Chemo treatment is upon me again. This one will make me lose my hair. I thought I’d skated that unpleasant side effect with pills last year, but no. I’m reminded of when I talked writer Michael Bertin into getting his long hair cut and styled short. “This is going to take some getting used to,” he wrote in an email later. Check.
“There are some really cute wigs out there,” my oncologist offered when first he broached the topic of this treatment. I balked. He’s got great hair. He was also Nick Curran’s oncologist, so I feel especially comfortable talking with him about lifestyle issues. Nick had great hair too.
“Maybe you won’t lose it,” he suggested. Unlikely, as I lost some when I took Interferon for 11 months for Hep C treatments between 2005-2006. It thinned again last summer when I was on the non-hair-losing chemo and just now growing back in puffs around my hairline.
“Is this really a big deal?” My boyfriend’s response sounds callous unless you remember him in the Seventies and Eighties as I do, sporting one of the lushest, sexiest manes of hair in Austin. I bemoaned my impending life without hair and he pointed out the obvious: It happens to most men no matter how they try. His comment gave me pause to consider the comb-over in all its splendid and artful forms.
These masterful sculptures first came to my attention in the late Seventies, while watching such televangelists as Jim Bakker, Paul Crouch, Benny Hinn. Never mind that Bakker and Crouch’s wives were famously over-made up, because the gentlemen’s division of the competition sported waves of blown-out, teased up, moussed, and sprayed hair that left no question which peacocks ruled the barnyard.
Then came Donald Trump. He gets my vote for overall Worst Men’s Hair Fail Ever. What started as a casually windblown look to match his bombastic personality evolved into something that resembles a weasel desperately struggling to escape captivity. At least he didn’t do the wimpy ponytail thing.
So, I did lots of research on wigs, styles. I even went to a few local shops and tried them on. I’m no stranger to wigs. I was a Jam & Jelly Girl with the White Trash Revue led by the high-haired Dino Lee!
This was a different mission, however. I wasn’t looking for tinsel or neon or piles of curls. I wanted something that wouldn’t look too different from my generally conservative hair styles because I just kinda have a thing about wearing age-appropriate hair for myself while deeply admiring Francie Meaux Jeaux and Betsey Johnson. Much of what I know about wigs comes from drag queens I have known and loved over the years.
One thing at a time, though. I’m getting my hair cut this weekend in a shorter style, as I’ve learned that longer hair comes out faster because it’s heavier. A new style won’t halt the inevitable, but it may make the change to wig time a little easier.
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