I’m still sporting a full head of hair, but years ago, as my days as a person in his twenties dwindled, I began mentally preparing to lose it. It started—like most insecurities—in middle school, when my classmates heckled me that my widow’s peak hairline meant I’d one day go bald.
To be fair to those little assholes, I do kind of look like my hair is receding. It isn’t (I swear!). And though old wives’ tales that indicate I won’t go bald because my mother’s father wasn’t bald, and my dad still has a good head of hair, I still live with the fear because his dad was bald for all the parts of my life that I can remember. So from time to time, I stare in the mirror and remind myself that I will be bald. Even though the future is a mystery, I have braced for the probable, because I don’t want to be mentally unprepared to face the insecurity that physical aging can bring.
I’m learning to accept my fate now so I don’t freak out and buy a bad rug.
My problem is other people’s bad rugs. I don’t know the protocol. Do I have to pretend like I’m fooled? What is my responsibility in maintaining the follicle ruse someone else has chosen to perpetrate?
Obviously staring is rude and unnecessary. But if it’s crooked or out of place, do I have to say, “Your hair is messed up?” Can I refer to as a hairpiece? I don’t see why I should have to play dumb. If I’m able to determine that their hair isn’t lying in the manner they probably would not like for it to be, why wouldn’t I also be able to discern that it is not growing out of their head?
There was a man I used to see at large, extended-family functions (we were related, or so my mother claimed, I just don’t know how) and, in addition to constantly arranging different configurations of family photos, he had an unconvincing, frequently askew wig. (Is there a difference between a wig and a hairpiece?)
Now, if I’d been wearing a crooked hat or my fly was down someone would have told me. If I’d been wearing one of those radical faux-tattoo arm stockings no one would pretend that I had real tattoos. They would say “oh, that’s interesting” because I’m from a family of non-confrontational Midwesterners who are too reserved to bust my balls for such a strange fashion choice. So, I always wondered how we, as his family, the people who are supposed to show him love and support even if it’s in the form of hard truths, weren’t telling him to straighten his ‘do. Or better yet, how we didn’t yank it off and encourage him to embrace his hairless head.
I know that everyone should wear what makes them feel comfortable and what allows them to be themselves. But I’m not playing dumb anymore. Wear your wig. If it disheartens you that I refer to it as something other than the luxurious locks nature bestowed upon you, then you need to work on why losing your hair upsets you. Deal with that, or get a better hairpiece. I’m not going to put on a stunned face and tell you it looks so natural. It doesn’t. Your fake hair looks weird, and I saw it a mile away.
For some reason, the only people we call out on their bad toupees are people we don’t like. Our sweet second-cousin at the wedding reception we allow to look vaguely foolish. We don’t want to hurt his feelings. So we make failed attempts to keep our eyes from widening at the incongruity atop his noggin. But the dickhead at the office or in the White House is ridiculed for his unconvincing piece. Or maybe Gawker does a deep investigative article on his ugly hair. When really, we’re doing them a favor by providing useful feedback.
Speaking of President Trump and his expensively cheap—like everything in his life—hair, it’s easy to forget how effective pointing out his unconvincing hair is at derailing his train of thought. With Trump recently getting a bullseye painted on Guam and telling us to sing Kumbaya with Nazis, it can be difficult to remember the halcyon days of nine months ago when mocking his physical shortcomings would get him in a huff. But he hasn’t toughened up at all. He’s still a faux-tough, aged trust fund baby who can’t be shamed by pointing out the flaws of his ideas. We have to mock him personally. It’s the only way to send him into a hissy fit and shut down. Go for the hair.
Everyone else with toupees, know that we know. You aren’t fooling us. Step up your game or own your hair piece.
You’re clearly trying to fool me with that mess, and it isn’t working. Do you know who we pretend to be fooled by? Children. And I don’t think I should treat you like a child.
That’s cool, right?