honey!" I said cheerfully, walking into his office with his lunch.

My husband looked me up and down and then over my shoulder, probably to see if any of his colleagues were watching.

"What happened to you?" he asked, his voice full of shock.

"Do you like it?" I twirled around. "I thought you wanted me to look younger."

"Uh, Eve. I did, but..." he stammered, looking embarrassed. "But maybe not like this."

The elderly woman wearing clothes for younger women | Source: Midjourney

The elderly woman wearing clothes for younger women | Source: Midjourney

"Oh, come on," I teased. "You wanted me to dye my hair. I thought I'd go all out."

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"It's just that... you look too... different," he said, struggling to find the right words.

"Different how?" I asked, my tone still light, but there was a sharp edge to it.

My husband sighed and rubbed his temples.

An older man sitting at a desk | Source: Midjourney

An older man sitting at a desk | Source: Midjourney

"You don't look like yourself. This is just too much."

"Is it?" I asked, wanting him to continue.

"I wanted you to feel better about yourself," he said, his voice rising in frustration. "Not... this."

"Well, I feel fantastic," I said, a smile plastered onto my face.

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"Look, darling," he said. "I've got meetings coming up. Let's put a pin in this."

The woman smiling | Source: Midjourney

The woman smiling | Source: Midjourney

I left Deon's office without a word and went home. I knew that I had embarrassed him, and that had been my intention all along.

That evening, my husband came home looking defeated.

"Can we talk, Eve?" he asked, his voice softer as he came into our bedroom.

"Of course," I said, sitting upright.

A woman sitting on her bed | Source: Midjourney

A woman sitting on her bed | Source: Midjourney

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"I didn't mean to upset you," he began. "I just thought that you'd like it. I see you looking at yourself in the mirror, and I thought that maybe you weren't happy with the gray hair."

"What?" I gasped.

"I was happy," I replied. "I am. It's just those grays became a part of me. They tell a story of our life together. And they've made me more comfortable in my own skin, Deon."

A close-up of an older woman looking sad | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of an older woman looking sad | Source: Midjourney

"I'm sorry," he said, looking down. "I didn't mean to change you."

"It's okay," I replied. "I forgive you. But you need to understand that I don't need to look younger to be happy. I love the way my hair is."

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"I understand," my husband said, rubbing my feet.

A person getting a foot massage | Source: Pexels

A person getting a foot massage | Source: Pexels

But still, instead of making me feel better, my husband's apology made me doubt myself even further.

One afternoon, while having coffee with Susan, I let her into my thoughts.

"I just don't get it," I said. "First, he wanted me to change, and then I did. And then Deon tells me that he just wants me to be happy? Then why don't I feel happy?"

Coffee and biscuits | Source: Unsplash

Coffee and biscuits | Source: Unsplash

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Susan reached across the table and squeezed my hand.

"Men can be so clueless sometimes. He probably thought that he was doing something nice," she said.

"Or maybe he's having a mid-life crisis," I said. "I don't understand Deon sometimes."

We went back and forth, talking about Deon and how one unconscious action had led me to think that what made me comfortable in my own skin, just wasn't good enough for him.

Two women talking | Source: Midjourney

Two women talking | Source: Midjourney

As the weeks went by, I found myself thinking more and more about our anniversary and the message behind the gift.

One evening, as we were sitting down for dinner, I decided that it was time for another conversation.

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"Can we talk about something?" I asked, setting my fork down.

"Sure," he said, looking up from the chicken on his plate. "What's on your mind, love?"

"I've been thinking a lot about our anniversary," I began. "And the gift you gave me."

A plate of food | Source: Pexels

A plate of food | Source: Pexels

His face fell. "I thought we were past that."

Deon picked up his glass of water and gulped it down quickly.

"We are," I said quickly. "But I need you to understand why it hurt me so much."

"Okay, I'm listening," he nodded.

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"It felt like you were telling me that I wasn't good enough, and that has really messed with my self-esteem. I am good enough. My hair is nothing to be ashamed of."

A glass of water on a table | Source: Midjourney

A glass of water on a table | Source: Midjourney

"I never meant it that way," he said, regret dripping from his voice. "I do accept you as you are."

"Then you need to understand that our gray hairs are a reminder of the fact that we're getting older. But the joy is that we're getting older together," I said.

Deon stood up to hug me after that. And as we embraced, I felt a sense of peace wash over me. We wouldn't stop the passage of time, irrespective of how much we wanted to. But we could face it together, with love and acceptance.

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A smiling older couple | Source: Midjourney

A smiling older couple | Source: Midjourney

What would you have done?

Here's another story for you |

Husband Made Me Dye My Hair and Dress the Way He Says – I Found a Photo of the Woman He Made Me Look like in His Drawer

A close-up of a young woman | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of a young woman | Source: Midjourney

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When Lily's husband, Garrett, starts giving her tips for changing her look, she takes all of them, thinking that a new start will be good for her. But as time goes on and Garrett has molded her into the perfect image, she finds a photo of the woman that Garrett has changed her into. When Lily discovers who the woman is, everything changes.

Read the full story here.

This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided “as is,” and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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