Hair Envy

December 30, 2009 at 10:24 AM (Energy, Hair, Recovery) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

It’s not easy being green. Having to spend each day perusing magazines like InStyle with their seven-page editorial spreads of people like Blake Lively, Debra Messing and Penelope Cruz. Watching a little TV at the end of the day and being confronted with Pantene ads of models flipping their glossy, wavy, scapula-long locks around like modern-day incarnations of Cher.

As I’ve said before, baldness didn’t scare me this time around. I’d been through it before, had a DYNAMITE wig, loved the ease with which my morning routine rolled along, and relished the break from shaving, plucking, zits, etc. (Yes, the shiny-face-in-photographs thing was annoying, yes, sweating off my eyebrows six times a day was tedious, but they all beat being dead.) But as a (prematurely) post-menopausal female rapidly approaching the big 4-0, I could use all the feminine beauty mojo I can get. Baldness, and the subsequent Death-Valley-Ultramarathon that is growing out curly hair, eventually loses its silver lining and gets just plain cloudy.

So watching these twenty-something robo-babes and their semi-professional hair-flipping contests is starting to bum me out. Maybe it’s because I still think of myself as looking like them (at least in the respect that we’re both female) and when I catch sight of myself in the mirror I look SO unlike that now that it’s shocking, even more so than seeing my formerly Yul-Brynner self after a shower. I think of myself as having hair now, and this? Is so not it.

I think we need a Bald Channel. The King And I; the Star Trek with the bald chick in it; G.I. Jane; Shaft; the Natalie Portman movie where they shave her head; Kojak reruns. Ernie and Bert marathons. There could be made-for-tv movies about alopecia so chemo patients could understand that they’re not alone in the world, starring LeeAnn Rimes. Cancer patients all over the country would flock to the advertisers: moisturizers, wigs, great hats, Sephora tutorials on eyebrow and eyelash application.

Oh, great, like I don’t have enough projects already.

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Androgyny

November 12, 2009 at 7:09 PM (Hair) (, , , , , , , , )

It’s amazing how much of a woman’s identity is wrapped up in her hair. Even if it’s terrible hair, it’s still a defining characteristic. Can you imagine trying to describe someone without being able to talk about their hair? “She’s about my height, and she has lips and ears,  brown eyes. You know who I’m talking about, right?”

When I’m bald, I could be anyone, any ethnic derivation, any age. First thing in the morning, in my bathroom mirror, I could be  a hundred-year-old Chinese man. Late at night, in a dark room, maybe a little Yul Brynner around the eyes. Now that it’s growing in a wee bit, possibly sort of Sinead O’Connor, sans sunglasses. (Although I was hoping for G.I. Jane.)

But of all the things I’ve lost to cancer, I miss my eyelashes the most. Eyebrows can be penciled on; a good wig can fool most people into thinking I have hair. But you just can’t fake eyelashes. Even though dark lines of kohl on top and bottom lids come close, they lack the softness of a fringe of actual hairs. And have you ever tried a full line of artificial lashes? It looks like leggy caterpillars have parked on your eyelids. ::shudder::

The really odd part (I know, like there needs to be another one?) of being hairless is how you look in photographs. Even if your makeup and “hair” are perfect, there’s a shiny reflectiveness to your skin that the flash creates that strikes me as the real tell-tale of a chemo patient. Because your skin has lost all its hair, including the downy little hairs that cover the skin all over your body, especially your face, the naked skin looks greasy and plastic in pictures. No one warned me about that part: no matter how deft your hand at decoy, the picture tells a thousand words about what’s going on inside.

So now that the lashes/peach fuzz/brows are growing back (yea, shaving!), it’s so much easier to look like a girl. Don’t miss my curls yet, as my wig is so fabulous. But it’s such a delight to have lashes again. Keep your eyes peeled for excessive eyelid batting.

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