To Wig or Not to Wig

It’s been six weeks since I shaved my head and though I’ve gotten used to the feeling of being bald, I still startle sometimes when I pass a mirror and wonder who that person is looking back. Be that as it may, I have not rushed out to wig up like I thought I would and that surprises me.

The transformative power of a wig is amazing. Queen Latifah’s character, Carlotta, on the Netflix series, Star, is a prime example of that. How fun, one might think, would it be to have that choice and all that flexibility?

Wigs actually aren’t that much fun—they’re hot, there are a lot of bad styles out there, and they’re expensive.

Real human hair wigs can easily run $1,000 but you need to really trust the source. Some companies say “human hair” when in actuality the wig can contain some human hair but also animal hair and/or synthetic fibre. In some countries, there are reports of women being grabbed for their hair. Imagine that horror.

Most of the wigs sold in stores here are made of synthetic material and from what I’ve been told, a good one can be had for $400 or so. Some health care plans offer coverage for wigs, so it pays to check if you’re not sure.

In the Wig Salon at The Cross Cancer Hospital in Edmonton, a group of volunteers help women find a suitable style from amongst the vast inventory of wigs that people have donated to the cause. These wigs are on free loan to patients for as long as they need them.

A small portion of wigs on display at the Cross Cancer Hospital’s Wig Salon.

My first experience with trying on wigs at the hospital salon didn’t go so well. Nothing worked. I was cranky and unsure if I even wanted one. I left dejected.

Not feeling it.

But, people kept telling me to have a wig on hand for those times I want to go out to dinner or the symphony or shopping and just feel “normal”, so I went back when I was calmer and in a more positive frame of mind and had some fun.

I met some interesting woman, as a result, and I thought you might like to meet them, too.

Barbara

Hello there, I’m Barbara! I’m a Reiki instructor (Usui Tibetan Master Level) on Gabriola Island and a long-time supporter of CBC radio. I wear a lot of linen, have a fantastic, natural fibre scarf collection, and will never turn down a dusty dry gin martini (extra olives). On a recent trip to Peru, I learned to speak Quechua, the language of the indigenous people who live in the Andean Mountains. Voted Top Recycler in my condo building, three years running. I have a Persian cat named Rumi.

My name is Deidre Dawson, and I’m a Data Entry Specialist for National Fastener Supply, Inc. Everyone at the office calls me Dee but at Pain & Pleasure on 4th Street, I go by Mistress Double D. My temper matches my hair colour and that’s exactly what the men at P&P pay for. I hate my office job. I sit in a cubicle next to a guy who clips his toenails every Tuesday during his lunch break. Today, I spent 6 hours inputting 126 cases of hanger bolts from China, so I might be a little more whip-happy than usual at the club tonight, just sayin’.

I’m Sam. People tell me I look like Alex Vause from Orange is the New Black. I get it. It’s the height, the hair, the glasses. We both have an androgynous name and I did some community bullshit service for selling weed…seriously WEED, like get a fucking grip. I believe in individuality, so I dyed my hair hot pink, got my tongue pierced and wear a lot of black. My favourite bands are Fall Out Boy and Weezer. People call me “emo”. Whatever. They suck. I want to move to my own planet.

And let’s not forget who I met in a thrift store in July.

I’m Cheyenne. I was conceived during Woodstock and grew up in Tennessee on a commune called The Farm. For the past seven years, my boyfriend, Icarus and I have been living near New Denver where we make cheese from the milk of our Toggenburg goats and sell it at the Farmers’ Market in Nelson. Ic is the son of Vasilios Papadakis, the Greek shipping tycoon (cha-ching!) who died in that freak column accident at the Temple of Poseidon in March. Shoot me a DM if you’re interested in the Toggenburgs because we’re leaving the Kootenays and buying the island of Skopelos; the only goats in my future will be roasting on a spit.

So, what do you think: am I a Barbara, a Diedre, a Sam or a Cheyenne? Do you have a similar wig experience? I’m curious to hear how it went.

