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2019 Camino Guides

Curiosity about age: white/ Grey hair?

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#1
Was reading Laurie’s comment about her white hair being an asset. Was wondering about others with white or grey hair?

When we walked from Pamplona to SdC from end of Feb. to beginning of April 2018 my sister who has mostly white hair with a touch of black (full bodied) at the age of 78 was continually asked by men of all ages (never a woman) how old she was? Now I recognize the weather was brutal, and there were not very many pilgrims, especially till we got to Sarria, so our ages were in contrast, but I am wondering if others have had a similar experience?
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#3
How interesting that you are asked by females only?
 

Charles Zammit

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances , St Jean Pied de Port - Finisterra May/ June 2017
Le Puy en Velay - Ales May 2018
#5
I had much the same peculiar experience , often asked my age and always by females . Personally I didn't mind at all ,at least it seems that I must look safe enough to ask . My hair could be described as ' Salt and pepper ' , it really didn't start to grey until 57 .
So I wonder what would occur if the situation was reversed , what would the Camino grapevine say about 'that grey haired dude asking lone females their age ':D
 
#7
I have had white hair since I was in my late 30s. No way was I going to spend the time and money to keep my hair colored with chemicals, so I let it go. Now, since I’ve been grey for so many years, when I see people I haven’t seen in ten or twenty years, there is no shock since they remember me that way anyway!

I’m sure I’ve told this story before, but once on the Primitivo, I arrived before the albergue opened. There were a couple of Spanish guy peregrinos, middle aged, already there waiting. I could tell they were talking about me, which always feels weird, but then one of the guys came over and asked if I would mind telling them how old I was. I have no problem with that, so I told them — it was around 64 or 65, I think. He said, oh, we thought you were much older. :p

I think that the curiosity is natural and I don’t mind it. I don’t remember an unusual interest on the camino, but I get the question more frequently there than at home. And it does have its benefits sometimes— this year when I walked a 43 or so stage from Córdoba, the man behind the counter when I arrived was so shocked when he stamped my credential that he cleaned up a special corner of his garage, and put sheets on a bed there, so I would have privacy and quiet. But I do admit to being a bit annoyed when riding the Madrid metro with my pack on and finding all these polite young-uns hopping up to give me a seat. Come on guys, I’ve just walked 1000 km!
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#10
When I was young my mother told me never to discuss age or weight with a lady, and I still do not all these years later. A bit of a surprise to read these instances of men who do, especially to total strangers. I would never do that.
I was also taught to offer your seat to a lady if no other seats are available. So peregrina2000 please give guys like me some slack when we do that. ;)
 
#11
I never ask anyone their age, whatever their hair colour! :eek::D
When I was young my mother told me never to discuss age or weight with a lady, and I still do not all these years later. A bit of a surprise to read these instances of men who do, especially to total strangers. I would never do that.
I was also taught to offer your seat to a lady if no other seats are available. So peregrina2000 please give guys like me some slack when we do that. ;)
Not intending to provoke, I’m curious. Why do you think it’s considered rude in some quarters to ask another his/her age? I’ve never really thought about that, but it seems that it must be because being old is in some way something to be ashamed or sorry about. I guess that is also why many people go to great lengths to cover up their age. I always have heard that in some Asian and Native American cultures, older people are revered, so I wonder if the questions about age are ok there.

My dad takes a little bus to a grocery store on a weekly basis and proudly carries the reusable bag we gave him which states in big letters: I’m 94, what’s your excuse? Maybe I’ll wear something like that on my next Camino (this last comment was thrown in just so no one complains about an off-Camino comment).
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#12
I let my hair go gray 8 years ago and love the freedom of not worrying about the roots needing touch ups. I don't care if it makes me look older..."it is what it is". Here's a photo from a year ago of me with my two sisters. I'm in the middle. ;)
Screenshot_2018-09-04-07-13-41.jpg
 
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
#13
Laurie, I also receive from time to time offers to sit down in metro de Madrid because my grey hair despite i am in shape. In July I did Porriño - Pontevedra (36 kms) in 7h:45m.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#14
If anyone I meet looks "older" I never ask their age as many people (women especially) don't like being asked, but I have no problem asking if I know for certain they are young, cuz they have no qualms about telling!
 

