As I do about four times a week, I looked in the mirror this morning and thought, "Hell, I should really shave it all off." My hair is such a pain in the scalp. I'm in my thirties, but I'm more or less 100 percent gray already.

I didn't dye it until I turned 30, when I succumbed to the beauty ritual because people were consistently guessing I was 10 years older than I was, and my salt-and-pepper hair seemed largely to blame. From there, it went pure white fast (you can tell from my roots), and I have to dye every two weeks, or it starts to look like I have blad spots. It's incredibly annoying. So lately I've wondered more and more: Should I just shave it all off, go live in a Zen monastery for a while, and then return to the real world with a silver mane?

Sweet Pants has said, more than once, he'd stand by me if I (a) shaved it off, (b) had a temporary crew cut, or (c) went around with the kind of hair you'd normally see on your grandma after letting it grow back in.

I hesitate to do it mainly because my skin is such a ghostly shade of white that I'd look washed out on top of seeming ancient … but the question is: Should we all marry the men who would stand by us if we were bald?

I ask this in part, more seriously, because a friend of mine who's also in her thirties was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. For the sake of her privacy, I won't go into the details, but it has been an incredibly difficult time for her, for a number of reasons, with bad news on top of bad news. She's been through a year of tough surgeries and fatiguing treatments — but the signs are good that she has a long life ahead of her. More to the point, she has a wonderful boyfriend who has been with her through it all (including the loss of her hair, which is now growing back in).

Thank goodness for people like him.

What Do You Think?