Friday, April 1, 2016


The minute I reached my “golden years,” I noticed there seemed to be more and more hair on my brush every day. In fact, at the end of each week, there was more hair in the wastebasket and the bathtub drain than there was on my head. I was even afraid to sneeze, because I thought hairs might go flying off my head, kind of like a dandelion gone to seed.

I bought a popular “volumizing” shampoo, hoping it would thicken my limp locks, but the only thing that got thicker was the manufacturer’s wallet. It got to the point where I was so frustrated, every time I saw a woman on TV complaining about her uncontrollable, thick hair, I felt like tossing my shoe at the screen.

Too soon, my thinning hair gave way to actual bald spots – shiny ones, especially when the sunlight hit them. Panicking, I searched for a product that would conceal them.

The first one I tried was some kind of spray-on “hair” I saw a bald guy using in an infomercial on TV.  With just a few spurts from the can, he suddenly had what looked like a full head of thick, luxurious hair. I was so intrigued, I ordered two cans of the stuff. But for some reason, I had trouble aiming the spray nozzle just right to hit my bald spots. So I ended up with more “deep brown” on the bathroom walls than on my head.  And when I did manage to spray it where it was supposed to go, the color didn’t match my hair and stood out as glaring dark spots.  I looked like a Dalmatian.

Then I tried a concealer that came in what looked like a salt shaker. All I had to do, according to the instructions, was shake it on my bald spots and it would completely cover them. The instructions also said it would last through rainstorms, hot showers, typhoons and swimming, and wouldn’t come off until I washed it out with shampoo.

The instructions were wrong. One night, I got caught in a downpour while walking across the parking lot at the supermarket. As I shopped, I noticed that people kept staring at me. I finally took a mirror out of my purse and checked my face. I had brown streaks on my temples and down both cheeks.

Also, it never dawned on me to cover my clothing with a cloth or towel while shaking the powder onto my head. I can remember going to the bank, unaware that my pink blouse was covered with brown powder. I looked as if I had a bad case of dirty dandruff.

Finally, when I was on the verge of splurging on an expensive hairpiece (or taking up knitting so I could knit a bunch of hats) I found a bald-cover product I loved. It was a solid block of color that came in what looked like a cosmetic compact, along with a sponge-brush applicator. All I had to do was wash my hair and while it still was damp, use the sponge to paint the coloring on my bald spots. It sounded simple enough, so I eagerly tried it.

I was completely amazed when the product dried because it looked exactly like hair. It kind of worked like puff paint, growing in volume as it dried. Even more amazing (and kind of frightening), I could comb and brush the new, fake hair without affecting it, just like real hair. And when it got wet, it didn’t run. I honestly couldn’t figure out how it scientifically worked, but I thought it truly was miraculous. I was hooked.

Although the product turned out to be my salvation, I soon learned it had one minor drawback – it had the tendency to rub off when something brushed against it. Fortunately, it wasn’t enough to make any difference in the appearance of it on my hair…but enough to cause a few embarrassing moments. I have to admit these easily could have been prevented if I’d just taken the time to seal my hair with a few spritzes of hairspray. But too often, I forgot all about the hairspray.

One of the aforementioned embarrassing moments occurred one windy afternoon when I was talking to a woman in the post-office parking lot. Throughout our conversation, I noticed she kept staring at my ears. I thought she might have been admiring my earrings, but when I got into my car and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, to my horror, I had two brown ears. They looked as if I hadn’t washed them in about a month – or I was mutating into a muskrat.

Then, there was the time I went to the dentist’s. He was wearing a white lab-type coat and kept reaching across the top of my head as he worked. At one point, I happened to catch a glimpse of his crisp, white sleeve…covered with brown splotches from my hair. Before I could stop myself, I gasped.

He immediately stopped working. “Did I hurt you?” he asked, concerned.

“No, I’m fine,” I said, forcing a tight smile as I silently prayed he wouldn’t notice his messed-up sleeve until much later, when it was time to take off the coat and go home. I hoped he’d think some grimy-haired kid had caused it.

And then there was my pillowcase after the first time I used the product. When I woke up that morning, there was a brown imprint of my head on it, kind of like the chalk outline of a body at a murder scene. I solved the problem by buying both a dark-brown pillowcase and a black one.

Unfortunately, to this day, the pillowcase incident still causes me to suffer from nightmares about being unconscious and having to be rushed to the hospital, where I’ll end up in a bed with crisp white sheets and pillowcases…and I’ll leave brown smudges all over them. I’m scared the staff will think my hair’s in urgent need of a good washing, so they’ll shampoo it.

And I’ll wake up looking like Benjamin Franklin.

But there is no way I’m going to give up my miracle hair-product. I am more than willing to put up with its minor flaws as long as I can continue to have my “magic hair.”

I just hope my dentist doesn’t read this.

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