*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member, who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
What comes close to the disappointment of a man who loses his hair at an early age? While I haven't experienced it myself, I've spoken with friends and family members who have, and they assure me it's devastating.
My father was only twenty-four years old when he started losing his hair. It was a quick and steady decline. He drove my mother bonkers ordering lotions and potions that promised to restore his hair to its former glory, but none worked.
He didn't try hair plugs, supplements, or lasers, but if he could smear it on his scalp, he was all in. One other thing my father didn't try: a toupée.
My uncle had a toupée, and it frightened me to tears the first time I saw him without it. What did I know? I thought it was his natural hair.
At Walmart where my mother worked, a cashier was going bald rapidly. He told his coworkers, including my mother, that he planned to visit a hair restoration specialist. The man was excited at the prospect of turning back the hands of time, at least when it came to his hair.
Everyone was happy for him when the big day of his appointment arrived. They couldn't wait for him to return to work to tell them more about what miracles of hair restoration he had experienced.
He returned to work the following day with his head lowered in shame; he was wearing a full-cap wig.
My mother and her coworkers could tell he felt uncomfortable with his new look. They decided not to ask him about it and let him mention it first.
He never mentioned it.
Over the next few weeks, my mother's hair-impaired coworker vacillated between wearing his wig and leaving his scalp au naturel. They never knew which version of him they were going to get.
On days when he wore the wig, he was sullen and quiet. He spoke to no one and avoided eye contact.
On days when he left the wig at home, he was his jovial old self.
It was clear which made him feel more comfortable, and his friends at work hoped he would figure it out on his own. No one planned to tell him to lose the wig. They just hoped he would, for his own sake.
Some things are more important than aesthetics.
Eventually, he phased out wearing his wig altogether and went back to his natural state.
"Without the wig, he became himself again," my mother told me. "He ditched the wig and reclaimed his happy-go-lucky attitude. My coworkers and I had our old buddy back, and we couldn't have been happier, hair or no hair."
Why would you want to Buy Me a Coffee? I am a full-time writer and a full-time unpaid caregiver to my 82-year-old father, who lives with Parkinson's. 100% of your tip or donation goes toward paying for my dad's groceries. Thank you.
Comments / 4