Hi everyone! Kerry here (that’s me bald and then wearing Brittaney by Envy in Creamed Coffee) and I wanted to share my story on dating and what I have learned in the 5 years I have been wearing wigs. Because while we all have different experiences, maybe my story can help someone.
Let me start by saying that I have had hair loss since my early teens and was married without the Victorian intricate updo of hair that I had dreamed of at the age of 21. I made do though, and I was happy. My new husband had been going bald early, too – so we had that in common. It was annoying and there was some shame and wistfulness for a full head of hair, for longer hair, for anything but what I had, but I was focused on ignoring it and it didn’t really seem to matter. We divorced in 2012 because we just grew apart – we are still very good friends to this day and are focused on raising our daughter.
So, that being said, I was still deep in denial of my hair loss and busy living my life. I met Rich in 2012 – way early to be dating after my divorce, but we did nonetheless. My hair was never a problem – even my crazy bedhead in the morning (my hair was thin and oily, so yeah – crazy bedhead!). We were in love and he thought it was cute – something only someone in love could ever say, lol. It was a quick 6 months and our flame burned fast and bright. For complicated reasons, we broke up. I was beyond devastated. But that’s not the end of that story….
Flash forward a year and I’m in a different state, at a new job in a new industry, thinner and happier than I have ever been in my life and finally ready to look for love again. I start a dating profile. This is me au natural in the boxing gloves – I would blow dry and fluff what little hair I had and let the comments from hairstylists asking me if I had tried this hair loss solution or that one roll like water off a duck’s back. I had ignored it for this long, I was good at it!
And I wasn’t going to let that or anything else stop me. After all, I have enough personality and smarts to make up for the hair or whatever other physical deficiencies I have – I just needed someone to give me enough of a chance to get to know me and they would see past it all.
Then I met Shane. Shane was a lot of fun – a truck driver and a funny guy. He loved to talk, and we connected over the phone immediately. The first time we met, sparks flew. He was outgoing and sweet, very big on social media announcing our relationship and our dates to his friends on Facebook. It was a lot of fun! We took this picture about 5 weeks in because he wanted to post our first couple picture for his friends. It was the only couple photo we would take. He texted me from on the road and explained that he didn’t want to post it because you could see how little hair I had. A really rough phone call later and he had me convinced I needed a wig. I didn’t know where I was going to get one. I didn’t know how I was going to afford one. I didn’t know anything other than all that shame and fear I had been suppressing was now overwhelming. I needed to figure this out, to escape the pain and embarrassment I thought I was keeping well-hidden for so long. Long story short, that is how I found Heather and Cysterwigs – as so many others have. I found a resource and more importantly a truly relatable, straight-forward woman close to my age wearing wigs! I bought my first wig from Cysterwigs – on Heather’s suggestion I got Jamison by Estetica in a color close to my natural hair color, R2/4. I announced it on Facebook – “I wear wigs now, so expect me to have a good hair day every day!”
Shane never saw me in a wig – we broke up soon after that phone call about my hair, but for other reasons. He had served his purpose in my life and left quietly, thank goodness.
About a month later, back in the online dating game, I met Stephen. This was the first guy I would be dating that I would have to “reveal” my secret to. I didn’t know how to handle it. I decided to wait and didn’t mention it while we talked or during our first date, which despite us both being awkward, went pretty well! Texting a few days later, Stephen gave me an opening and with my heart pounding in my ears (I really liked him!) and my coworkers and boss egging me on, I told him. I guess it was a big moment for me because I saved (most of) the conversation:
I was overjoyed. He was cool with it. We continued to date for almost 2 years. In all of that time, he saw me without a wig once for just a moment, a few weeks into our relationship. He said he had thought I had less hair than what I did have and that was about it. I was so ashamed and embarrassed that I had walked around half bald for so long, here was the first person who had never known me like that and I didn’t want to lose him. So I had a cheap “sleeping” wig that I wore on nights spent over. I was happy…for a little while at least.
About a year and a half into the relationship we had a discussion – he thought I should show him my head (I had started shaving my hair off at this point) because it would be better to do it on purpose than full of shame and when I am sick or some other necessity. I thought about it for a week and decided he was right. He was spending the night at my place and I told him I was going to sleep without my hair for the first time, that I would come out of the bathroom and let him see. I wanted him to be prepared. I took my wig off and left it on the counter and came out. No expression, no real reaction. He was just OK with it. We went to bed and I tried to be cool. He turned away from me and feel asleep with his back to me. It felt like rejection. I quietly slipped out of bed and put my wig back on, never revealing my bald head to him again. We broke up months later for other reasons, but really – that was the beginning of the end.
I dated a few people after Stephen. I had different wigs on in my online profile pictures, but what women doesn’t change her hair? I felt like it was an M. Night Shyamalan movie – all the clues were there from the beginning. I revealed to one guy I had dated (my new rule was to wait until the third date) that I wore wigs. He seemed a little shocked but OK with it. He then brought it up at our next date, saying “I said I was OK with you wearing wigs, but now I’m not so sure.” It made me mad. I responded, “Well, since I’m the one wearing them and I’m OK with them, I don’t see why the hell you wouldn’t be!” Why should I have to make him feel better? We ended up being friends for a while, but honestly – he was a selfish person. When someone shows you who they are – believe them.
So, remember Rich? (He’s the one holding the giant hammer, lol). The one I dated too soon after my divorce and who loved my bedhead? Well, I really never stopped talking to him. We kept in touch for those 6 years we were apart, each dating other people, but never really letting go I suppose. I moved back and after almost a year of not talking (we got in a fight about something stupid, as most fights are) I reached out to him. Those complicated reasons we had broken up over were now in the past, and I was a new woman. I was well out of my divorce, used to being on my own, I had lost weight, found wigs, found my independence. My hair never mattered to him and it still doesn’t. He is one of the few people in my life that I feel perfectly natural having a conversation with, being around, just being me – without a wig on. Why? Because unlike Stephen who tried to feign that it didn’t matter, it really doesn’t to Rich. He loves me with all my faults. He shows me off to all of his friends at work and thinks I look great in every wig. I can breathe around him. Relax.
Does that mean we are meant to be – that this is my fairytale ending? Probably not. Life doesn’t work that way. But, I have had a good selection of relationships and I know what feels right now – how it should be. I should feel comfortable with my partner – hair or not. Because it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we get along, whether we have similar life goals and good conversations, that we have fun together, that we are best friends. We have enough in common to relate to each other and enough different to keep it interesting. Hair doesn’t really figure into any of that.
I am glad for Shane coming into my life and pointing me in a new direction. And I am glad he left soon after. I am sad that things didn’t work out with Stephen, but that memory of him falling asleep with his back to me makes me even sadder. I wish I had found that out earlier in the relationship. If I do end up dating again, I think I will just put it in my profile – a small blurb that reads, “Oh and I wear wigs – so expect me to have a good hair day every day.” 😊
You can see all of Kerry’s guest blogger posts here.