JCLima

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Português (Out/2016)
#15
I like to ask people their age (in fact usually I ask their DOB) just to know more or less what generation they are part of. Not to make preconceptions of who they are but to place them in History's timeline. That way I'll able to know if they were alive (or how old they were) when X, Y or Z happened.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), Primitivo(13), Norte(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18)
#18
I have been asked my age many times on the Camino. Most of the time by Younger Peregrino's both male and female. Some, I think, are surprised that older Peregrino's can walk 30, 40 or more kilometers daily. White/gray hair is just identified as older and other stereotypes attached to aging (both positive and negative}.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#19
I let my hair go gray 8 years ago and love the freedom of not worrying about the roots needing touch ups. I don't care if it makes me look older..."it is what it is". Here's a photo from a year ago of me with my two sisters. I'm in the middle. ;)
View attachment 45989
three lovely sisters...close resemblance.
 

oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
#20
Whether or not asking age is appropriate is a cultural issue; in my part of Canada, such a question would be considered too personal. Travelling in other countries, I found it is viewed otherwise elsewhere, and I have several times been asked this question in Spain. In consequence I have had to learn a certain range of numbers in Castellano.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013....2014....2015.......2017...2018
#21
Not intending to provoke, I’m curious. Why do you think it’s considered rude in some quarters to ask another his/her age? I’ve never really thought about that, but it seems that it must be because being old is in some way something to be ashamed or sorry about. I guess that is also why many people go to great lengths to cover up their age. I always have heard that in some Asian and Native American cultures, older people are revered, so I wonder if the questions about age are ok there.

My dad takes a little bus to a grocery store on a weekly basis and proudly carries the reusable bag we gave him which states in big letters: I’m 94, what’s your excuse? Maybe I’ll wear something like that on my next Camino (this last comment was thrown in just so no one complains about an off-Camino comment).
're your dad's shopping bag,I went on Camino day's after my 70th birthday,and my youngest grandchildren gave me a badge to wear,stating I must wear it at all times whilst on Camino.The badge stated I was70 years young and proud of it.They said "it would show people that"I WAS A VERY OLD MAN AND THEY WOULD RESPECT ME ".It raised a lot of smiles (especially when I told the story behnd it)and even requests for photos of it.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#22
Gray hair is trending here in the US; teenagers are even dying their hair gray. (I know, it's obviously fake because it's uniform, rather than a mix of salt and pepper.) American women tend to leave off the haircolor when they leave the workforce. Also quite short hair is also trending, at least out here on the West Coast.

Ask someone's age? Mercy! That's so rude, I don't even ask my best friends.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
#25
Apart from one very distinguished looking gentleman with whom we conversed while walking into Burgos, who had dark salt and pepper hair, I don't recall seeing any golden agers in Spain with grey hair; they all seem to keep their hair black. Perhaps that is what sparks the curiosity of asking the age of grey haired people. I myself determined at age 15 that I would never colour my hair (that's obviously a non-camino story) and I went grey relatively early. I don't recall being asked my age while on camino.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#26
I walked for a bit with two much younger women, but I *felt* like we were peers. So I was surprised when others sometimes assumed I was their mother. One of the girls admired the two grey streaks leading from my temples on either side because she said it made me look like a super hero.
 
Camino(s) past & future
This upcoming May 31st through July 1st approximately.
#27
Was reading Laurie’s comment about her white hair being an asset. Was wondering about others with white or grey hair?

When we walked from Pamplona to SdC from end of Feb. to beginning of April 2018 my sister who has mostly white hair with a touch of black (full bodied) at the age of 78 was continually asked by men of all ages (never a woman) how old she was? Now I recognize the weather was brutal, and there were not very many pilgrims, especially till we got to Sarria, so our ages were in contrast, but I am wondering if others have had a similar experience?
I was also 78 and grey haired when I walked earlier this year. So long as people don’t say “You look good” and then add FOR YOUR AGE! I really don’t mind folks asking. I’m often tempted to say that I am 90 and see what the response might be
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF (SJPdP to Santiago) March 15, 2018
#28
I don't recall anyone asking my husbands and my ages as on the Camino it did not matter as we were accepted for who we were and not the colour of our hair. The mix up of peoples ages and life experiences were moot, we walked with people we liked, got to know, walked the same speed, wanted to chat for a bit and for so many more reasons. While we were walking the ages were early teens to over 80, everyone has a story so just enjoy them.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#30
I got thoroughly sick of men on the camino, mostly Spanish, but one determined Korean, asking me my age because I have white hair. I don't answer any more. To have a complete stranger come up to me and ask me, as he is walking past, how old I am, is to me an almost unthinkable level of rudeness. On the other hand, I don't mind at all being offered a seat on public transit, even after I have walked 1,000 km.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#31
My hair is pretty white. In my culture, it was considered rude to comment on age. What s my culture now? I have just listened to a sad tale of a broken marriage where there are at least three sets of mother/father/siblings, and the pain is unspeakable. I do not care about culture or tradition in this context. My hair is pretty white, I am almost 71 years old: So long as I can keep trying to pay attention to you, as in the person I meet on my way, that is enough. Grey or white dyed or not - and there are some fabulous colours available now - buen camino!
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#32
Not intending to provoke, I’m curious. Why do you think it’s considered rude in some quarters to ask another his/her age?
Just the way I was raised and something I would never do, especially with someone I did not know. I just find it rude, and it was taught to me to be a rude thing to do. Someone I know, or get to know and have extended conversations with or we become friends, would I discuss age then? Sure, of course.
I was raised in the manner of "yes ma'am/sir, no ma'am/sir", open doors for a lady, or give up your seat. I am middle aged now and still do all of the above.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#33
If I open a door and a man is walking out, I am perfectly happy letting the man come out first. If he wishes to let me come, that is OK too. If a man wants to give me his seat on a subway, I take it. I have given up my seat many a time for another senior or someone who is physically limited including men.

