Gray hair

Informant is a graduate student studying Vocal Arts/Opera at USC.  She is originally from New York City and just recently moved to Los Angeles.

“If you pluck a gray hair, three will grow back in its place.”

The informant first heard this proverb in New York City and says that, while living there, she heard it a lot.  She shared this proverb when one of our mutual friends was complaining about her gray hairs and wondering whether she should pull them out or not.  After sharing this proverb, several other of our friends (from various parts of the country) chimed in saying that it was bad to pull out gray hairs.  Perhaps this proverb has turned into a folk belief or vice versa.  More information would be necessary to determine this.


This proverb could mean several things: 1. Embrace your grayness, growing old isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  2. If you worry about getting old, you are worrying about things you have no control over instead of living your life 3. A warning against vanity  4. (best interpretation, in my opinion) Worrying about gray hairs causes you stress, connecting this proverb to the folk belief that stress causes gray hairs, therefore worrying about (ie. plucking) your gray hairs will cause more gray hairs to grow