Last Friday morning, on New Year’s Day, I got out of bed with just a trace of a hangover, ran my fingers through my hair, and took a bunch of strands with me to the bathroom. What a way to start 2016, right?
It got worse from there—for the rest of the day Friday, then on Saturday and Sunday- whether I was at home, synagogue, at a funeral, out to dinner, or drying my newly polished toenails, everywhere I went, I left a trail of hair. More tempting than the ripest of scabs, I simply couldn’t stop picking.
Mike and I hadn’t seen so much hair in the house (on pillows, blankets, fleece jackets, couches) since our last days with Sophie, our dear yellow lab. And as I shed, I remembered that Mike never really liked Sophie, and he absolutely abhored the fur all over the house. There was a slight chance, I thought, that Mike might want to put me down.
So by Sunday night I decided that it was time to say goodbye to my hair, for just awhile. It’s supposed to be part of the whole “take charge of that cancer before it takes charge of you” thing, but I’m not sure how empowering it was…it was actually rather horrifying.
Mike got out the scissor, the buzzer, and the electric razor. He interrupted the process with a couple of timeout kisses (aw). I sat there on a kitchen chair, completely numb, as he did the deed, and I was absolutely sure I would never be able to look in the mirror again.
“Is it red and blotchy?”
“Is it bumpy? Am I repulsive?”
“Not at all. It’s perfect. You actually have a good looking scalp. And you are still you, just without hair. I love you.”
I got up and immediately looked in the mirror. Bizarre, yet completely intriguing. I had never seen my scalp before. My first thought: I looked like an alien.
“It’s just hair,” I repeated to myself in the mirror, “it’ll grow back. This too shall pass.”
Mike and I retreated to the den, where I curled on the leather couch in fetal position, under a blanket.
“Let me show you something,” Mike said, as he fiddled with TV control. After about 10 minutes, Mike found what he was looking for.
“This is the first Star Trek movie, the one right after the series,” he explained. He played the preview until Lieutenant Ilia came on.
“Look at her,” he told me.
This is what Lieutenant Ilia looks like:
“OK, she’s a totally hot baldy,” I said.
“So are you.”
The next morning, as Mike lay beside me, he stared at me as I lay in bed. When our eyes met, he put his pinky out to his bottom lip, raised one eyebrow and said in all seriousness,
“‘Why should we make a trillion dollars when we could make…a billion dollars?’
And it’s true, I also look a little like Dr. Evil.
But actually I remind myself more of a female version of one of my favorite toys from my childhood, Wooly Willy. Remember him? All I need is the clown nose and the double chin.
Or maybe, as one friend suggested, I look like one of the coneheads from SNL, without the cone of course, my head shape being perfect and all.
It’s just hair. It’s just hair. That’s my mantra.
But I must say, being bald is not all bad. It creates a whole new set of retail opportunities, in the form of wonderful new hats and wigs, and I have now heard my husband say with a degree of verve I have not heard in a long time, “I’ve never shtupped a bald chick!” Many people have told me how beautiful the shape of my head is, and being bald makes me forget about my missing boob.
But this being winter and all, being bald is cold. Damn cold. God made hair for a reason, and it wasn’t so that the Blow Dry Bar hairstylists would have a place to go on their days off.
But there is not much to do about that other than grin and don one of my awesome new, extra warm hats. Pretty great, right?
Besides, as Dr. Evil might say, I’ve still got my mojo, my life force, my essence. I’ve still got what the what the French call a certain… I don’t know what. Thanks, Dr. Evil.