We too have had the experience of folks from other cultures simply asking how old we were as they past. My sister, being proud of her age simply tells them. I, on the other hand, do not tell it unless It is in the context of an ongoing conversation. When someone just walks by and asks, I ask them with a smile, why they want to know? That usually ends the conversation.
 

Lmsundaze

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2016), CP (2017)
#35
A few times on the Camino people asked my age, mostly young people. I didn't mind telling them, I think they were impressed that the Camino is something old people can still do. I remember, many years ago, my husband and I hiking up Mount LeCompte in Great Smoky Mountains National Park -- there was bear activity on the trail and two ladies aged 62 and 64 hiked with us. I remember being so impressed that people so old could hike. Now I am 10 years older than they were and still going strong. I'm grateful that I am alive and able to walk and hike.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#36
I always have heard that in some Asian and Native American cultures, older people are revered, so I wonder if the questions about age are ok there.
Very true. I don't know about the rest of Asia, but in Burma it's something people ask about as soon as they meet you, in order to determine what language to use - how to refer to oneself and the other person depends on relative age and status.
o have a complete stranger come up to me and ask me, as he is walking past, how old I am, is to me an almost unthinkable level of rudeness.
;)Then don't go to Burma, Albertagirl. Not only will you be asked your age by everyone, if you are looking good (i.e., healthy), people will say, "Oh, you look so fat!":eek:
And it's a complement.:)
This is a bit off topic, but what is rude in one culture may be polite in another. And on the Camino there are so many nationalities represented. So it probably pays to give people the benefit of the doubt if they are from another culture and they seem to be rude. Who knows how we appear to them.:eek:;)
(And, I've rarely been asked my age on the Camino - by Asian pilgrims. Mostly I get other questions.)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#37
I prefer not to answer personal questions and I would certainly not ask them. In particular, a personal question asked without even a short conversation is, in my culture, not done, or rarely done, and only by persons who are indifferent to politeness when they wish to be curious. I have found, on the camino, that when I answered such questions the results were never comfortable for me. It seemed as if I was being regarded as a freak because I was still mobile at my advanced age. On my next camino, I am considering wearing a sign saying, "Don't ask my age. I don't tell." On the other hand, I am willing to tell my age on this forum as encouragement to persons who are reluctant to go on camino because they feel they are too old. For me that is because we are members of a community which shares information to encourage one another.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#38
My mother was so vain, that she scratched off her year of birth on her driver's license. She got stopped by a police officer in traffic, who told her it was illegal to deface your license. He then asked her what year she was born and she refused to tell him, so I had to bail her out of jail. That was my mom :D!

And, VN, I lived in Jamaica for a few years and there, too, it was considered a compliment to say to somebody, "You're looking fat!"
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#39
Not intending to provoke, I’m curious. Why do you think it’s considered rude in some quarters to ask another his/her age? I’ve never really thought about that, but it seems that it must be because being old is in some way something to be ashamed or sorry about. I guess that is also why many people go to great lengths to cover up their age. I always have heard that in some Asian and Native American cultures, older people are revered, so I wonder if the questions about age are ok there.
I sooo agree with you! I grew up in the same culture that tends to view such questions as rude. However, many aspects of that culture have changed and many stereotypes and barriers been reduced. I am happy to support many of those changes, such as the focus on youthful appearance especially for women. I will sometimes ask people their age and I am always proud to answer the question.

However, @Albertagirl does make a good point that personal questions of any sort should be appropriate to the context, which includes some getting-acquainted conversation, and also they should be framed in a way that recognizes the different possible attitudes, and allows people to easily avoid answering if they prefer not to.
 
