"Oh...you've got a bald spot."
Wha...wha...what? "Bald" and "you" should never be uttered by my hairdresser. What could be worse?
"Here's another one."
Yeah, that was worse.
Walter has been doing my hair for more than 15 years. He knows I don't have much of a sense of humor about it. But, he said it so casually, I thought he must've been kidding.
He lifted my hair up and turned the chair so I could look. "See?"
Was he really smiling? Ass.
I fingered the hairless spot tenderly, breathless. He parted another section.
"See, here's the other one." He was still smiling. Prick ass.
Sure enough, there they were. Two bald spots. Both about the size of a quarter. He wasn't kidding. He also wasn't hysterical, which I didn't understand. He's been doing my hair for MORE THAN 15 YEARS (sure, I cheat on him, but so what?). This was a crisis of major proportions.
Walter mumbled something about "common" and how he "sees it all the time" but I was too busy trying to stay upright in the chair to really hear him. I HAD TWO BALD SPOTS for god's sake.
"Alopecia," my doc said. I'd made an appointment on the way home from the salon. "No one knows what really causes it, we think its an auto immune thing. You just had hip surgery, twice. So, that probably caused your immune system to overload."
"Will it get worse?" I asked, wide eyed. So far, it hadn't and I knew that because I checked roughly 45 times an hour.
"No way of knowing." He shook his head. "Some people lose all their hair."
Great. Somebody kill me.
Rubbing salt in my bald spots, Doc added, "Oh, and assuming it does grow back, it'll probably grow in all grey."
Hubby interrupted my wailing and gnashing of teeth over this fun fact with a reminder that I dyed my hair anyway.
That was so not the point.
Hubby also assured me no one could tell.
They probably couldn't, except I pointed it out to everyone I saw. I became even more self involved than I usually am.
"My mother's dying." Someone would say.
"You think that's bad? Look at this!" I'd yank my hair up so they could see what tragedy really looked like.
"I lost my job."
"Ha! That's nothing. Guess what I'm losing?" I'd yank my hair up again.
Luckily, I got a hold of myself before I lost ALL of my friends. I think people were crossing the street to avoid me, though. In the meantime, I got all the lotions and potions, which didn't do zip other than giving me something to do while my hair grew back.
The other thing I did to pass the time while my hair grew back (and it did, indeed, grow back) was write. I got a great character out of the deal.
Claire Corrigan, the protagonist in my novel, is totally hairless, as many alopecia sufferers are. She's pissed off about it, too. I don't have much in common with her (despite what you might think!) but I was pissed about my bald spots. I can't imagine how intolerable it would have been if I'd have gone totally cue ball.
Yeah, yeah, I know it happens to men all the time.
But, that's so not the point.
It's socially acceptable for a man to be bald. Women...not so much.
So, Claire goes through life perpetually pissed off, bitter, self involved, and let's not forget stoned. Sure, she's got other reasons, but her hairlessness defines, and drives her.
I get asked all the time what inspired me to write The Last Day for Rob Rhino. The seed was planted that one day in the salon. What if I went bald? What if I was bald and pissed at my husband? What if a bald woman and an aging porn star met? Okay, that's out of left field...but not really...and that'll be the subject of another post. But, you see where this is going. The great, "what if?"
That's what all writers do. They take the everyday situations and ask, what if? I'm just lucky enough to experience weird everyday situations. Like bald spots and porn stars.
Now, my hair is really short. In fact, it's scalp showing short. On purpose.
I still have no idea if the hair that grew in over the bald spots was grey...because I dye it.
But, that is so not the point.