I do not wear wigs. On warm summer days I do not wear anything on my head. I'm always trying to balance which discomfort is greater: mental discomfort or physical discomfort. So if it's cold I wrap a scarf around my head, and if it's hot I face the world with my 'naked truth'.
In both cases I am food for the curious and interested masses.
People either look a great deal and than, if they think I'm out of earshot, tend to share their observations with each other.
Or, and here it comes irritating, they're willing to share their experiences with yours truly.

First they make a lousy apology for speaking so out of the blue to a perfect stranger, BUT.....

When I had cancer...
My husband/brother/etc has/had cancer...
I find it admirable that you dare to go out uncovered[...] My sister...
I know someone who has the same affliction...and he...
I'm a wig maker....(Right, do not let your good manners get in the way with your commercial instinct.)
May I ask if your affliction is the result of medication...I once had...
I know a wonderful doctor that practises alternative medicine, he cured my...[something intimate follows]
My son committed suicide... (WHATTF??)

All these story's (I could write a book about them) are more or less a chance for the orator to vent THEIR grievances. (or just to satisfy their vulgar curiosity)
I end up supplying tissues and words of comfort and sometimes I actually feel sorry for them (while all the time they've just rudely been disturbing my peace without so much as a By Your Leave)
And all becouse I am bald and apparently approachable for whatever comes in their minds.

It's often the case that in the end I feel a lot less sorry for myself than for my griefing opponent.
If it comes to that: I'd be a sad case if I start complaining about very personal things to a complete stranger.
Conclusion: my life is not bad, or at least: it could be worse!

A psychiatrist or a social worker gets paid for his/her efforts, I on the other hand get to feel a bit better about myself!

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Wow it's good to hear from such positive people every now and then! I guess these things are all in how you look at it. Some people in your situation could end up feeling a little down. I've got lots to learn from you! And you are so right - your life is really not bad at all, you've got lots goin for you especially your good attitude! Keep smiling and giving encouragement to those around you!

YES! Everything you just said! I've been bald and bold for the past 10 years and have had almost all those conversations. I've a real fondness for the breast cancer survivors (I've had that conversation so often with dear women checking in on me), but the random guy on the bus who says,"I don't mean to be personal, but . . . " is a real teacher in maintaining my commitment to compassionate communication.

And thank you for not stressing out about being bald. I don't visit this site much because of all the trauma everyone seems to have about hair loss. Like, really? Is looking different the worst thing that could happen? I look at it as the world's best teacher about vanity!

Thanks for your insight, and know I'm in solidarity as a bald social worker for the hairy masses.

Kudos to you my friend, very inspiring. I find alot of people speak to me also, and have always felt that we must be a magnet of some kind. Like the Ying/yan sort of metaphor. Like you, this makes me feel like I have even a tiny purpose in this world and time. I find I go out somewhere, and enjoy chatting with many who cross my path. My husband is the same, and although he can look tough and kinda scarey, he attracts all these little old ladies, whom he takes the time to grab something from a top shelf or exchange a recipe idea with them. It's all just beautiful! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Blessings

Yes! Agreed! People are funny. I try to be gracious bc I know they are curious. The ones I really feel for are people I know but not well who want to ask but don't feel they should. The "head tilters" who say "how ARE you? How have things been? What's new?" Me - I'm great. Super busy with work. Have a great kiddo! Couldn't be better"! Big smile. Them - "that's great - but i mean ... Well .... You're good?" Me - "yup". I know they want to know if I am sick but I don't want to propagate that assumption that sick=bald so I sort act like I don't notice the concern/curiosity. Haha - just ask! I have way more respect for the bluntness :-)

I have to say when a young man goes out of his way to compliment me saying I am pretty and brave that pretty much makes my day. Maybe shallow but I can't help it :-)

Oh my goodness! Thank you! You succinctly articulated my experience, 100 percent! Yes, I don't know how many times I've gone grocery shopping ... and seriously ... my husband meets up with me and finds me chatting like long lost friends with another person and then sees us hug and and wave good bye. He will say, 'do you know them?' . "Oh no, " I laugh. It's always as you describe - someone has to share their reaction or experience with me and often it ends up being some sort of counseling session - and I'm the counselor! lol.

I even started carrying cards for a local cancer survivor wellness centre - people who are going through cancer treatment or have experienced it assume I'm receiving treatment. The centre is very amazing and helpful so I have actually handed people cards (my mil has visited the centre for a decade so it's not like I'm totally out in left field).

I'm moving to a small town this summer (like 6,000 people small) and I can only imagine the reactions!!!

