Obama Turning Gray


obama-gray-smallWell, that didn’t take long. Just 44 days into the job, and President Obama is going gray.
It happens to all of them, of course – Bill Clinton still had about half a head of brown hair when he took office but was a silver fox two years later, and George W. Bush went from salt and pepper to just salt in what seemed like a

blink of an eye.

But so soon? “I started noticing it toward the end of the campaign and leading up to inauguration,” says Deborah Willis, who, as co-author of “Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs,” pored through 5,000 photographs of the first head over the last year.Mr. Obama’s graying is still of the flecked variety, and appears to wax and wane depending on when he gets his hair cut, which he does about every two weeks. His barber, who goes by only one name, Zariff, takes umbrage with bloggers who alternately claim Mr. Obama, 47, is dyeing his hair gray (to appear more distinguished) or dyeing it black (to appear younger). “I can tell you that his hair is 100 percent natural,” Zariff said. “He wouldn’t get it colored.”

obama-gray1And for all of his 16 years giving Obama his “quo vadis” haircut – black parlance from the 1960s for close-cut locks – Zariff said he is not about to start ribbing Mr. Obama. “We do not tease about the gray at all,” he said.

For a guy who prides himself on projecting a stress-free demeanor, the changes above his temples are speckled evidence that perhaps the psychological and physical strains of the job – never mind the long process of winning it – are in fact taking something of a toll. (Experts say stress can contribute to whitening locks.)

Obama seems to have noticed it at least as far back as last summer. “I’ve been running for president for about 19 months now,” he told supporters at a campaign event in Virginia in August. “Folks are noticing that I’ve got a lot more gray hair now than when I started.”

But with the economy struggling, two wars raging and countless other pressures facing him, the president is very likely to see additional signs of wear and tear in the mirror each morning.

“Presidents age two years for every year that they’re in office,” said Dr. Michael F. Roizen, co-founder of RealAge, a Web site that tells you how much older your body really is because of all that smoking and drinking you have been doing.

Rapidly lightening locks are just one sign that the job is getting to America’s presidents. Many of them (Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt) also developed hypertension. Mr. Clinton had to have heart surgery after leaving office.

Obama’s aides have not been giving him any grief. But since he has what is probably the most photographed hair in the world right now, noted authorities in coping with his condition are freely offering their advice.

{NY Times/Elisha Ferber-Matzav.com Newscenter}


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