Hello all,

I was diagnosed with alopecia almost 8 months ago when I first started losing my hair. I am an "essential worker" and have worked onsite alongside my lateral colleagues and subordinates through most of the pandemic. I've been candid with those who I know well. I interact with my boss and upper management via zoom only. The director of my department was hired during the pandemic, and we haven't been getting along. At the core I think it's hard to establish trust online. 

Now that you have the background, on to today, Thursday. Monday I wore a wig to work for the first time. I just don't have enough hair left to make hats look decent any more. I have never been more nervous about how I look ever. But for the most part, it's gone well, especially because I feel comfortable around the people I work with. 

Today I joined in on a meeting the director was hosting. The director started out the meeting (included several people, but no one I've talked about the wig to) by saying my name and, "look at your hair? Is it REAL?" 

I just nodded no because I was on mute and kind of shocked. Director responded, "Ah, I thought so." and then moved on to actual business. 

Because of this experience, I feel like I wasted a lot of money on this wig, and I don't want to wear it. More importantly, I want to call out this behavior and let the director know how inappropriate it was. But they make twice the salary as me and we don't have a good working relationship. Anyone have a similar experience or advice on how I can do this tactfully and in a way that makes helpful impact?

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Sounds like a real jerk! But, keep the faith that most folks are supportive and alopecia can strike anyone at anytime. After a routine booster, my then 18 year old daughter lost all her hair three years ago and never recovered. It has taken some experience, but there are really great wigs out there. She has gotten so comfortable with her condition that she is now making tic tocks with and without her wigs! Some of her wigs are so good that her doctor thought she recovered at the last exam. Sending you lots of support and encouragement! 

Its so strange you mention that your daughter started having hair issues after she got a booster shot.  Very interesting!

Apparently, that is not such a rare occurrence according to the team of researchers at Columbia Presbyterian. They told her no more vaccines and now her college, St. Olaf is threatening to kick her out due to not being able to get the covid vaccine. And, she already had covid and recovered so no risk to the population. 

Thats even more fascinating!  My AA to AT to AU started when I was about 16 years old., more than a year after I probably got a booster shot for school and during the same time I got really sick for the entire summer with a rash all over my entire body and throat felt like it was closed up and painful to swallow.  Im 58 now, and no one else in my family has AA, or any immune system issues like I do. Its just me.  So now that I see you mention your daughter and a booster shot, I often wonder if the same happened to me.

this is a great story im glad you shared. at the end of the day living with alopecia is difficult and hard on your self esteem. if you were happy with the wig before your boss said something then continue wearing it. if it helps your self esteem then do it. the wig is doing its job if it makes you happier.

also sorry about your boss. dont let him get you down, everyone has issues, his issues may not be as obvious as yours but take comfort in knowing your not alone, i'm sure he has a few problems of his own haha. 

I’m am sorry you had to experience this. Your supervisor’s question & comment were out of line. It would have been inappropriate in private, but even more so since it happened during a meeting with other staff members. I understand that you may not feel comfortable addressing this yourself, so I suggest you mention this incident to whoever handles Human Resources in your organization so that they can address it. You may not be the only person who has experienced an inappropriate situation with this supervisor & it helps HR to deal with the issue before it gets worse. 

I encourage you to continue wearing the wig if you like the way it looks in you & yiu like how it makes you feel. 

Yes, I would definitely address this with HR!

Whew!  That was really something!  Well, first up, the guy was a total a**hole, no question about it.  People either have no tact or he did it purposely, to hurt your feelings.  That said, you dont want to let him see you sweat.  We dont want to allow someone else dictate how we feel about ourselves because they lack decorum.  You didnt waste any money, but even when you buy a wig, you cant just lay it on top of your head.  Style it like its your own hair, treat it like its really growing out of your scalp.  Watch videos on YouTube, there are some women wig magicians on there, that can style a wig so well, you'd never know it wasn't real.  

Now back to the jerk; if there is a way you can pull him to the side and have a little chat with him.  Maybe he doesnt know what AA/AT is.  Explain to him what it is, and then let him know his sarcasm about how it looked didnt present well with you and you felt it to be inappropriate.  If the meeting is recorded, you have proof of what he said and how he said it.  

It doesnt matter how much money anyone makes when it comes to how they treat you.  If money is the deciding factor on who gets to stomp on you and get a pass and who doesnt, thats a bad barometer to live by.  Im a very assertive person when I need to be, most times with a quickness, I can be sharp.  AU and all.  I still feel like I have the same right to be treated with common decency, same as anyone else.  You teach people how to treat you, dont allow it the other way around.  When you tactfully let people know where you stand in a way that lets them know you're a professional and you wont stand for it, they will double take and think first about whatever they think they may want to say the next time around.  Good luck to you and let us know how it goes :) xoxo

I am so sorry to hear of your experience. Although your boss obviously has not tact or manners whatsoever, he must not have know about your condition and was surprised to see the change. Some people are just honestly curious and ask just because they notice something unfamiliar. It’s absolutely none of their business and to blurt it out in from of all your coworkers was just so wrong. I’m glad you made it through the meeting instead of letting his callous comment get to you. Good for you!  Now that he knows, maybe that will be the end of his comments. If not, then I feel you have every right to take him to the side and tell him that you already feel self conscious about the need to wear a wig and if he has any further comments, to please keep them between the two of you. You can mention that if he is genuinely curious about why you have to wear a wig, that you would be happy to explain Alopecia to him to educate him on how sensitivities. I have been wearing my wig for over a year and my first day at work with it on was very stressful but after a week or so, all the questions and looks were fine and now I think I would fee funny not wearing one to work lol. Anyway, I’m proud that you have taken your condition in your own hands to make it work for you. All the best!

This happened to me too I started a job at a grocery store and the Assistant Manager asked me straight up if I was wearing a wig? I said No cus I just started my job I guess I didn’t have the best looking wig Cus even tho it was made of human hair but the scalp was made of plastic and back then they didn’t have really good wigs that they have today . Check out RPG Show Wigs they are expensive but trust me they look realistic! All I want to say is nobody has the right to ask you such a sensitive personal question it’s no one’s business but yours! I hope you report him! You are hired there for your brains not your looks and you don’t have to explain anything to anyone cause no one knows unless you have Alopecia how it affects us everyday. 

Take no no notice.  Listen to what your friends say.  

I am truly sorry that this unacceptable thing happened to you. I recommend you to report HR what the director said to you in front of others. When you report to HR, you need to mention how you felt and do not want it happens again. I am HR at a company, and HR has to do something once employees report anyone’s inappropriate behavior. When you tell HR, you should tell them you were diagnosed alopecia that was why you were wearing a wig. In that way, HR will not mess you up because you have a medical condition. If HR put you in a difficult situation, you should consult with an employment attorney. 
As for the wig, I totally understand how you feel. I waisted at least $1000 for wigs that I had never wore due to many reasons. But if you were comfortable with the wig once, you could change how to wear the wig. For example, you could wear it a slightly higher on your forehead. Most people who just started wearing a wig do put the forehead part too close to you eyebrows and looks a bit unnatural. I have been universal alopecia for 8 years… I’ve been still looking for wigs that I really like. I have a decent one now but I would like to change the hair style. Finding your perfect wig is sometimes not easy, but please don’t stressing out too much. You will find one! 



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