Monday, 16 September 2013
The Elder Hat Lady Cometh
Last May, in a three-part blog post (beginning here), I told you about my quest for a solution to my balding pate. It was this bad:
Today it is worse.
Back then, as I reported after much research, nothing regrows women's hair if the loss is not caused by a correctable medical or health problem.
The extremely minor success of women's Rogaine in a tiny percentage of women is not worth mentioning and anyone promising that a potion, treatment, vitamin or drug will regrow hair is lying.
Believe me, if anything really regrew hair, it would not be a secret; someone would already be a zillionaire from selling it.
After establishing that fact, I had to decide what to do because I was unwilling to walk around looking half bald. I'm not that liberated from convention.
I found a hair stylist who showed me how to use a light mousse and to take advantage of a cowlick to minimize the appearance of baldness at my crown and front hairline.
In the four months since, I've been doing that but as I told a TGB reader who recently asked how it's going, I continue to lose hair every day.
When I make the effort, I can sort of hide the bald place on my crown but it's getting bigger and thinner and I know I'm not fooling anyone. Even if I were, I don't really have the patience to arrange my hair so carefully every day and check constantly to be sure it hasn't been disturbed.
Obviously, I needed a new solution. In May, I had determined that my choices were:
- Find a hair stylist who can help
- Wear wigs
- Shave my head and go bald
Well, not so fast, Ronni. There is another choice: hats.
In some circumstances, I have always worn hats. On a shelf in a back closet, I have three elegant fur hats for cold, winter weather but no longer, in northwest Oregon, a reason to wear them as I had in New York City.
I do my best to avoid being in the sun for any length of time but I have some sun hats for the occasions when there is no choice.
Plus, three or four times during the farmer's market season here, a woman named Eli sells the most gorgeous, flowery sunhats she makes such as you would see at Queen Elizabeth's garden parties. They are reasonable priced and I've bought four so far.
There is also a small assortment of other hats I've collected over the years for rain, for mucking about in the snow in Maine when I lived there or just because I liked the hat.
So the only thing left for me to do was to make the decision to wear hats full time. Which I did, gradually, over the past three or four weeks until now, it has become second nature to grab one even to go to the mailbox or recycling bins.
Having settled into this new state of being, last week I filled the six-foot empty wall in the hall to my bedroom with hooks on which to hang my hats. It's decorative and easy to see them all when I'm making a choice for the day.
Fall and winter hats are just hitting the stores and I'll be adding some, I'm sure, in the next few weeks. After trying one, I'm pretty sure that berets, in a variety of colors, will become my default hat.
I am already well known among the vendors at the farmer's market on Saturdays as the hat lady because the sun is bright at 8:30AM and a hat protects my face. So it's not a stretch to become the hat lady generally.
Besides, it's fun and it's a great conversation starter. Grocery checkout clerks, people in restaurants, even strangers in the street often stop to tell me they like my hat.
One day, a man tapped me on the shoulder to tell me that his daughter, the little four-year-old whose hand he was holding, was fascinated with my hat and had insisted they follow me at the farmer's market while she looked at it. We had a fine conversation and she tried on my hat. Oh, dear. Poor dad. I'm afraid that's going to cost him.
Sorry about the weird color of the photos below – I have not learned to compensate for all the fluorescent lights we now have in our homes and I hate taking selfies anyway. But here are four of my hats.
I'm also sorry I didn't get the angle right in the two shots on the right to better show off the decorations on those two hats.
I haven't figured out what to wear at home when I have guests. Probably scarves but that's going to be a tough learning curve – I've never been good at tying them.
The bottom line is that I will never again have enough hair to cover my head and I'm tired of wondering if my bald place is showing so hats are a fine - and fun - solution.
Maybe some day I will be confident enough to just shave my head and go bald but I'm not there yet and wigs seem a lot more work than hats. All I need to do now that I've made the hat decision is to visit the hair stylist now and then to keep what hair is left at a length that looks good with the hats.
Nobody tells us, when we're young, about all these little problems we'll face in old age and there's no instruction manual - we have to figure it out on our own.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Marc Leavitt: On Other Places, Other Times