Hair loss has occured to me over a long period of time, and I've had to deal with it, and I can assure you, the journey has not been easy. People who lose their hair (both men and women), have to deal with a profound change and appearance in their life. And, looking in the mirror each day, doesn't make it any easier!
Losing my hair was a bit of a surprise to me, because it was not hereditary. My father and both of my grand-fathers had a full head of hair. If there was baldness in my family, I could expect to lose, at least, some of my hair, but there was no baldness in my family at all. For, most of the hair-loss happened to me about from the age of forty to my mid-fifties. Month after month...my appearance changed, and I was not happy about that!
Throughout my marriege of nineteen years, I was concerned about my hair loss, but what could I do about it? Buy some snake-oil and rub it in my scalp? The hair loss really became an issue with me, when my ex-wife and I parted our ways. Now, I was very concerned about the hair loss, and now it was a different story. All kinds of ugly questions came into my mind: "Would another woman ever look at me again? If I asked a woman to dance, would she turn me down? Would I ever wear a rug? (wig) Getting a hair transplant was out of the question because of the expense. How was I going to handle all of this?
The first thing I had to answer, was would I ever wear a wig? Maybe, the process of sewing a wig onto the head has advanced, and in many cases maybe not even noticable. But, even if I could afford it, would I do it? I would always have to fear of the wig falling into my soup...or worse yet, falling into someone else's soup! And, I would have to deal with the practical jokers of the world, etc.
Years ago, I worked for an engineering company for over ten years, and a man named Les was the head of our drafting department. He was about 48 years old at the time of this incident I'll describe, and he was bald as a bowling ball. He was the type of person who lost his hair early on in life...in his late twenties and early thirties. I knew Les for many years and got to know him as he was...not how he would be.
One day, Les came into our lab, and was wearing something on top of his head...it was a rug! My boss and I were working together that day, and both of us did a double-take when we saw Les enter the lab. Boy o boy, what was I going to say? I didn't know if Les was just folling around or if he was serious about wearing the wig! I knew this would be a delicate subject, and I would have to handle it carefully. Les just stood there, waiting for a comment on his new look. Me and my boss just stood there with our mouths open, and a blank look on our faces and neither of us knew what to say!
I had to say something, and I was coming up short for words, so I turned to my boss and asked, "Is today Halloween, Tony?" Both Les and my boss started laughing! I thought a little humor would help to break the stress of the moment. I was still tongue-tied and I was trying to find the right words to address the situation, but I was having trouble, and I could tell my boss was having trouble, too!
So, I took a chance on what I thought would be a little bit more humor to break up the stress and said to Les, "I've never met you before, sir, but you look a lot like the head of our drafting department, Les, who works down the hall. There's a striking resemblance! Have you ever met, Les? Les started laughing, and responded, "No I have never met this guy, Les!" All three of us had a good laugh at what was happening. But, could I get serious with this issue and how to handle it? NO, this was a delicate situation.
Luckily, Les didn't stay long, and he left the lab after a couple of minutes. Me and my boss just stood there, looking at each other like a "tree full of owls," at what had just happened! We were both tongue-tied. I remember telling my boss...that no matter how much hair I lose, I would NEVER wear a rug...NEVER! So, the day had arrived...it was time for me to put up or shut up. How was I going to handle the hair-loss situation I find myself in, and what was I going to do about it?
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To get the answer, I had to go back to my child-hood,days etc. I'm Hispanic, and I grew up in one of the worst neighborhoods (barrios), near the railroad yards in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I didn't speak or write the English language well. (still don't) The neighborhood was predominately Hispanic, and at the age of fourteen, my family moved to a predominately White neighborhood in the Heights of Albuquerque. It was at this young age, that I would ave to make a decision, as to how I would handle myself, for the rest of my life.
One of my sisters was embarressed to be Hispanic! She would meet her dates at the front door and scamper out of the house...she didn't want them to come into the house and see the family! It's true...that's the way she was...embarrassed of her own family! She was very light complected and didn't look Hispanic at all. She told me she wanted to be White! Can you believe that? I told my sister she was heading down the wrong track, and she should be proud of her race and her family. Of course, she would never listen to a fourteen your old bubble-gummer like me!
