I’ve been bald for eleven years. During that time, I’ve had my share of hair envy. What bald woman hasn’t? Initially after losing my hair, I was obsessed with other women’s hair and would find myself in the depths of desire for just about any kind of hair. I would study different hairstyles, colors, lengths, condition, density—you name it—I was subconsciously lost in lusting after other women’s hair. I used to look at pictures of myself before I lost my hair and try to recall why I had picked that hair style or color or muse over why I never tried a short spike cut or let my hair grow really long. I had definitely put my hair follicles through an endurance test over the years: highlights from the 60s, Afro perms from the 70s, more dye in the 80s, gels, sprays, hot rollers, curling irons, flat irons. I was always searching for the perfect color and style, but never really satisfied. Then, in a blink of an eye, I watched all that money and time spent in salons wash down the drain. Just like that—my hair was gone.
Gone were my daily cosmetic grooming rituals: shampooing my hair in the shower, towel drying or blow drying my hair, primping—something I’d been doing for fifty years. My abbreviated morning routine was a daily reminder of my loss. So much as the sight of my husband’s shampoo bottle in the shower was at times sufficient to leave me grieving the loss of my hair for the rest of the day—I was fragile, at best. Through my early years as a bald woman, I generally abstained from conversations about hair. Little things like Pantene shampoo commercials or a passing woman with rich, thick, curly (always wanted curls) hair could instantaneously cast a shadow of depression over my day. Though I almost never voiced “why me” or “life is unfair,” it was definitely part of my raw emotion.
Hair loss definitely left me with an emotional void and envious of any and all hair—even bad hair! As we all eventually learn, “time heals.” I’m not going to claim that I no longer notice beautiful hair—I do, and I am especially attracted to long, thick deep rich brown hair (aka Princess Catherine). I am also fascinated by watching someone blow dry, flat iron or curl such a marvelous mane of hair, but my interest is no longer tainted with envy. Instead, I find myself wondering how I would find the time to fit my old grooming ritual into my current busy schedule. There is something to be said for a ten-minute turn around from shower to out-the-door. My hair envy has been tamed by time. Sure, I’ll always have relapses of hair envy, but as for all the time, energy and money that goes into creating and maintaining those locks, no thanks. I have my beaubeaus. How much time to you spend studying or longing for other women’s hairstyles?