Thursday, June 24, 2010

Miss Tiggy-Wig

For something that isn't costing me anything, I sure am putting a lot of time and worry into this wig thing.

It's a very nice deal, really.  A civic women's group here in the county has a fund to provide up to $200 for chemo patients to purchase wigs to cover their hair loss, and somehow it works out that even if the wig you choose costs more than $200, you still get it gratis.

I figure that with one shot at my freebie, I want it to be right.

So.  The civic group has two and only two wig shops here in the county where the certificate can be redeemed.  In May, when I was still not allowed to drive, I rang and opened diplomatic relations with one of these ladies.  But before I could go see her, I talked to my friend Frieda*.  Frieda had gotten her own cancer wig from that shop, and hadn't been satisfied.  "She was really nice," she reported, "and she had a good selection to look at, but when she styled my wig she did a really horrible job!"

Oh.  Don't want that.  So a week ago yesterday I went to the other hair stylist/wigmonger on the list.  I'll call her "Dorothy*."

Oh, dear.  Dorothy was also very nice, but did not have a good selection at all.  I think there were three wigs in the entire shop.  And judging by what she said when she tried one of them on me, I'm afraid her styling abilities may have nothing over her competitor's.  But with me not being the one paying for this, I couldn't very well go away and try the other shop, could I?

But oh! she tried this one wig on me and said, "That looks really cute on you!"  Yeah, if by "cute" you mean the skanky teased-up style from the 1960s.  All I would have needed is a black headband, white lipstick, and some menthol cigarettes to complete the look.  Uh, no thank you!

Next one available was in a short, tightly-curled, I-get-my-hair-done-like-a-steel-helmet-every-Thursday-rain-or-shine old lady do.  I vetoed that before it got anywhere near my head.

The third one was equally impossible, so we turned to the catalogs.  I can't explain it, but most of the available styles seemed right out of the 1980s.  Think Big Hair.  Think poof and voooooolllllluuuuuummmme!  Good grief, are these really the latest models, or have these catalogs been sitting around here since the Reagan administration?

Finally, I picked two for Dorothy to order in on spec.  One longer and one chin-length, both with some easy curl to them. My own hair has a natural wave in it, so why not take advantage of the situation and get a wig that looks like what I wish my own mop would do on a good hair day?  I arranged to try them in two different colors, both pretty close to my own shade, but maybe a little brighter.  They advise that for chemo patients.

Two days ago, then, Dorothy left me a message saying my wig(s) were in.  And today, by appointment, I drove over to see which I should choose.  I was looking forward to trying them on, especially the shorter one.

But what's this?  When I arrived, Dorothy handed me three boxes, and none of them held the right models!

"Oh, no!" she apologized.  "Those must be for somebody else!  Your wigs aren't in yet!  Remind me which ones they were."

Through the superannuated catalogs again to find the ones I'd chosen.  And here were more catalogs for me to look at, while she took care of a customer.  I found a really cute wig in one of those and was wanting her to order that for me to look at, until she pointed out that it was what's known in the trade as an augmentation.  Just a hairpiece, in other words.

Oh.  Too bad.

Eventually, Dorothy admitted that she had ordered the three wrong wigs for me.  "So much has been going on in my life, I'm just that confused, you can't imagine!"  I went ahead and let her try them on me.  "Oh, that looks really good on you!"  No, sorry, it does not.  None of them.  Though it did help me decide which of the prospective colors was better.

I decided there was no point in me looking at a long wig.  In the summer I pretty much always wear my hair up, and what's the point of going for a long wig if I'm just going to make my head hotter by doing that?  So let's just reorder the chin-length one by Alan Eaton, okay?

But she couldn't find the fake-hair color sample ring for it.  And when she called her supplier to see about matching my hair for it, she was told her usual rep isn't handling that manufacturer any more.  She felt she probably could still get it, but I'd better keep looking.

Another customer came in.  I was showered with more catalogs, three of them from the same supplier, Gemtress.  Does she never clean these out?  Sat there looking at them with her ginger cat sprawled in my lap.  Same wig kept catching my eye, in all three catalogs.  Medium-short, softly curly, but shown styled in different ways.  A possibility, yes.

What color, though?  Wig hair color numbers seem to be somewhat consistent across manufacturers, but there's nothing about the assigned digits that tells you anything at all about the shade or hue of the color.  I simply had to go though the samples, detach the likely ones from the ring, and check the chart to see if that wig came in that color.

Wasn't much of a choice, if I intended to go with a color more or less like mine.  Soon as Dorothy was free, she came and held the possibilities up against my own hair, so I could check them in her singularly ill-lighted mirror.  Funny I'd do what I did, letting her talk me into a tri-color light-brown to medium-blonde shade, considering what I've learned about her aesthetic judgment.  But it was either that or settle for a very drab, dark, solid shade.  So I'll risk it.

And it will be a risk, because the wig I decided on is-- unlike the ones she mistakenly got in for me to look at-- not returnable.  Whatever color I chose today, that's what I'll be stuck with.  Dorothy was willing to try to order the Alan Eaton wig I'd originally wanted, too, but what would be the point?  I liked it, but good grief, this catalog dates back to 2006.  Very possibly it's no longer available.  And seeing she told me the Gemtress model was better made, and seeing that it apparently can be dressed up or toned down, let's cut the fooling about and just order the one.

And please, Jesus, let it be good!  I've been taking this hair loss thing a lot more in stride than some women do, but I think I'm hanging a lot on having my official wig make me feel good and look presentable.

Dorothy had me write down the manufacturer, model, and color of my choice on a 3x5 card.  Lord willing she doesn't lose it, or misread it, or misconstrue it.  I've already wigged out over this enough as it is.


whiskers said...

Oh dear! *keeps fingers crossed for better luck*


Marlene said...

The saying goes "you don't look a gift horse in the mouth" whatever that means however based on you and your friends experience might it be nice to gently tell the community women's group your experiences. After all, they are certainly paying these wig people something whether it's the full $200 or not.