My hair has always been very fine; fine little strands, but enough of them to give me a healthy head of hair. Nothing extravagant, but enough.
This past year, though, has been hard on my hair. Hormonal issues, quite a bit of extra stress, and a few rounds of poisoning myself in the studio have left me with significantly less hair than I’ve ever had before. I don’t like it. I might even be a bit obsessed with worrying about it.
I’ve read everything I can find about hair loss, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. My reading has led me to biotin, but the biotin isn’t working quickly enough and so now I’m reading up on everything from laser brushes to hair transplants. I’m planning ahead to when I’m as bald as a cue ball, wondering if I’ll feel comfortable wearing my baldness proudly a la James Carville, or if my vanity will require me to wear a wig.
On the off-chance that my hair does plan on growing back and thickening up, I’ve cut it back to shoulder length to wait out the new growth, and last week decided to buy some volumizing products. Rusk Thick smelled the best and seemed the least goopy, and so I used it on Thanksgiving. First, this product works by giving your hair a bit of texture and making it appear fuller than it would on its own. Then, it works to bring on an allergic reaction which makes your scalp feel as if someone has rubbed it with sandpaper, and then your hair falls out. If this is what it’s supposed to do? It’s awesome!
And so, with less hair than I had this time last week, I drove Jake to school this morning. Since Jake’s car accident, I don’t mind occasional mornings when I need to drive him to school unless there is an overeager, newly licensed teen driver riding up my car’s butt, as there was this morning. The kid was so close it was distracting.
“Dude,” I say to my rearview mirror, “BACK OFF.”
I tap the brakes, and he seems to take this as a throw down and moves in closer.
“You little jerk!” And out of spite I slow down a bit. I’m a woman going bald, and I’m not to be messed with.
“My hair does not need this. Look at this,” I say to Jake, holding up a thin hank of my hair, “Speed Racer back there is making me molt. Between the poisoning and the molting… Oy.”
“The toxins stay in your hair, ” offers Jake, “on CSI they test hair samples to see if people have been poisoned. And that’s how they know when people have died of arsenic poisoning. It’s in the hair.”
We’ve pulled into the school drop-off line, and so I turn and stare at him. He grins and nods slowly to the laid-back rhythm in his head.
“Sure. They got poisoned with things that didn’t make their hair fall out. I’m going to go bald and then I will die. There won’t be anything left to test!” I’ve intentionally missed his point because I’m bitter that there are corpses with better hair than mine. And this isn’t about science, this is about my head.
After a moment’s silence, Jake offers, “plants grow when you yell at them.”
“Maybe we should get Matt to yell at your hair.” Matt does a fair amount of yelling, and contrary to what Jake has suggested I don’t think more yelling would be helpful to my hair. I suspect it has not been so far.
“But it’s really the CO2 the plants like. ” Jake adds. “When you yell at them, you’re giving them CO2. They love it.”
“Like, how much do you have to yell at the plants for it to make a difference?”
“Two, three hours a day,” said Jake. “It’s a commitment.” Another grin and he hops out of the car, he’s gone.
Later, I tell Karen of this conversation.
“So,” I finish, “Jake feels that if I had leaves, yelling at my head would be very helpful. ”
“Well,” she says, “when you yell at the cat, his fur stands straight up. And when animals are cold….. What YOU need is to be scared and cold all the time, and your hair will seem really full and thick!”
I don’t think they’re taking this seriously.