#40
My mother was so vain, that she scratched off her year of birth on her driver's license. She got stopped by a police officer in traffic, who told her it was illegal to deface your license. He then asked her what year she was born and she refused to tell him, so I had to bail her out of jail. That was my mom :D!
But why is it "vain" to hide your age? That again implies that there is something wrong with age, doesn't it?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#42
But why is it "vain" to hide your age? That again implies that there is something wrong with age, doesn't it?
Yes it does imply there is something wrong with age, especially in the USA where every aging actress and model eventually does so much "work" to look youthful, they eventually look like plastic dolls. And for women especially, we must be confident in ourselves as we age, because the implication from the media is that we are pretty much dried up and have little value.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#43
Men get distinguished, women get old...not really fair.
When I happen to watch a movie filmed in the UK or Ireland, many of the older actresses have lines and wrinkles and look like "real" people for the age they are portraying. It's actually refreshing to see.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#44
Yes it does imply there is something wrong with age, especially in the USA where every aging actress and model eventually does so much "work" to look youthful, they eventually look like plastic dolls. And for women especially, if we are not confident in ourselves as we age, the implication from the media is that we are pretty much dried up and have little value.
That is why I do my little bit to insist that I don't mind having recently turned 70. I honestly am happy to be past the competitions of youth appearance. My only dissatisfaction is the awareness that I am approaching a time when my health and fitness are very likely to decline.
 
#46
At 81 and 75 Wes and I enjoyed some wonderful interactions with people on the Caminos who discovered our ages -- the butcher who insisted on giving us a chorizo ("no pay!, no pay!') and the waitress who gave us a whole tortilla espanol to take with us (wrapped up in aluminum foil), and the folks from Sevilla who insisted on giving Wes a beer every night that we shared albergues with them. I had no problem with the hospitalera/os who insisted on giving us lower bunk beds. I guess in "my culture" sharing your age brings out wonderful generosity from peregrinos which I find delightful and welcome. Our gray hair (and Wes' white beard) are part of who we are now and I'm enjoying it!
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#48
My son lived in South Korea for a couple of years, and told me that one of the first things people want to know about you is your age. It's because they need to know how they should address you and speak to you.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#49
In South Korea I was treated like royalty and took me a while to understand why...
I was the mother of a small boy! (Who was clinging to me for dear life!).
My daughter on the other hand was totally ignored (only 2 yrs older than her brother) and she didn’t like it!
They never asked my age though :D (I was young then :rolleyes:)
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#50
Yes it does imply there is something wrong with age, especially in the USA where every aging actress and model eventually does so much "work" to look youthful, they eventually look like plastic dolls. And for women especially, we must be confident in ourselves as we age, because the implication from the media is that we are pretty much dried up and have little value.
In my mom's case, I called it vanity that she cared so much about people knowing what her age was.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#51
Love your new avatar! :cool:

About age.... I had been walking for a while with a pilgrim friend - t’was in Azofra I think - and I entrusted him with my passport to get a stamp....He saw my age and freaked out ‘How OLD?????’
I replied he had very little chance to live to my age if he carried on about it that way :D
We’re still friends btw but...just! ;)
 

lissie45

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk Frances 2019
#52
I got thoroughly sick of men on the camino, mostly Spanish, but one determined Korean, asking me my age because I have white hair. I don't answer any more. To have a complete stranger come up to me and ask me, as he is walking past, how old I am, is to me an almost unthinkable level of rudeness. On the other hand, I don't mind at all being offered a seat on public transit, even after I have walked 1,000 km.
It’s not rude it’s curiosity- Asians aren’t intrigued by older travellers and I’m often. Asked in Asia even though we both dye our hair and are 56/66
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#53
Well, I see now that many have had a similar experience. So it was not only the paucity of pilgrims and the extremely cold and miserable weather that peaked masculine curiosity. BTW Save one, none of the inquirers was over 35.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#54
Love your new avatar! :cool:

About age.... I had been walking for a while with a pilgrim friend - t’was in Azofra I think - and I entrusted him with my passport to get a stamp....He saw my age and freaked out ‘How OLD?????’
I replied he had very little chance to live to my age if he carried on about it that way :D
We’re still friends btw but...just! ;)
What a great response, Domigee!
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#55
There's an apocryphal story about the film star Cary Grant which goes like this:

A journalist was about to file a story on the famous actor but wanted to check some facts including Grant's real age so he sent a cable (telegram) to Grant's agent:

"HOW OLD CARY GRANT QUERY"

A bit terse but you paid by the word in those days.

Grant got to hear about it and sent back:

"OLD CARY GRANT FINE STOP HOW YOU QUERY"

Grant later said the story wasn't true but he wished it was.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#58
And, while we're talking telegrams (which we weren't) a journalist from TIME magazine, a certain Harry Ree, was trying to track down U Thant the then Secretary General of the UN. He asked his informants to respond to him at his hotel where he was staying in Suite R.