At school, kids would tease me because I didn't speak the English well. But, it would only be time that would cure that problem, as I had to get used to speaking the English language. And, so at a young age I had to decide if I was going to be a phoney-boloney like my sister, or if I was going just to be myself. Despite the teasing I got...I decided to just BE MYSELF! I didn't want to be White or any other color. I didn't want to be another race, either! And, so it is with the hair loss...there's not much I can do about what nature has done to me, and I just have to continue to BE MYSELF! There's no other option!
After my ex-wife and I parted, I joned a singles club of about 650 members. This would be the test for me, as far as women were concerned. The club has a large dance floor and I've always loved to dance and I have been "shaking my booty," since I was ten years old, when rock and roll first started. Now...the "proof was in the pudding," as I was going to have to decide to ask a woman to dance. Could I do it? I was worried about getting rejected, because of my appearnce, which would be a BIG minus for me. I have to say, I was quite nervous when I went to the singles club for a dance for the first time.
The band was rocking that night, and I wanted so bad to get out on the dance floor in the worst way...but I didn't ask a woman to dance all night, for fear of getting rejected! And, believe me, it was painful, because I'm usually the first one out on the dance floor. I enjoyed the music and the dance that night, but was not happy about the fact that I couldn't get the courage to ask a woman to dance! If I was ever going to dance again I was going to have to dig deep and come up with the courage I needed, to ask a woman to dance, and that's all there was to it.
I have never had to drink to get the "courage" needed to ask a woman to dance, so drinking was out. The courage had to come from inside of me...and, hopefully that time, would come for me later, as I got used to being single. To make a long story short...I finally did get the courage to ask a woman to dance, and was not rejected! Hooray! I was so excited! Over the next several weeks, every woman I asked to dance...danced with me, and boy, it sure helped to raise my self-esteem and confidence! I can truly say...I was so relieved!
But, over the next 18 months, something happened that astonished me. To this day (2006), I still can't believe it all happened to me, and continues to happen to me. During that time, over 35 different women (all ages) have asked ME to dance! And, everytime a woman would ask me to dance, I have been honored...but still I was shocked! Why me? Do these women need to have their eyes examined? Do they feel sorry for me? Do they think I'm a wall-flower and need some company? Do these women have to see a shrink? ME? Were these women so lonely, they would ask ME to dance? During this time, I was so confused as to what was happening to me, and I had no idea what to think!
I have to say, that I am a good dancer, because I've been doing it for so long. (are we braggin again, Jer?) Going back to the mid-fifties, when rock and roll first started. A woman doesn't like to dance with a "weapon of mass destruction," who steps on her feet and breaks her back in the process. But, I'm told that there are women who like bald men. And, there are women who wouldn't be caught dead with a bald man! (I wouldn't be caught dead with a bald man, either!) So, it is said that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," (please). Needless to say, over the 18 month period, I was starting to feel a lot better about myself. But, in 2006, I still get nervous when I ask a woman to dance...I always feel a pink slip is on the way!
But, this article is not about dancing or ramance...it's about an ATTITUDE! How is a person going to deal with losing their hair? Will they wear a baseball cap everywhere they go, including the shower? Will they wear a wig? What will they do to try to keep their self-esteem and confidence up? And, for those people who get ONE GRAY HAIR...THEY PANIC...THE SKY IS FALLING...and go out and buy a 55 gallon drum of hair-coloring and jump in it! I don't think they would understand the pain a person feels in losing their hair goes through...and, it's usually for a long itme. So, if a person has their hair...gray or some other color, they should enjoy it...and be lucky they still have hair to enjoy!
It was the great philosopher and comedian, Flip Wilson, who was one of America's great comics of our time. And, in doing his character named "Geraldine," who said, WHAT YOU SEE...IS WHAT YOU GET...SUCKER! I echo those words! Attitude is everything...and, my attitude with respect to losing my hair is simple: BE MYSELF...and, grow old gracefully...SUCKER!