Silver foxes: Why going gray is sexy

The results are in. We asked users, “Ladies, is silver hair really sexy on guys?” and thousands said:

Gray hair is hot — 72%
Let’s admit up front that gray hair on men is distinguished-looking. On women, it’s just old. He’s a silver fox. She’s a crone. Oh, well, that’s why there’s Clairol.

The only thing better is when they’re bald — 12%
Let me just drop one name: Sean Connery. Or two: Patrick Stewart. Or three: Michael Jordan.

Silver’s a sign he’s passed his prime — 16%
These gals are certainly entitled to this opinion, but in my book, the real turn-off is the thinning pelt. The long retreat of the hairline above the eyebrows leaves a skinny peninsula marooned over the nose. Then come the desperate attempts at disguising it with the dreaded combover. At last, nothing remains but the semi-circular fringe above the collar.

Only an accident of genetics or a horrible brush with death turns a full head of hair gray while the owner is still young, such as Steve Martin or Anderson Cooper. In most people, it’s a sign of advancing years. Aging confers many benefits on men:
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1. They accumulate power and status in the form of money and positions of influence as they grow older
When you go on a date with a silver fox, there’s none of the dithering about that typifies a younger guy. He’s got a plan. He’ll pick you up. He may even open the door for you. If he’s of the old school, there’s no divvying up the check, either; it all goes on his platinum card. Once upon a time, a silver fox offered to send his airplane for me. Not every older guy has a fortune, but they are usually past the scrimping stage. Of course, you may have to make some allowances if he’s still paying alimony and child support.

2. They become wise in the ways of the world and women through personal experience
When you date an older gentleman, you reap the benefits of decades of female tutoring. All the women in his life who have preceded you — his mom, his girlfriends, and especially his first wife — have hopefully taught him what women want. Those women educated him in the finer points of how to dress, how to act, how to listen, how to appreciate you.

3. They know how to have fun, especially on dates
The silver-haired fox who’s going through a mid-life crisis typically drives a snazzy red sports car and throws around lots of money. However, he also makes a great traveling companion. He’s got decades of jokes to tell. And he’s an enthusiastic lover. If he’s already raised one family, chances are he may not want another. So if you don’t particularly care for kids, he’s a good choice for a mate.

4. They make good fathers (and stepfathers)
If you do want kids and he enthusiastically agrees, children from later marriages have certain advantages others do not. A dad going through his second childhood makes a great playmate. And he may pay a lot more attention to children of his later years than kids who came along while he was fully immersed in building his career.

Marcy Barack, a freelance writer in Maine, has contributed to The Globe, AARP, The Los Angeles Times and Happen magazine.

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