I find Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s streak of gray hair uncommonly arresting. A feathery-white swirl sprayed into place on one side of her otherwise deep-brunette mane, it’s a bit of hairstyling genius, illuminating her face while conveying gravitas.
Using gray hair as an adornment is the opposite of far-more-common practices such as getting highlights. Highlights are artificial—designed to simulate youth and leisure, to resemble the look of children’s hair turned golden by the sun. But gray streaks convey the absence of artifice, connoting realness and seriousness of purpose — the courage to show one’s age. To deploy them as embellishment is a contrarian move.