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Baldy Sour (or why I wear a wig)

“I look like an old baldy sour!”, my beloved late grandma, Mim, used to say every time she donned her bathing cap for a dip in pool. I didn’t know what that meant, but have since looked it up, and as suspected it’s an old-timey term for a bald head. Who’d have guessed? It’s not a term I’m particularly fond of, good memories or not, because it is far too apt in describing me. That’s right friends; those lustrous locks you see in the postage size pic of me over there to the right did not spring from my scalp. In truth, I am a baldy sour and it kind of sucks.

Growing up I was always told how lucky I was that male pattern baldness was inherited from the mother’s side. Rightfully, I should have been spared my father’s fate and enjoyed the nice thick hairline on the Irish side of the family. I was 25 in basic training when they buzzed the thick mop of unruly hair right down to my bare scalp. In the coming weeks, guys would peer into the mirror at the fuzz quickly growing that allowed them to feel like people again, and not just whatever shitty nickname the drill sergeant screamed at them. I did my share of peering with growing dismay. Yeah, hair was growing back all right, but in a very distinctive horseshoe pattern even the most “I can give a shit” type of guy dreads to see. I tried my best to develop a delusion that this was stress related.

It was not, and got progressively worse as time went on. I looked into Rogaine, but on an Air Force enlisted salary, the stuff was considerably outside of my price range. I took to wearing a baseball cap at every opportunity, although the insanely rigorous regulations regarding dress code in the military forbade this inside. When I got stationed at my first duty post, one of my first actions was to order from a wig catalog, even though I had a roommate and zero opportunity to dress. It was more important to at least have the means, if not the privacy.

Since then I have resigned myself to being a wig girl. When dressing only occasionally, it wasn’t such a big deal. Now that I’m moving rapidly toward full time, I’m once again bothered by it. When I started hormones, many people were quick to point out that HRT can re-grow lost hair. Yeah… if you have a small missing patch or something, but over half my melon is apple smooth. It’s just not going to happen. Here and there I get mad that I can get breast augmentation, remove my beard, get facial surgery, get bottom surgery, but no matter what I do, I’ll never have real hair again; just one part of me that will never quite be ‘natural’ looking.

For a while I stressed about the bad parts. Wigs are hard to care for. They get tangled so easy and when you try to unknot the hair, it tends to come out. Wearing a wig in the summertime is like having a nice warm hat on your head. I’m always afraid of it getting caught in a door or something and yanking it off. It gets caught in my purse strap, the seatbelt, and in my winter coat. People who would never, ever say boo about your real hair feel free to critique it as a fashion accessory. It goes on and on, but I can’t go without. Nothing gets you made at a distance like the George Costanza look.

Once I get it out of my system though, I can see an upside. I can affix it to my scalp for longer wears. I don’t have to buy nearly as much product. I can change my look in seconds, never victim to the arduous process of waiting for a bad cut to grow out. I can buy real human hair, hand tied to a perfect fit lace cap that can be cut, styled, dyed and dried. Finally, cisgender women buy wigs as well, and sometimes for the same reason. Thank god, because otherwise the market just wouldn’t be there to make them! All in all, in terms of problems to have, I think I can live with this one.

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