1 March 2012

Oo - Oo Itchy Woman

When I was in high school, I had a friend with a swimming pool in her back yard. She wasn’t my friend just because of the pool, though being associated with such luxury was a major coup.

On sunny summer afternoons, when we should have been working, we’d watch ‘Another World’ followed by a leisurely swim. Both her parents worked, so we pretty much had the house to ourselves. On hot days the phone would start ringing, and other friends would drop by. It was all very relaxed unless we received a phone call from ‘the guys’.
‘Okay Jan,’ she said, hanging up the phone one afternoon, ‘The guys are coming over. Get up, we’ve got to shave.' We were only sixteen, and didn’t know anything about getting our bikini lines waxed, so we took care of things with any available razor. I’d like to think it was her mom’s, but who knows? It all happened with such urgency than I used any tool that was placed in my hand.

By the time our gentleman callers had arrived we were hairless, and reclining prettily on the chaise lounges. They didn’t care. They thought of us like sisters and wouldn’t have noticed moss growing out of our bathing suits. Water was the only thing that interested them. Followed closely by their DuMaurier cigarettes, six-pack of Export Ale, and a Burger King Whopper, with fries.

Hair grows very quickly when shaved. And in sensitive areas, it comes back itchy. So following our afternoons with the guys came a whole lot of scratching. Multiply that feeling by a few decades, and here I go again. The return of my hair is not nearly as subtle as it’s departure. It’s like springtime all over my body (yes, I'm bald everywhere), and in the more delicate areas I’m keenly aware of its return (scratch scratch). It’s barely visible, but I can feel a million tiny follicles bursting with life. As exciting as this may be, I’ve enjoyed my silky smoothness, and having legs that were pool-ready, all the time.

Tomorrow is spa day (my first in a long time) with some favorite friends. Tonight four gorgeous gals will be drinking Chardonnay and wrestling with wax, hiding in their bathroom and contorting into painful pretzels, trying to rip out every stubborn hair. And moi? I’m still almost as smooth as a baby’s arse, and as long as I can keep from scratching myself, pool-ready one more time.

27 February 2012

Foxy Lady

I was wrestling with my wig recently, trying to make it pretty. It was sitting in my lap, and I was attacking it with a brush, when Jim poked his head in the room. ‘What are you doing?’ he asked. To which I replied, ‘Trying to fix my hair.’ He looked at the tangled mess in my hands and told me,‘That is not your hair.’ Then he pointed to my head, ‘That’s your hair.'

The funny thing is, the wig has become my hair. It took me about two months to get used to wearing it, but since it sat right next to my skin, it became my official 'do. Because it was comfortable, I made it a habit to keep it on all the time, taking it off only in the evening.  In my mind, I am a girl with a smart brown bob.

But underneath the wig, I am a Silver Haired Fox-ette. The little bristles have gotten longer, and are not so bristley anymore. In fact, I can grab my soft hairs between my thumbs and forefinger and give them a little tug. (The area that was formerly a Friar Tuck bald spot has started to fill in, though it is in no way fit for public viewing, as the hairs are only slightly longer than a hamster.)
Foxy Lady!

So now, instead of having Head & Hair, I have Head & Hair & Hair. It feels wrong to have two layers of hair! Particularly since both of them are mine, and I still need to wear them together. My $1,600 investment is no longer disguising the fact that I am bald, it is now disguising my unwelcome shade of silver.

Due to popular demand (not really) I am attaching a photo. But don’t expect to see it in person, because the moment it gets long enough, I’m going to add some colour.  This Fox-ette, as soon as possible,  is going back to brown.

26 February 2012

Second Best Story, Ever

I don’t like hospitals. But then Jim reminds me that Mt Sinai Hotel & Spa is a place of healing, rather than a place of torture. It’s always a welcome reminder, and a few days ago I had the chance to experience a stranger's success story in person.

I was standing in the lobby, waiting for my friend. It was a busy afternoon, and people were rushing around everywhere. On all sides of me patients were pouring out of elevators, as revolving doors spat out one puffy parka after another. Medical personnel, surgical masks hanging around their necks, whizzed by clutching midday caffeine. 

Amongst the throngs, I noticed one man standing still. I’d happened to glance over at an elevator just as it unloaded it contents; a Shriners’ busload of passengers.  As they flew off in different directions, this man stayed where he was, standing just outside the elevator doors. He was short fellow with a thatch of thick white hair and wore a retirees uniform of beige windbreaker, button down shirt, and baggy chinos that were clean and ironed. His hands were in his pockets. I guessed he was Irish, and if he hadn’t look so tired he could have been an elf. But he was slightly stooped over and appeared a little lost. His large eyes, which were clear and blue, scanned the crowd slowly.

Following his gaze, I noticed a tall woman rushing across the floor. Her smart green hat perfectly matched her coat, and she carried a handbag.  She looked worried, as though she may be late, and I took her to be his wife. It was she who he was waiting for, and when he saw the green hat move through the sea of plainer hats his face softened, and he stood up a little taller. They were about twenty feet apart when their eyes finally locked, and as she worked her way through the crowd he started to smile. Unable to contain himself, his smile broadened, and as his face split wide open a thousand laugh lines formed around his eyes and he took his hands out of his pockets, extended both arms, and held up his thumbs with such vigour that I thought that lightning would fly across the room.

The lady in the green hat paused and cupped her hands over her mouth. With one more step she threw her arms around the little man and pulled him close. Laughing, he gazed up at her, sharing happy details. She looked down at him adoringly, pulling him even closer, and buried her face in his hair. He leaned into her chest, his arms around her waist, hands clasped tightly behind her back.

My friend kissed me on the cheek and I turned to greet her. When I looked for the couple they'd left, and the spot where they’d clung together had already been taken over. But at that moment I knew two things. Firstly, the couple, wherever they went, were heading towards something splendid. I knew that for certain. Secondly, (and more selfishly), their memory is mine to summon forever. There will be bad days at Mount Sinai, and I have many more appointments ahead. But for days that are less than perfect, there will always be a small blue-eyed man standing by the elevator, waiting to share some good news, with lightening flying out of his fingers.