Eventual a reply came addressed to him and stating:

R SUITE MR REE OF LIFE I FOUND U

:)

(Credit to the late Frank Muir, Wordsmith)

Ah, sweet mystery of life, I've found you . . . .
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
#59
Having grey hair does have its advantages. Without my being asked, I've automatically been charged the senior rate when paying for movies and the like, usually when the cashier was young and thought anyone with grey hair must be old.
Also, there was the time that I got to the ticket booth and could not remember the name of the movie I had gone to see ...... no question, senior rate!
And the time that the cashier, instead of giving me my ticket, just kept staring at me. Turned out that instead of handing her my credit card, I had given her my library card ...... again no question, senior rate!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#61
And, while we're talking telegrams (which we weren't) a journalist from TIME magazine, a certain Harry Ree, was trying to track down U Thant the then Secretary General of the UN. He asked his informants to respond to him at his hotel where he was staying in Suite R.

Eventual a reply came addressed to him and stating:

R SUITE MR REE OF LIFE I FOUND U

:)

(Credit to the late Frank Muir, Wordsmith)

Ah, sweet mystery of life, I've found you . . . .
Permission taken to add another telegram story. The granny in the story had grey/white hair!
Granny was dying, but her sons and daughters had to get back to work in other cities. The sibling in the home place was asked to send a telegram when granny did die. Duly arrived the telegram, saying: Granny passed away today. Aberdeen 2, Clydebank 1 - to use up the word allowance...
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#62
The beard is the give-away, even when the (remaining) hair is hidden under the hat. Been grey, or distinguished as I prefer, for a long time now. It was working for government did it gov'.
Its never bothered me, and like @Icacos I've found the odd advantage. Just never tell a policeman he looks young enough to be spanked... Even grey-hair and a limp didn't help with that situation o_O
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#67
The grey hair and age thing hasn't been a problem for me. Peg says my hair is blonder than Matt Damien's. At work a few years back there were three of us in the break room discussing our impending retirements. Our supervisor came in and one of my coworkers asked him to say how old I was. He was way off. I had to show him my driver's licence and then he said "You're as old as my father! If I had known that I wouldn't have worked you so hard." Damn; if I knew that he wouldn't have worked me so hard.

I've got to say though that I now have a beard with awfully white chin hairs so age guesses are going to be higher now.
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven Compostelas in Three years and counting......
#68
Asking about peoples ages.

If you have ever been or stayed at La Famalier 'The Family' (also called One World Family) in Finisterre then you probably know its a bit odd. Nice, but odd.

So I walked in for a pint with a chap from my albergue who was older than me. Behind the bar a very young 20 something, very pretty peregina from some old eastern bloc country (I forget, Im old), asked him how old he was. 75 he said. Wow she said. She turned to me and asked me my age. 52 I said. Yes but you look it she replied. Then told the old guy she was sleeping with him tonight. He almost dropped his beer. He thought she was joking, she wasn't. We both did a runner.

Nice place though
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#69
Hah, I've acted my age for years. Trouble is the age I'm acting is mid-twenties :p
I know. We get older, but looking outward from our own minds we really don't change all that much from when we were younger, at least I don't think I have.
Too bad when I WAS young, I paid very little attention to older folks, assuming we'd have nothing much to talk about. Walking the Camino really makes you see we can enjoy the company of all ages, young and old.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#72
Having grey hair does have its advantages. Without my being asked, I've automatically been charged the senior rate when paying for movies and the like, usually when the cashier was young and thought anyone with grey hair must be old.
Also, there was the time that I got to the ticket booth and could not remember the name of the movie I had gone to see ...... no question, senior rate!
And the time that the cashier, instead of giving me my ticket, just kept staring at me. Turned out that instead of handing her my credit card, I had given her my library card ...... again no question, senior rate!
When buying alcohol at the local supermarket I always insist the cashier asks me if I'm over 25 as a matter of principle.
One sweet young thing smiled and asked if I could prove it. LOVE that girl! ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#74
Not intending to provoke, I’m curious. Why do you think it’s considered rude in some quarters to ask another his/her age? I’ve never really thought about that, but it seems that it must be because being old is in some way something to be ashamed or sorry about. I guess that is also why many people go to great lengths to cover up their age. I always have heard that in some Asian and Native American cultures, older people are revered, so I wonder if the questions about age are ok there.

