One wig. Two wig. Red wig. Blue wig.
Ah, wig shopping. This will probably wind up being the only fun thing cancer has to offer me.
It was 10:30am on a snowy Saturday morning. My favorite gay couple was in town, so I invited them to come along with my mother and me to try on some new hair. I wasn’t sure how chemo was going to make me feel or how much hair I would actually be losing. I figured the sooner I got this out of the way, the better. Going wig shopping while I had clumps of hair falling from my head didn’t seem at all enjoyable to me.
The local costume shop also had a huge selection of makeup and wigs. I had been here many times before so I was quite familiar with the layout. The boys were meeting us there and I figured they’d find us eventually, so I walked inside with my mother and we headed straight towards the back. There were more wigs than I had remembered. Short wigs, long wigs. Straight wigs, curly wigs. Red wigs, blue wigs. Everywhere I looked, wigs. My choices were overwhelming.
When we reached the back we were immediately greeted by a friendly young woman named Kristen, who asked if we needed any help. “Where are the higher quality wigs?” my mother asked. Kristen had us follow her to a roped off section a few feet away from where we were standing. Apparently we were now entering the VIP wig section. For serious customers only! Maybe I’d get a Sam’s Club style membership card by the end of this…
I started searching for wigs that were as close to my natural hair color and style that I could find. I was mainly concerned with what customers at my job would wind up saying to me. We get a lot of regulars in and if I changed my hair too much, I knew I’d get bombarded with questions. I hadn’t told most of them what I was going through because, well, “I have cancer!” isn’t something you just blurt out loud. I thought if I got a wig that was close to my actual hair, maybe I could fool them. I picked several wigs out and threw in some fun ones just for the hell of it. The boys kept trying to get me to try on a short wig but I have never worn my hair short so I wasn’t too keen on the idea. I picked one out to make them happy (and I was kind of curious what I’d look like without long hair)
Kristen had me take a seat in front of a large mirror. I kept making jokes to my friends and mother alluding to the fact that I had cancer. Kristen quickly picked up on it.
“What kind of cancer do you have, if you don’t mind my asking?”
She was the first complete stranger that had asked me if I had cancer. It felt strange being asked that, but I guess I was going to have to get used to answering it. I’d most likely have no hair soon so I knew it was either now or never that I became comfortable talking to people I didn’t know about my diagnosis. I was eternally grateful that she didn’t start doing baby talk voice to me or try to hug me like I was afraid some people might do after I told them. She said she was sorry and that she would make wig shopping as fun and easy as possible. One stranger down, 138 more strangers to go! (That’s just a made up number I have no clue how many people are really going to be that nosy. Not saying Kristen was nosy, Kristen was great! We love Kristen!)
The first wig I tried on was a medium length rich copper brown little number. I loved the color but the bangs were too long and I couldn’t get them to style quite right. On to the next!
I was very excited to try on the next wig, The Showstopper. It was from the Raquel Welch wig line. Whenever I hear Raquel Welch’s name I can’t help but associate it with the Seinfeld episode, “The Summer of George.” Kristen placed the wig on my head and I was tempted to stand up and walk around the room without moving my arms back and forth. (For anyone that has no clue what I’m talking about, please go to YouTube right now and watch the episode) The wig looked amazing. It was incredible to me how natural this wig looked. It didn’t even look like I was wearing a wig! That Raquel Welch knows her shit! Although it was slightly longer and more blonde, it was still very similar to my own hair. I already knew this was going to the winner. The hair color was Honey Toast after all, how could I pass that up?
I tried on a few more wigs including the short one, and I have to say, it didn’t look half bad! I felt it was a little too mature looking for me, but it would have been great if I was 40 and wanted to show up at my kid’s soccer game looking like a MILF.
After that I tried on a black wig with straight bangs that my friend Fred dubbed “The Angelina Jolie from Salt” wig. I loved how silky and long it was. When I put it on I threw a piece over my right shoulder and did my best Cher impression. “If I could turn back tie-uh-um!” I sang out loud. Unfortunately, the color was a little too dark for my skin tone and the bangs were just a little too long.
After I grew tired of trying on wigs, I decided I wanted The Showstopper. The store was having a sale, so I got the wig for 20% off, which made me even happier. Those Raquel Welch wigs don’t come cheap! Kristen boxed up my wig and wished me well. She told me the sale was going on all month long and if I decided I wanted another wig to just come back and she’d help me again.
We left the store and I hugged my friends goodbye. They headed back to Connecticut and my mother and I drove down the street to pick out a cake for my grandmother’s birthday. I have been eating incredibly healthy and to be surrounded by such delectable sugary treats was just plain torture. I must remind myself never to step inside a bakery again. Bad idea, bad! While we were debating on what cake to get, my mother looked over at me with a big grin and said “You know you can always borrow one of grandma’s wigs if you want” A gray curly haired wig that’s probably older than I am? Yeah, I’m sure that will undoubtedly bring all the boys to my yard!