I had an interesting reaction to this post. first I had a good laugh. People are really something aren't they....
But my very first reaction before reading it was thinking you were a support group contact person etc for NAAF. I use to be the local phone contact person and it is truly like using all your counseling skills over and over again. I loved it but from time to time would get the person so down because of losing their hair that they would not accept any suggestions. They were holding on to dear life to their misery. Counseling was never accepted as a suggestion either. i did love the folks who would call all upset from recently losing their hair or their child's hair and who actually listened, took suggestions, showed up at a support group meeting and turned their grief into action or went through the stages of grief and came out on the other side. I did truly feel like a counselor in that volunteer job and was thankful for the training I had had.

We look different and unfortunately the assumption is we must be having cancer treatments. My hair loss is the result of cancer treatments, permanent hair loss from Taxotere, so my situation is a little different, maybe more acceptable to the public. I simply have to explain that no, it's not going to fill in, I've seen doctors, thank you, and this is what it is. I don't care if your aunt's came back curly and white, mine is done coming back, and this is a rare side effect, but it does happen. Then I get the comment "well, at least you're alive". Yes I am and given a choice, I'll take the hair loss over the death any day. Maybe I've had an easier time accepting this because of the alternative, but it took me me 2 years to accept it and is socially uncomfortable even when I wear a wig.

I love all of your comments you've listed - I've heard many of them, too. You have a wonderful sense of confidence in your dealings with people. That is so great.

This hair thing is difficult to accept and people are not used to seeing bald women. While we may be comfortable with our bald heads, it is very much like wearing a sign that says "something is wrong with me". I don't know any woman who shaves her head simply as a fashion statement.

My question to all of you is do you prefer strangers ignore you and run away or approach you and start a conversation? There is simply no getting around the fact that bald women are not the norm.

I would much rather someone just come out and ask than avoid the obvious. My daughter who has Alopecia takes gymnastics. She is really strong for her age and is at the top of her class. When she started her new classes it took about 3 months before anyone even asked me about it. Her coaches knew, but that was all. It was really strange. We would sit and talk about everything but that. I am not the kind of person who volunteers personal information, but I knew they were secretly wanting to know. Finally someone asked me one day if she was done with her chemo treatments because she seemed very strong and healthy. I just laughed and explained it wasn't cancer. I have also seen other parents get on to their children who ask about why my daughter is bald. When my daughter first lost her hair I explained people were going to want to know why and they aren't trying to be mean, so she is fine explaining the reason. I always feel bad for the kid, because they are just being naturally curious. So for us we would much rather they just ask and find out the real reason. My daughter hates it when someone thinks she is sick. She works hard at being healthy and likes people to know it.

I feel the same way.

Thanks so much for sharing! I lost all my hair about 13 years ago, and usually I wear a scarf. I recently started going out with nothing on, but regardless, when it is obvious I don't have hair, I get the exact same reactions as you almost everywhere I go... and I live in a big city and hang out in places with a lot of diversity! Usually, I try to be an ambassador of sorts, and educate about Alopecia. The sad and frustrating thing that happens a lot is when people find out I don't have cancer, they lose interest and walk away! Some people though will ask questions and express some sort of empathy about being different or brave etc.

But yes, the counselor/social worker part I can totally relate to! I always try to reassure people that my life is awesome, I'm so fortunate to be very healthy and have many amazing things in my life... I just don't have hair, that's all!

Thanks Maudy for expressing so well what I think about pretty much every day!

Alicia

Great post!

Since the lsst couple of months when my alopecia has gone galloping and I have shared it on my website, I now have people saying, "you know, I'm losing some hair and I'm really worried about it". Or, "menopause is really killing my hair".

Listen people: You're losing a little bit of hair. Try going through junior high school or college where people can see through to your scalp and each comment is like a knife to your heart. Then, you can talk to me about losing your hair.

Yes, I'm a grown adult now and I can handle it, but please please just leave us alone with your idiotic comments.

Imagine they are having the same conversations in front of your child because they see your child is bald. So many people come up to us and ask if she is o.k. and a lot of times go into very personal details of their lives in front of my child who will be 7 next week. It can get really frustrating. You want to tell people to keep the conversation child friendly when speaking with my child. She is little and really doesn't want to hear about how close you were to death. But there are those times where you feel really satisfied that you made someone feel better. I know I have a lot of women come up to us that are going through chemo and they seem to really have a connection with my little girl. My daughter really doesn't focus on her loss of hair and it really surprises people. To be honest, she just really doesn't care. Like you she is more into comfort. Hot itchy wigs are not for her. She is just happy she is healthy and strong. It has made my daughter a lot more compassionate too. She has lost grandparents to cancer so she understands how hard it is for people. She seen pictures of them with no hair, so it is just a fact of life for some people in her eyes. I have seen her give total strangers hugs and wish them the best. Many times we leave people with tears in our eyes. I agree life could be worse and if Alopecia is what is helping my daughter become a caring individual I can't complain too much.

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