My dad takes a little bus to a grocery store on a weekly basis and proudly carries the reusable bag we gave him which states in big letters: I’m 94, what’s your excuse? Maybe I’ll wear something like that on my next Camino (this last comment was thrown in just so no one complains about an off-Camino comment).
Hola @ Laurie I always enjoy (a bit stronger word than "like") your posts.
I agree with you about the politeness of asking or not asking a woman her age. But given that we are talking about the camino the usual rules don't apply (imho). I have been fortunate to still have reasonable pepper over salt even at the end of my 7th decade, however my nephew now mid-30's has had similar genes to you (must have inherited from his mother??) and is now almost as grey is I.
As for being offered a seat on the train/metro - lap it up!! (its not something we still see all that regularly mores the pity -again imho). Cheers
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#75
Not intending to provoke, I’m curious. Why do you think it’s considered rude in some quarters to ask another his/her age? I’ve never really thought about that, but it seems that it must be because being old is in some way something to be ashamed or sorry about. I guess that is also why many people go to great lengths to cover up their age. I always have heard that in some Asian and Native American cultures, older people are revered, so I wonder if the questions about age are ok there.
@peregrina2000
In my experience, those men who were asking my age on camino seemed to regard me as some sort of freak: an old person is, from this point of view, not able to walk long distances carrying a pack, to be independent and competent. There seemed to be something there also of what they expected of, or did not expect from, a woman. That is why I was offended by the questions; refusing to answer is for me my statement that I will not accept the limitations which others place on me because of age or gender. I am a woman of whatever age and I do what I choose to do.
 
#77
I have had white hair since I was in my late 30s. ........ Now, since I’ve been grey for so many years, when I see people I haven’t seen in ten or twenty years, there is no shock since they remember me that way anyway!!
Having met you I cannot understand how since you didn't have white hair until your late 30s they can have known you for 20 years! ;-)
 
Camino(s) past & future
I plan to leave South Africa on 15 September and return on 14 October 2018.
#78
Was reading Laurie’s comment about her white hair being an asset. Was wondering about others with white or grey hair?

When we walked from Pamplona to SdC from end of Feb. to beginning of April 2018 my sister who has mostly white hair with a touch of black (full bodied) at the age of 78 was continually asked by men of all ages (never a woman) how old she was? Now I recognize the weather was brutal, and there were not very many pilgrims, especially till we got to Sarria, so our ages were in contrast, but I am wondering if others have had a similar experience?
I am snow white grey and 77 years old. I start walking in 2 weeks time. I fail to understand why the colour of hair should be of interest. I would not respond at all!
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#79
My two or three cents worth:

Age is a unit of measurement to gauge our relative success at remaining vertical and moving forward in the great and mysterious game of life. The number, high or low, is neither good nor bad. It is simply a unit of measurement.

I consider myself like a finely engineered Italian or German automobile, albeit with certain manufacturing oddities or defects. The number on the odometer is a relative measurement of age and use. I try to take care of myself and receive regular check-ups, etc. So, using the car metaphor, I am a classic...heading to be an antique, but still drivable...;)

The debate insofar as this thread is concerned seems to be about the disconnect between hair color and apparent physical condition. It is very common on the Camino, to see grey or white haired pilgrims who are in remarkable physical condition, FOR THEIR APPARENT SENIOR STATURE. Clearly, this is one reason the Camino works for them...

In many cultures, more senior, grey or white haired people GENERALLY are sedate and infirm folks who are waiting to be called to their eternal reward. Whereas in North America and Northern Europe, seniors remain very active well into their light haired years, this is not totally the case farther south. Again this is a general statement based on observations.

Don't believe me, well, how do YOU react when you meet some older person in Spain, Portugal, Italy or France, like a white-haired woman dressed in a long black dress, or bristle-bearded scruffily dressed, bowed over man with a cane, who turns out to be younger than you? Tell me you have never compared yourself to someone like this and thanked all the gods and your lucky stars that you took care of your health and physical well-being? Wanna bet that doing the Camino factored into your recipe for longevity...?

I suspect that is what this impertinent or inappropriate questioning by complete strangers is all about. I think the person asking is confused, curious and amazed with the results they frequently receive. Your evident condition and behavior simply does not compute as compared to their cultural / societal context. It is like two teenagers tittering back and forth when viewing something saying "no way...way...no way...!"

When I am asked, and I am, I usually tell them the straight out truth...65 (and counting). Most folks are surprised. I am told I do not "look" that old." Well, let me tell you, 10 days after a recent surgery, shortly after returning from my six-weeks in Spain at the end of August, I certainly feel at least that old.

However, in general, I do not feel THAT age, whatever that is supposed to mean. I certainly try not to think and act "that old" (again whatever that means).

Mostly, when asked, I simply tell folks that "I am old enough to know better, but young enough not to care...o_O"

Hope this helps.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
C. Francés April 06, C. Fisterre May 06, C. Frances Oct 17, C. Portuguese Oct 18, C. Inglese Nov 18
#80
I let my hair go gray 8 years ago and love the freedom of not worrying about the roots needing touch ups. I don't care if it makes me look older..."it is what it is". Here's a photo from a year ago of me with my two sisters. I'm in the middle. ;)
View attachment 45989
It looks lovely and natural. I think coloured hair usually looks unnatural and doesn't match skin tone...
 

