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Fully Dressed And Out The Door Wearing A Wig Cap... But Where Is My Wig?

Just when I thought I had safely negotiated all the obstacles of wighood, I had to deal with the pain and shame of an “unwigging.”

Exactly what I feared has now happened.

I was half way through the parking garage of my building when I noticed someone looking at me a little oddly and somewhat longer than they normally might. Unsure of their reason, I continued on. As I got closer to the end of the garage there was a strong wind. That’s when it struck me. No hair had blown into my face.


There I was fully dressed and heading into Manhattan wearing my wig cap, but no wig. I had forgotten to put my wig on. Having recently started the “wig-life,” this was my third worst wig fear. Should I be grateful it wasn’t my first or second worst fear? I don’t think that really matters any more. The point is, I nearly went “wigless” in Manhattan and it shook me to the core.

This is New York, a “don’t ask, don’t tell,” “live and let live” society where no one would have said a word to me about the missing wig but that could not change or reverse the weight of the humiliation I felt. I retreated to my apartment in haste, contemplating never leaving it again. I am new to the wig-life and had feared that one day my forgetfulness would cause me to leave home without the wig and now I have. My plan to prevent this from ever happening again is to stick a sign saying “WIG” on the inside of my front door, so it’s the last thing I see before leaving home. 

Wigs are big fashion right now and understandably so. They give us a lot more styling choice, are ready to wear, can be used to project an entirely different persona or to transform us from a weekday plain-Jane to a weekend “wow-er.” For many women wigs are for style but for a large number of us, our wig is not a fashion choice; it is a necessity, a concealer.

I am one of those women who knows the enormous and painful difference between choosing the wig-life and being forced into it. I am a woman of the “wig-hood.”

Hair loss and scalp damage from illness, trauma, aging, menopause, stress or chemicals forces us to live the wig-life and once there, we can never escape. It’s either wear the wig, or wear our heads bald, ignoring curious or hurtful stares, comments and questions, or try to laugh them off, believing that we are stronger than those whose cruelty we would have to endure. I decided it’s easier to wear a wig.

At the start of my own wig-life, like other women of the wighood, I agonized over how the need for the wig changed the way I saw myself and how I presented to the world. I am not aware of a single culture in which women do not style or adorn their hair in some way. We accept it when societies tell us that, “hair is a woman’s beauty.” Not our face or legs, not our boobs or butt, and certainly not our intellect or personality, but our hair.

When a woman loses her hair is she still beautiful? A lot of people would answer “no.” Worse yet, many of us who grapple with hair loss stop feeling beautiful and it takes a lot of talking to ourselves and emotional support to get past that pain. 

Watching the reality TV series “Arranged” recently, I found myself, a mature, married, Black woman, identifying with the uncertainty and anxiety of a young, Jewish bride-to-be, choosing and fitting her first wig. Her faith brought her to the wig-life but women who enter the wighood unwillingly also fight anxiety. It isn’t easy for our partners and families either, they become part of the wighood and wig-life too, suffering along with us. The wig-life introduces all kinds of new daily decisions and habits such as remembering to get your wig or a scarf if someone comes to the house.

After choosing wighood, the next decision was, custom made wig or store bought, worn with or without wig cap? Then finding a wig that looks natural and appealing and not as if it came from a hardware store. Was one wig enough or did I need several? Thankfully, wig prices are as varied as wigs, suiting every face, taste, personality type, purse and pocket. Next I had to get used to wearing a wig, every day, everywhere, no matter the weather. How was it to be kept on, wig glue, wig strips, wig band, wig clips? What about sex – wig on/wig off??

Just when I thought I had safely negotiated all the obstacles of wighood, I had to deal with the pain and shame of an “unwigging,” which I define as losing or being unwillingly seen in public without one’s wig. That was one of my major fears of the wig-life.

Do I have other wig fears? Yes. Number one – that I will be forced to attend a work meeting or social event without my wig because I lost it on the way there and can’t get a hat, scarf or suitable head cover. Number two – that I will leave home with my wig but a very high wind or a carelessly pointed umbrella will drag it off my head and half of New York will whip out their cell phones, record my unwigging, post it on social media where it will go viral, providing many happy hours of entertainment for the cruel and the insensitive.

I can only live in hope that having seen fear number three happen, the wig demons are satiated and will not punish me by making fears number one and two a reality. That would be almost unbearable, too much to wrap my head or wig around.

I am a consultant, lawyer, writer, speaker, motivator. Visit my new blog LizOnLife-Site@wordpress. Facebook page: Liz Thompson.

My first motivational book will be out soon.

I am also a former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations. In my native Barbados I was a Minister and Senator. I hold LLM, MBA, LLB, LEC, degrees.

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