Tuesday, Sep 27, 2016
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Mary Alice Powell

Wigs to the rescue

Nobody said anything. Not in the supermarket, at the bank, or at the restaurant, all places that I frequently patronize. If they had noticed the difference they should have said something if we are friends, or even just acquaintances. Surely the woman who saw me yank on one side to be sure it was straight was curious.

Finally, at the dentist's office I was compelled to quit the guessing game. Be careful of my wig, I told the hygienist. Try not to knock it off when the chair is lowered.

Sweet lady that she is, she said, "Really, I wouldn't have known." I wondered if that was an honest statement. Then we laughed as I grabbed onto my head with both hands and the chair was lowered.

That's the trouble with wigs. You are conscious of the extra weight on your head, and are certain others can tell you are hiding under a wig. Unless you can go through wig-wearing with mirror in hand, you are never quite sure if it's straight or cockeyed or if a stiff wind might cause separation between head and coif.

Don't laugh. It's possible. Perhaps one reason wigs make me nervous is that I am haunted by an experience about 25 years ago. I was at Waikiki Beach for the national pineapple cook-off. In fact, I was a judge, but one evening was more important personally than what would be cooking the next day. After dinner with a nice gentleman, the two of us went for a walk on the beach in the moonlight. In preparation for the big night, I had popped on a wig to hide a very bad hair day from swimming.

When the nice gentleman put his arm around me he nudged the wig. Further encouraged by a tropical breeze, the wig went flying into the surf. My date fetched it like a dog does a Frisbee. The wig smelled like a wet cat. Of course I kept it.

Like other fashions that go out and come around again, wigs are said to be back. The one I found in the bottom drawer of the linen closet is the last one from a large collection that included white, blonde, black, and streaked. This one is auburn, and when I say I found it in the drawer, that is not true. I have known for years that it was there. I was waiting for a reason to wear it again. A combination of bad hair days and a friend who admitted in a hushed whisper that it was wig when I complimented her hairstyle prompted me to bring it out. More than once, seeing or feeling the clump of hair in the drawer has frightened a cleaning woman into a screaming frenzy.

Wigsare a great way to experiment with ways you may want to have your own hair styled. As much fun as it is to try different colors, it is embarrassing to wear a white wig only to learn a piece of your own dark hair is protruding from it I have a story to back that up too. When it happened, no one suggested that I tuck the auburn lock under the white wig.

Many women who have lost their hair because of chemotherapy consider at least one wig a necessity. It is particularly good for them that the industry offers such an extensive choice of styles, lengths, and colors. I know about all the choices because the friend who always looks perfect, with or without her "hairpiece," gave my name to a wig catalog company.

As I see it, donning a wig is just one more way we are trying to improve our appearance. For sure it's less painful and cheaper than a tummy tuck, breast implant or reduction, face lift, or any of the other body part changes offered for a more youthful you.

At least you can remove the wig and have it restyled, or put it in a garage sale.

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