Mick McQueen

https://www.facebook.com/groups/
Camino(s) past & future
I am escorting the Roll of Honour (Afghanistan) on Camino France on 20 May from SJPDP
The Roll of Honour details the 41 young Australians who died on Active Service in Afghanistan. In the centenary of the ANZAC’s, the Roll of Honour will be escorted to 41 prominent places and events around the World, laying 41 Poppies at each location.
#81
Was reading Laurie’s comment about her white hair being an asset. Was wondering about others with white or grey hair?

When we walked from Pamplona to SdC from end of Feb. to beginning of April 2018 my sister who has mostly white hair with a touch of black (full bodied) at the age of 78 was continually asked by men of all ages (never a woman) how old she was? Now I recognize the weather was brutal, and there were not very many pilgrims, especially till we got to Sarria, so our ages were in contrast, but I am wondering if others have had a similar experience?
Must be a short news week
 
Camino(s) past & future
First timer, leaving April 3rd from SJPDP
#82
Hah, I've acted my age for years. Trouble is the age I'm acting is mid-twenties :p
Exactly! Act the age you feel. I started at SJPP in April and with my white beard and not much hair, I felt like a minority for a while,,, except I enjoyed the long mileage days, partying and dancing at night! I had a blast! After Sahagun, those with dark hair started becoming lower percentage. By the time I hit Sarria, it looked like visiting my grandmother at the nursing home. Hair color doesn't matter, age is just a state of mind We're all at least young enough to enjoy the trip! And I confess, I'm 60 by the calendar.
 

enerol

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013,2014,2015,2016, 2018
#83
Was reading Laurie’s comment about her white hair being an asset. Was wondering about others with white or grey hair?

When we walked from Pamplona to SdC from end of Feb. to beginning of April 2018 my sister who has mostly white hair with a touch of black (full bodied) at the age of 78 was continually asked by men of all ages (never a woman) how old she was? Now I recognize the weather was brutal, and there were not very many pilgrims, especially till we got to Sarria, so our ages were in contrast, but I am wondering if others have had a similar experience?


When in a small village grocery store I was approached by two elderly women who asked, “ how old are you?” I replied, “84 anos.” They said, “ My God, you’re old. Go home , sit down and rest.” We all laughed. One of the highlights of my 3rd Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2017
#85
In 2017, I was 68 walking my first Camino. I am a female, not unattractive, very tall (6feet) and fairly slim. Walking along the meseta, a man somewhere near my age catches up with me and in a thick German accent asks if I am a man or a woman. Taken aback, I reply that I am a woman. He then asks if I am married. Yes, for 42 years. Well, is your husband here? I say no, I’m walking with friends. He says that he is walking the Camino to find a good woman to take care of him. Oh, I replied. He continued to converse for a while and then walked on. We saw him frequently after that and all my friends called him ‘my boyfriend.’ So if you think asking about your age is offensive...
 

Jzijzo

Quest 2019
Camino(s) past & future
June (2019)
#86
I have had white hair since I was in my late 30s. No way was I going to spend the time and money to keep my hair colored with chemicals, so I let it go. Now, since I’ve been grey for so many years, when I see people I haven’t seen in ten or twenty years, there is no shock since they remember me that way anyway!

I’m sure I’ve told this story before, but once on the Primitivo, I arrived before the albergue opened. There were a couple of Spanish guy peregrinos, middle aged, already there waiting. I could tell they were talking about me, which always feels weird, but then one of the guys came over and asked if I would mind telling them how old I was. I have no problem with that, so I told them — it was around 64 or 65, I think. He said, oh, we thought you were much older. :p

I think that the curiosity is natural and I don’t mind it. I don’t remember an unusual interest on the camino, but I get the question more frequently there than at home. And it does have its benefits sometimes— this year when I walked a 43 or so stage from Córdoba, the man behind the counter when I arrived was so shocked when he stamped my credential that he cleaned up a special corner of his garage, and put sheets on a bed there, so I would have privacy and quiet. But I do admit to being a bit annoyed when riding the Madrid metro with my pack on and finding all these polite young-uns hopping up to give me a seat. Come on guys, I’ve just walked 1000 km!
But it's good to know how kind and considerate people still are.
 
#89
Today's Chicago Tribune had a piece that reminded me of this thread.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-biz-gray-hair-rebellion-20180830-story.html

Here's one kind of provocative statement from the article about this issue, that is a bit more extreme than what I think, but there are kernels.

Anti-ageism activist Ashton Applewhite wrote that one problem with trying to pass for younger is that it’s like a gay person trying to pass for straight — it’s based in shame over something that is not shameful.

