1 December 2011

Hairdressers Don't Lie

For the past few months I’ve been constantly reassured me that my $1600 hair could pass as my own. I’ve requested that my loved ones tell me if something goes awry, such as obvious slippage or badly coiffed bangs. But it’s unanimous. Everyone says my wig is perfect. Everyone except Cosmo.

August 2011. Cosmo's Best Work.
Cosmo has been my hairdresser for over twenty years. I’ve cheated on him with other stylists, but I always come back to his salon because we belong together. I love him because he’s honest, unapologetic, and excellent with hair. He loves me because I’ve paid for his Audi.

Yesterday I went to his salon at the Manulife Centre.  He sat me down and gave me a good long look, followed by one of his rare frowns. “Who cut this?” he asked. "Richard", I said, in the tone of one who admitted that they had snuck off to Top Cuts. Then I asked if he could tell it was a wig. Cosmo didn’t hesitate, “Yes.”

Finally! Thank you God and Haridressers! What a relief to hear what I’ve suspected all along. Though I’ve always thought that while my wig looks good, it doesn’t look like the real thing. (But not as bad as the tranny at Continental Hair who was having his ringlets curled. I know I look better then that). I’ve never been one of those people who wants hear that I look good unless it's true. The ultimate kindness is telling a friend when they have a fashion disaster, because you’re giving them the opportunity to improve.

If my arse looks fat in a pair of jeans I want to know. And I truly appreaciate being steered from colour that isn’t flattering, because I’ll never figure things out by myself. (Sister Sue says no more black turtlenecks 'cus I'm too pale and too old. Thank you!). So I’m truly grateful when someone gives me the benefit of their opinion. It’s may be going out on a limb but if someone makes the effort of giving honest feedback, I’m stepping up to the plate. I’m still a work in progress, and I don’t work well alone. 

“The average person probably can’t tell it ‘s a wig, but I can,” said Cosmo, gently sweeping the bangs out of my eyes, “But that’s okay. We’re going to fix you.”

30 November 2011

Keep on Truckin'

When I was in high school, my friends' super groovy brother had a T-shirt that said ‘Keep on Truckin’.  It was in a crazy rounded font with bad grammar, but I thought it was really cool. Originally from a comic book, it became a slogan for optimism in the 70’s and resonated with people of all ages, even me.

Prior to that, I don’t remember any zippy slogans at all, unless you include the biblical ones. My Grandma Catherine used to say that, 'God helps those who helps themselves’, which, when you think about it, isn’t that much different than ‘Keep on Truckin’. In fact, most of my favourite life quotes bear semblance to my friends’ brothers’ T-shirt with the big fat font.

When life eventually evolved beyond acne and essays I found a few new phrases which were helpful in day to day life.  ‘Keep the Faith’ (Jon Bon Jovi) made it’s way into my heart, as did, ‘Life’s a Journey not a Destination’ (Emerson, then Tyler).  Later, to cover any missteps and adventures I fell back on ‘Man Plans, God Laughs’.

These days I’ve come to rely upon a few chosen words. As November winds down I feel victorious at having made it through my least favorite month without falling  apart. Granted, the treatments are making me feel a little more crabby (at times) and puffy (at times) and hairless (all the time). But with a little bit of lipstick and a few favourite quotes, I think I’ve done rather well.

This isn’t the first time I’ve shared my precious jewels, but as most of my friends are losing their memory, it’s like they’ll be hearing it again for the first time!

◊ Ask for what you need
◊ Do what ought to be done
◊ Feel the fear and add some courage
◊ Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be
◊ No one can make you feel inferior without your consent

To me, these words are perfect in their strength and simplicity. But if you need to gussy them up, to each could be added ... and Keep on Trucking.

28 November 2011

Chemo Curl

Granny Hair
My Scottish grandmother had whispy white hair covered by a hairnet. Beneath the net, which had tiny sparkles, she had a tight white perm. I used to marvel at the small neat rolls and wonder how they came to be, until I caught sight of the wee spongy hair rollers that she left on her dresser. It is a hairdo I never wanted, but surprisingly, one that I may get nonetheless.

In the excitement about my bristles growing out this spring, I’ve overlooked the reality that my hair will probably not return the way I want. For the record, I had really great hair. Thick and glossy,  in an expensive semi-natural shade of chestnut brown. Hair stylists often complimented my abundance of hair, and I agreed. I had nothing to complain about.

But there’s a rumour swirling around about something called  ‘chemo curls’. After waiting impatiently for months, my hair might come back in the form of a really bad perm. And it’s not like a fun 80’s perm either, it would be along the lines of Grandma’s. Can it be straightened? No! Tools are strictly prohibited during the first few months of regrowth due to the hairs fragility.

And it get’s worse. There is no colour guarantee, and many women are confronted with their natural silver. I did hear of one formally grey woman, whose regrowth was a delightful mahogany, but that’s seems to be the exception. In one scary tale, an acquaintances’ once dark hair came back crinkly, and red! Can it be dyed? Again, no. Dyes aren’t allowed for at least six months, until the scalp has time to heal. So my worse case scenario is a tight white geriatric perm. I can just hear my sister voice saying, "Um, maybe you should think about covering that up.”

So I check my tiny bristles daily to examine their hue. Initially there was none -  my specks of hair looked tiny rows altar candles viewed from space. These days however, my sturdy little bristles are dark and I believe they’re getting anxious to return.

Self Portrait
So in the New Year there’ll be regrowth. That much is for sure. Firstly the tufts of a duckling, followed by Style Surprise. Worst case scenario is my Gran’s hair, looking like a headful of rolled pennies (if I’m lucky), or dimes, as the case may be.

But maybe it will be the exact same brown of my youth; the one that I’ve been paying Cosmo to recreate for the last 15 years. So I gave my follicles a pep talk, and requested a silver lining that is  10% silver, and 90% chestnut brown, as befitting the head of a half Scottish lassie rather than her Gran.