And not for the first time. This is the third time and I know that it is now a permanent loss.
The first time this happened, I was living in Hong Kong. My hair was naturally brown but I had been a blonde for a long time. When a fancy new hair salon opened in Kowloon I just had to try it. At that time Asians and Blacks were not able to straighten or dye their hair as they do today. The most daring could, at best, change their black hair to a coppery brown. I was aware that Asian hair is a lot coarser than Caucasian hair but this thought eluded me when I checked into the Shisheido Salon on Nathan Road.
After thirty minutes of being capped with blue gunk I became anxious and called to the prettily uniformed stylist to wash it out. Even though I spoke a smattering of Japanese and this girl spoke a smattering of English, I could not communicate my sense of urgency. Finally, and too late, she led me to the wash basin to shampoo the stuff out. Watching my hair float down the drain was devastating.
Baldness has not enhanced any entertainer’s stage presence…except, maybe, the Irish singer, Sinead O’Connor. I lost my complacency but no-one seemed to share my distress at the result of their service. Swaddled in head scarves, I hired a lawyer to sue them but it was a huge hassle. Finally we agreed that the salon would pay for the wig that I was forced to wear for the next six months. To an energetic dancer who tosses her head while performing, a wig was a less than desirable solution.
Cosmeticians have learned a thing or two since then and there are now millions of blonde, big-busted, Japanese girls with surgically altered eyes roaming the globe. I don’t see any Caucasion women having their breasts removed and their eyes slanted so I blame this trend all on those high-flying, cashed-up Japanese men who frequent the many Japanese clubs along the Ginza. The big money for foreign performers has dwindled, much to the delight of the Dance hostesses who always hated us. And the added bonus for the drooling patrons is that whereas with the foreigners it was “Look but don’t touch” the hostesses have never been averse to a touch or two… even though previously there was not much to touch.
Many years later, after I had sewn my wild oats and settled down to motherhood, I lost my hair for a second time. This time it was due to cancer. I was prepared for my still blonde locks to fall out after chemo. I was not prepared for it to fall out quite so soon – within a week of my first dose, in fact. I well remember the day I climbed out of my car after visiting the grocery store. Huge clumps hair stuck to the head rest, giving me a nasty jolt. Upset, I tugged on the remaining hair and yanked out another handful or two. There was only one thing to do. I ran inside and chopped the remainder off as fast as possible. If it had to go – I wanted to be in control.
So again my hair grew back but it was never the same. Whereas it used to be thick, it was now thin, white and curly. Over time the curls disappeared as the last remnants of chemo left my body but the volume never came back. My mother used to admonish “It’s all the damage you did by dying your hair for years.” She may have been partly right but I never would agree. She had been against me doing anything as immoral as dying my hair from the time I first started while very young.
And now many more years later still, I am stuck with this hateful thin hair. This is a natural part of aging, I know. But I am a vain woman and I fight aging tooth and nail. Thankfully, so far God has been good to me in this battle and I am remarkably free of many aging signs and ailments.
Some people tell me that I must grow old gracefully but I think that is all a load of bull. I don’t consider vanity a bad trait and I find it synonymous with pride. Not everyone uses Botox or pays $300 for a jar of face cream but I say, ‘Why not?’ Most have their teeth capped and/or whitened and I see no difference.
So now, here is the dilemma; as I am a vain woman and my hair is not going to grow back this time, what is the answer? I have always worn hats almost daily. That is not a cover-up. I love hats. But now, apart from a fashion statement, they also hide the fact that my hair is thin. I never lie about my age but I DON’T want to look my age. Judge me if you will!
Wigs are an alternative but they are hot in summer and itch the skin. I don’t do as much head tossing these days but even so, if I accidentally drank too much, there is the possibility one could fly off. These things always happen at the most inopportune moments, don’t they?
Well I don’t lie awake at night worrying about this but I am open to answers. Got any?