Buen camino, Laurie
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#90
Here's one kind of provocative statement from the article about this issue, that is a bit more extreme than what I think, but there are kernels.

Anti-ageism activist Ashton Applewhite wrote that one problem with trying to pass for younger is that it’s like a gay person trying to pass for straight — it’s based in shame over something that is not shameful.
Or trying to pass for younger could be one trying to have the world see the inner person.
 

CdnDreamer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2015 & 2018) San Salvador (2018)
#91
I went to a Spanish school in Malaga before my last camino, and the Spanish teacher mentioned that it is not rude to ask any questions in Spain. She mentioned that a restaurant waiter may ask you your age, how many brothers and sisters you have, where you were born, what school you went to etc before asking what you want to eat. They are just open about their lives, even to complete strangers. The idea of not asking someone's age, or their religion because it is rude was foreign to her. So we probably appear to be rude when we don't answer their direct questions about our lives and our age!
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
#92
I learned a lesson from my Mama when I was young, she said 'Keep your mouth and mind your own business'. My hair is white, I saw a picture of myself when I was younger, I had forgotten I had at one time red hair over 45 years ago. It helps build my ego when younger women flirt with me until they find out I am closer to 70. Then it is "see you around gramps". ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
(2019: Planning to return!)
#94
Today's Chicago Tribune had a piece that reminded me of this thread.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-biz-gray-hair-rebellion-20180830-story.html

Here's one kind of provocative statement from the article about this issue, that is a bit more extreme than what I think, but there are kernels.

Anti-ageism activist Ashton Applewhite wrote that one problem with trying to pass for younger is that it’s like a gay person trying to pass for straight — it’s based in shame over something that is not shameful.

Buen camino, Laurie
Thank you for sharing this article, @peregrina2000 - it really resonates with me as a hair-dyer! I love the comment that growing older is what happens if we're lucky. Last year when I came home from my last Camino (and other travels), it was three months since I'd been in the hairdresser's chair and I had a good couple of inches of silver showing. I rather liked it when I blocked out the rest with my hands, so I tentatively suggested to my hairdresser that it might be time... "No!" he cried, "You are too young to go grey!" Well, having been dying my hair for 20-odd years now I'd say that's not quite true, but I allowed myself to be talked out of the radical idea. And talked into letting my hair grow longer, which I don't like. I have no assertiveness when in that chair! This article gives me fresh courage to tackle the issue - or find a new hairdresser!

Also interesting to read the experiences of those who were frequently asked their age on the Camino. This happened to my mother all the time (she really is white-haired) - almost invariably the questioners were Spanish men. On our first Camino she refused to answer (as she doesn't like the assumptions that are then made, as mentioned above), but the second trip she was more relaxed about it. We found the invariable reaction was a kind of bug-eyed wonder, which was not unpleasant! As she will be even older next time (she plans to be in Santiago for her 84th birthday), we look forward to even better reactions - and maybe by then I'll have been "brave" enough to join her in the un-dying ranks!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2016) ; 1st Camino ; Frances Way ; 2017 Camino Frances begins August 10,2017
#95
Walking the camino is a great opportunity to let your hair grow out...having black hair on arrival. I went home with white hair. I had let my hair grow out about 2 inches before leaving home and I kept getting it cut at every opportunity. No one knew me, so the question of are you letting your hair grow out never came up. I even met another woman on the camino doing the same thing...we spent 3 months abroad, so when I arrived home my hair was completely grown out..I love not having to dye my hair every month...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
(2019: Planning to return!)
#97
I’m a natural blond, we don’t go white, we go mousy! I could handle white but I’m not doing mousy! Fortunately i only need it done every 6 months or so. I might use the Camino as a chance to die it purple though just for a change!
Go for it!! :cool::cool:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#98
A long time ago I was struck by the double standard that is easiest to notice in airports: prosperous looking older couples consisting (always) of silver-haired men traveling with never-silver-haired women.
It's a ridiculous demand, and I totally relate to the article you posted, @peregrina2000. Thank you!
One nice thing about the Camino is that no-one really cares how you look. It's very freeing.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#99
I’m a natural blond, we don’t go white, we go mousy! I could handle white but I’m not doing mousy! Fortunately i only need it done every 6 months or so. I might use the Camino as a chance to die it purple though just for a change!
Lemon juice and sun will do :)
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), Primitivo(13), Norte(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18)
Yes it does imply there is something wrong with age, especially in the USA where every aging actress and model eventually does so much "work" to look youthful, they eventually look like plastic dolls. And for women especially, we must be confident in ourselves as we age, because the implication from the media is that we are pretty much dried up and have little value.
Chris, I recommend you switch media and agree with you that European actors more closely relate to real aging.
 

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