One day the people in charge of fashion will decide that bald women look amazing, and I will be the first person in line to shave my head. I have never actually seen my uncovered scalp. I was born with hair and have never been without it, but a tactile examination reveals it to be full of lumps and bumps and crevasses and flat plains. So that probably wouldn’t be pretty even if bald theoretically was. Plus, if I were bald I’d be slathering the top of my head with sunscreen all the time so I wouldn’t end up looking like you could fry an egg up there. But a girl can dream.
On the one hand, I have a full head of plentiful hair, and, at the ripe old age of 43 it still grows in a consistent dark brown, the color of muddy topsoil. So there’s that, and I suppose I should be grateful. On the other hand, my hair is so oily that approximately 22 hours after I last washed it, it looks like I dipped my head in a deep fryer. It also either completely defies gravity or obeys it intensely. In other words, its entire length is either clinging to my head as if it might fall out if it let go, or sticking up in completely random directions. Sometimes you will find patches of each on different parts of my head. This also happens when I sleep, even if I took a 15 minute cat nap while sitting up in a chair or took a shower merely hours before I awoke.
When I use product and a quarter can of hair spray as per my work day routine, this isn’t really a problem, since it will hold during the work day and people don’t usually see me after 8pm. On weekends, however, I spend inordinate amounts of time finding ways to make it look socially acceptable. (This is not to be confused with looking good. I don’t care if I look good. I just want to look like I did whatever it looks like on purpose.)
Wetting my hair doesn’t work, it just rearranges the patches of cling and spike. Occasionally that dry shampoo stuff does work, but as it is basically jet-propelled white rice powder, I look like I’m about to play George Washington in the school play. Headbands don’t work, because if I tame the front with one, the back end has a little fork-in-a-light-socket party to make up for it. Rather than making me look glamorous like Audrey Hepburn, scarves have a tendency to make me look I am undergoing chemotherapy. (I have loads of sympathy for the women going through chemotherapy, and find a great deal of beauty in their strength, but no one I’m aware of considers the side effects a desirable fashion choice.) Bandanas make it look like I am here to clean your house. Hats are ok, but I have a head the size of a seedless watermelon, and most women’s hats don’t fit me. Regular ball caps just look odd and manly on top of most of the clothes I wear. Smaller, more ‘feminine’ caps just kind of perch on my head like I’m wearing a hat made for an American Girl Doll.
The easy answer, of course, is to just jump in the shower, which is what I do most of the time. It’s not that I’m anti-hygiene, but shouldn’t I be able to have a lazy sweat pants Saturday morning and run my daughter to her Girl Scout meeting without primping? And what about the days where I know in two hours I am going to go swimming in the lake? Should I wash it and blow dry it just to have it covered in lake muck 90 minutes later? And what about those times when I take a shower at the end of the day, whether it is because I am sweaty from the gym, or just want to wash off the day before I sleep it off? Should I really have to take another shower in the morning just so it looks like I’m not heading off to my final exam at clown college?
I’m not asking you like you might have an answer for me. Not that you aren’t full of good ideas, but I’m well aware that there isn’t a good answer. Truthfully, what I really ought to do is invest some money in a quality, good-looking wig, and just plop it on my military grade buzz cutted head every morning looking exactly the same.
So maybe that’s what I will do. You’ll know if I do it because I will start looking good on Saturday mornings and weekday evenings. I would say let’s keep it our little secret, but I know me better than that. I’ll sing it from the rafters, and look down on people who bother with their own hair. Why bother? I will ask. Fake is the new real.
Lori B. Duff is the author of the Amazon ‘Hot New Release’ Mismatched Shoes and Upside Down Pizza, a collection of autobiographical humor essays. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/loribduffauthor