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Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Ms. Natural Woman....

Ms. Natural Woman

Taking a long puff on her cigarette, she gave me a hard look. "You have pretty, big hair," she said, as I went through the door of the building where I work.

The smokers hang around outside to pursue their nicotine habit since it is not allowed inside in the workplace. This particular morning I was trying to get to work on time and sliding under the wire, as usual. I was totally off guard with my mind on the million other things waiting on my desk inside.

"Big," I heard. BIG hair? I guess it was meant as a compliment.

"Err, thanks," I murmured, while making a mental note to go straight to the ladiesí room and assault the problem with the hairbrush.

I forgot about the incident until later in the day at lunch. A bunch of us gals who work downtown get together once a month for lunch. Itís just a "girl thing," chitchat, a chance to socialize, and a break from the routine.

One of the ladies had just redone her hair in a new lighter shade. Of course, everyone noticed and commented on how nice it looked. Then one of the other ladies speculated on how much she would like to have a new style. 

The discussion eventually turned to whether or not to "color" your hair or leave it natural Ė whatever that may be. First thing you know, all eyes are looking at my hair. Good grief! What is it with my hair today, I wondered, while trying to slide gracefully under the table where they wouldnít notice me.

Why is that our society seems to be fixated on hair? Billions of dollars are spent advertising and promoting hair products to make our hair softer, curlier, another shade, straighter, shinier, or to add texture. You name it, and if it has to do with hair, there is a product for it. Curly haired women want straight hair and straight haired women want curls. Go figureÖ

The one thing most women donít want, however, is gray hair. When the first few gray hairs come, we pull them out and pretend they were never there. Then others start coming like an avalanche of dirty snow. A man is merely "distinguished" when his temples turn gray. A woman is mature, aged, a senior. 

So, we attempt to turn back the clock with a bottle. It used to be called "dye," but someplace along the line the term fell out of fashion and became stigmatized. So now we "color" it instead. Most women admit to using the "hair cosmetics." You donít see too many middle aged women with gray or graying hair these days. It has been "washed away" secretly at home in the bathroom sink or shower.

Finally, one of the lunch ladies asked the dreaded question, "Is that your natural color?"

The bitch! Obviously Iím old enough to have gray hair. Now, there is a little white lie that many women use to answer the question about "natural" color. Their "natural color" is the color their hair used to be. Gray is "unnatural." Go figure.

Anyhow, I wasnít about to confess in front of a whole table of nosey ladies Ė not that it really mattered. Truth be know, Iíve been coloring since I was 16 years old. I donít even remember what "natural" looks like. In fact, I get upset with women who donít color. 

One acquaintance of mine has long gray hair. I guess she likes it that way Ė but she would look 20 years younger if she would do something with that mop of hers. Sure, once you start you have to keep it up, but so what? Females look better with makeup - barns look better with paint. Shows how brainwashed I am by advertising, I guess.

"That reminds me," I said, "As I was coming to work this morning, there was this lady who said, ĎYou have pretty BIG hair'. It made me think of the country music stars and their "big" hair. I ran as fast as I could to find a brush and visit the ladiesí room to make my "big hair" into "little hair."

Everybody laughed and they forgot about whether I did or didnít "color." Whew! Close call. That opinionated big-mouthed person saved my day.

Now if I can just figure out a way to tell the Ms. Natural Woman with the gray mop that she needs to shape up and join the twenty-first century, Iíll be okay. Wonder if Ms. Opinionated Big Mouth could talk to her?

Copyright 2000 Sheila Moss


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