The Sunday before last, Chris and I went for an early morning mountain bike ride, then out for brunch. After we returned home, he made eye contact with me. “Should we do it before you take a shower?” I nodded and headed out to the back porch. I wasn’t especially excited about this event, but my hair was looking especially scraggly and, as he had promised to do when my hair looked too bad to keep hanging onto, Chris was offering to shave my head. After enduring more than six weeks of shedding, the realization that it was time was equally traumatic and therapeutic.
When Chris got started and I watched the first few clumps of foot long blonde hair fall to the ground I began to cry as it suddenly became real. After allowing myself to cry for a few minutes, I decided that I needed to stop. Crying about it wouldn’t change anything and, in the scheme of things, I really didn’t have that much to be upset about anyway; there are so many people who have way bigger problems than a bad haircut, and, in all fairness, Chris did a really good job so I did not even get a bad haircut.
Monday morning came and I was faced with the daunting prospect of wearing my wig. I stayed awake for a good portion of Sunday night reading tutorials about how to tape or glue on wigs. In the preceding weeks, I had spent outrageous amounts of money not only on the wig and shipping and handling to have the wig recolored (gratis), but also on a collection of glues, tapes, solvents, and skin preparations to make wig wearing possible. To my surprise, when the time came, I just couldn’t do it.
I spent most of last week wigless because it just seemed more practical for my lifestyle. I could not imagine standing in the bathroom at work using a solvent to remove my wig before changing into my running clothes at the end of the day. I also couldn’t imagine the fear that would strike each time Kai grabbed a handful of the wig hair. Would she pull it off? Would it rip?
No. Wig wearing did not seem right for me.
Friday night came, and along with it came an opportunity to get dressed up. I had plans to attend a bridal shower being held in the beautiful garden of a historic mansion in town. As I put on my favorite dress and a few pieces of jewellery, there was something missing. Hair. You can’t get all dressed up without hair.
I pulled my wig out of the closet and tried it out again. Just as I feared, it still screamed “I have a wig on”, but, that night, the wig look was more appealing than going without.
Chris double-checked, “Are you sure you want to wear that in public? What if something goes wrong?”
Without even thinking twice, I knew that I wanted to wear it. What could possibly go wrong?
As I drove into town, air conditioning blasting, I noted that the outside temperature was nearly 90 degrees. The setting sun shined brightly though my windows and seemed to undo the efforts of my car’s air conditioner. My skin felt warm, on the verge of sweating, and the huge mass of hair on my head was not helping matters. Hopefully I would not arrive at the shower already looking like a sweaty beast.
When I arrived downtown and stepped out of my car into the warm air, it felt like a sauna. By the time I walked a block or so to the party, I could feel that my head had begun to sweat. For a split second, I worried about my wig, but that thought was quickly forgotten as I began chatting with the other shower guests.
As I got drawn into a long conversation with a few of the other guests, I could feel the sweaty head intensifying and I swore that the wig sliding around. We continued to chat, but I could not give my full attention to the conversation. I became fixated on the wig. Was it still in place?
Finally, I had an out. Our hostess asked us to wrap up our conversations and take our seats at the tables. I made a beeline to the bathroom to check my hair. It was obvious to me that it had slipped way out of place exposing a tiny bit of buzz cut at my hairline.
Had anyone else noticed? Was I the only person examining my hairline so intensely? I will probably never know and it doesn’t really matter as this single incident has made me too leery of wig wearing to venture out in public with it again anytime soon.
It is both amazing and ridiculous to me that, throughout this ordeal, the saga of real, fake, and missing hair has been as, if not more, traumatic and thought consuming than anything else. Fortunately, parting with my hair has, in large part, helped me get over it and move on.
Counter to my original expectations, I doubt that I will have the courage to break the wig out in public again.