So, I’m bald today. It was a weird start to the day, didn’t have to slick my hair back with water from the sink to wipe out the mental patient-like bed head, instead I just rub the nubs. I am… nappy.
Teresa called me upstairs yesterday and I watched as she pulled clumps of hair out of her head in front of her bathroom mirror. I’d been proclaiming I wasn’t going to shave my head when the chemo made her go bald; vanity would win this one. I felt that way right up until that moment that she stood in front of the mirror trying to hold in the tears and panic. And, then I knew I wasn’t going to let her be the only bald one in the family, she needed someone who could empathize, not sympathize, and I was the most likely candidate.
My Mom’s Dad was bald and I always felt very fortunate that I had inherited my Dad’s hairline. At 56 I had a full head of wavy hair that I flaunted (and colored). Yup, I was a child of the sixties and I was letting my freak flag fly. Cut it? Cut it all? What if it doesn’t grow back? What if I have a pointed head (turns out I am really an egg head), what if children run in horror, and grown men laugh at me. (Payback is a bitch).
We went into Sports Clips as they were closing; the girls were sweeping up and ready to go home. I asked if they would mine shaving me quickly, told them why, and they jumped on board, eager to support Teresa and I. Teresa decided to just have them shave her too and the 4 girls working there hugged us, cried, and refused to take money when we were done. They were wonderful. I started with a #3, a buzz cut, but when I looked over to her chair, I noticed Teresa had a “zero” so I joined in and went all out. I went from 80′s hair band fluffy to George Clooney buzz, to Zippy the Pinhead in a matter of minutes. It was liberating.
Today I have a new appreciation for hats, male pattern baldness, and sunscreen. I stop when I look in the mirror, after all, I can’t automatically gaze at my beautiful curls… I’ve learned something about vanity, something about empathy, and a lot about love.
We are headed to breakfast, Teresa in her expertly tied scarf and me in a hat that is suddenly too big.
We are going together.