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Author: Twyla Campbell

World-wide wanderer, CBC Edmonton AM Restaurant Reviewer, Member of Edmonton’s Slow Food convivium, oenophile, epicurean explorer and a freelance writer whose works have appeared in several magazines and newspapers including More, Above & Beyond, Avenue (Edmonton), Up Here, Northern Flyer, Opulence, City Palate, the Edible Prairie Journal, The Edmonton Journal, Slow Food Canada, Lifestyle Alberta, and on Slow Food Edmonton’s website. Grant MacEwan University (Professional Writing Program) Bachelor of Applied Communications Degree (in progress). I’m a Tweeter @wanderwoman10

16 thoughts on “To Wig or Not to Wig

  1. OMG this left me in absolute stitches! I think I peed my pants. I love that you are facing this challenge with humour! I always say, if you can’t laugh at least once per day, you’re in big trouble! Being that I have known you for almost 50 years, I can honestly say there is a bit of you in each one of these women! High 5 to you for your amazing attitude!

  2. I love the first one and u certainly can pull off the red. My friend chose not to wear a wig and found freedom in just being bald and now that she has recovered still chooses to keep hair really short. She said its nice to just get out of shower and go. (Wash and wear). You have inner beauty. Do what makes you feel good.

    1. There is definitely freedom in not being a slave to washing, drying, blowdrying, styling etc when it comes to hair. I’m curious to see what my hair will be like as it grows back…right now there are some blinding white ones coming in full force which has me concerned. lol

  3. As you know ChefGail chose hats rather than wigs and they became a symbol for her. Be brave and hold your head high.

  4. Those bios were absolutely priceless. So specific in their back stories. It’s a delight to see you having some fun in the moment too

  5. Hey Twyla! a Big hug to you! Just know that if you choose one… You’ll look great in any of them, or without any of them. The woman you see in the mirror, that wonderful, talented, fun, amazing human being will still be there to walk with you on the thrilling journey of life, so you’ll always have very good company no matter what!
    Now… Although not a “wig experience” I always had a negative review about my heavy curly hair (and chubby existence) while growing up, and incredibly enough there are those brave ones that at my 46 seem to still have something to say about “them curls”. To some, straight hair, or slightly wavy would be the way to go… I guess to them I don’t look “clean” or “neat” unless I hold them up, I’ve been given unrequested advice from people I bump with, or that haven’t seen in centuries… these are some of those: “Have you thought wearing it straight “? , “You know they have this ION technology…..!”, “I’ve heard of a keratin treatment that straightens your hair forever!” and stuff like that my black ancestor wouldn’t like to hear. Then, I started to make peace with people’s opinion about my hair (you know what opinions are like anyways lol) I wear “them curls” anyhow and time I want, hold them up if I’m hot, leave them down if I care.

    1. Thank you, Tania, for those sweet words 🙂 Regarding your glorious curls: I’ve learned that when people criticize someone’s appearance, it’s coming from a place of sadness within themselves. Whatever they say to cut someone down makes them feel superior. So next time someone offers “advice”, pat them on the hand, smile and say, “Thank you for caring so much about me but I’m good.” And just so you know, whenever I see your pic on FB or get a messenger text from you, I see a beautiful sparkly-eyed woman with GORGEOUS hair, a wonderful sense of humour and giant-sized heart. So, please stay as you, k? xoxo

  6. I wore a wig because it made others feel more comfortable. I hated wearing it. But then, I didn’t go into it with the same sense of humour you did. Thanks for the laugh.

    1. It’s really odd being suddenly bald. How do you shirk decades of conditioning of what society has taught us about beauty? Those Breck girls; L’Oreal’s “You’re worth it” campaigns; the aisles in stores stocked floor to ceiling with products, accessories and appliances? Everything a woman needs to have the most beautiful hair possible. And then you’re bald and you don’t need any of that and you look in the mirror and think, “now what?” It’s difficult going from fully tressed to stark naked bald. Definitely not an easy transition and yeah, you can assume the “fuck it I’m fierce” attitude, but it takes a ton of guts to really feel that 100%. So, we try wigs and learn that they’re hot and itchy and most of them look horrible….but at least people don’t give you a second look when they pass you in a store, and sometimes that’s all we need to feel good during a time where feeling good is in short supply. Such is the struggle. xoxo

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