I’ve always been a bit offbeat. My first celebrity crush was William Hurt. I thought Sean Connery was much more attractive without the toupee, same goes for John Travolta. My current celebrity crush is Lester Holt.
When I first met darling Hubs, he was the tender age of twenty-two, and sported an extremely precarious Florida peninsula on the top of his head. By the time we married, at twenty-five, it was more of an isthmus. He is now the proud owner of a completely unencumbered dome, with a bit of fringe around the edge. He has never been bothered by being follicularly challenged, and takes pleasure when announcing that he needs yet another “rim trim.” (He also has a very off-color joke about losing his hair, which I won’t share here as I am particularly PG in my writings.)
I have never understood men who don’t embrace their baldness. The wigs, rugs, comb-overs and intricate, stringy webs look ridiculous. Don’t these men have someone who loves them enough to make them stop? I once mentioned to a friend that I had never seen a good toupee or wig. “Sure you have, you just didn’t know it,” she replied. Hmmm, maybe.
A good friend and I share many beliefs, including the view that beauty mostly comes from the inside. But she is, through no fault of her own, now in the midst of the challenging world of dating in her fifties. She is open to many things, but just can’t bring herself to date anyone “short, chubby and balding.” Uh, oh. I fit my friend’s no-no list to a T. This is probably the reason we have always been platonic, and never a romantic couple … that and the fact we were both born blatantly heterosexual.
My problem is, I am attracted to balding men, but not balding women, and I am one.
My first experience with hair loss was a few years ago, at the vortex of aging parents and teenage boys. I rushed to my dermatologist, pulling back my hair to show him a quarter to a half-dollar sized bald patch on the top of my head. He advised a full physical and complete blood work with my regular physician. He then said, “They’ll find nothing, it’s stress, here’s some cream to rub on it. It may grow back, it may not.” Yep, stress.
I then visited the second most important person in this crisis, my hairdresser, to scheme up styles, swoops, swirls and curls to cover my disfigurement. “It’s not too bad,” she assured me. I confessed to putting brown powdered eyeshadow on the spot to hide it. “I’m not surprised you’re losing hair, but I’m shocked you actually own makeup!” She gets me.
That bald spot eventually retreated, and I enjoyed a full head of hair, until … A few years later, Colorado stole both my heart and my curls. I have always had very fine (a nice way to say “thin”) hair, but the waves and whirlies always hid this fact. Not anymore. High altitude and low humidity have left my hair mostly straw straight. I can’t hide a thing.
I am in the midst of embracing Christmas year-round by letting my natural tinsel grow in, and gave up the every six to seven week dye habit. You would think my hair would be grateful, but no. My beautiful, virgin-skinned pink scalp has decided to become an exhibitionist, and show herself to the world. In multiple places. Despite copious amounts of biotin, thickening shampoo, vitamins and fervent prayers.
Now in the scheme of humiliating things that happen to women’s bodies as we age, this is rather minor. Perhaps few notice, except very tall people, and there are not many of those in my family, except my elder son, Shorty. Genes are a wondrously capricious business. As an example, I am a throwback to my 4’11” grandmother, who was slightly rounded, and in later years sported tight, tight curls with lots of scalp showing between rows. Her husband was also named Karl, and I know just the tone to use and hand placement to make when my Karl is in trouble. It’s genetic! But she was also fiery, feisty, funny and extremely sharp. I hope I inherited a bit of that, as well.
There are, of course, truly beautiful bald women, the warriors battling cancer. I’m just an average woman dealing with the common challenges and privileges of an aging body. How lucky am I that this is even a “problem” for me right now. And you know what? I think I am handling this aging/hair loss thing pretty well. I do need to go and buy some silver-tinted eyeshadow to mix with the brown, though.