Bewigged, Bothered and Bewildered
When I was a teenager, back in the 70's, my mother had a wig. Wigs were big at that time. She had a styrofoam head and the wig looked a lot like her regular hair. The idea was that on bad hair days she could wear the wig. My mother, like many women her age, got her hair done once a week at the beauty parlor, a rather boring place that stank of the solution used for permanents. In the sixties and early seventies, I had to go with her. We went every Saturday morning. It was full of sixties looking art of women with swoopy hairstyles but most of the women there were doing the shampoo, set and comb out. The beauty salon my mother frequented (she had a standing appointment) was actually in a department store called McAlpins. That was back when department stores had appliances and books, stationary, cards, luggage and a restaurant where ladies who lunched could get soup and a sandwich. I was allowed, while my mother had her appointment, to go watch cartoons in the appliance department on the televisions. For my mother, the problem with wearing a wig to work on, say, a Wednesday, was that is so crushed her hair that she had to wear it Thursday and Friday, too. She wore it a few times and then it mostly sat on its blockhead in her closet, where on the rare occasion I would open her closet door, it would weird me out.
My two wigs also sit on styrofoam heads with the same sort of abstract features. I keep them in my office because the only place to keep them in my bedroom is on my dresser, where they still weird me out. (They're reflected in the mirror so if I glance up from reading there is a brief instant where there are four heads on the dresser. And if I've taken off my glasses, say, because it's the middle of the night and I'm going to the bathroom, they can be particularly disconcerting.)
I really like one of my wigs. It has straight hair, something I've never had in my life. (My sister and my mother straightened my hair in the eighth grade with something called a Toni home straightening kit--straightening hair by actually giving me a permanent without rollers--but my hair never quite straightened. It came fairly close, but it also fried. I didn't care, I was so glad.) I can't really duplicate the style of the wig with my own hair, at least not without paying enormous amounts of money. I love how easy the wig is. I pull it onto my head like a bathing cap, fluff the hair a bit with my fingers, and I have a rather expensive haircut, instantly. And no gray. I keep saying I'm going to wear it even when my hair grows back in but I suspect wearing a wig with hair is a different prospect than wearing it without.
I'm told that I would be surprised if I knew how many people actually wore wigs. Besides Cher. I find myself looking at people thinking...is that a wig? But the only place I've ever been sure someone was wearing a wig is either at the wig store or at the oncology office. The only reason people can tell I'm wearing a wig, I'm told, is because they know I have no hair. I still have eyebrows. Thin ones, but eyebrows. The nice thing about a wig is that I can pass. You know, for someone not from Planet Cancer.
I should have the equivalent of a crew cut by September. Until then, I'll have straight hair.