Not looking forward to choosing the wig today but my daughter, bless her, phones to find out what I am doing today. I instantly know that this is a plot and that her sister has phoned to ask her if she will go with me to get the wig. I’m right as she offers to come with me and I am very glad to accept even thought this means that we will have to take her three months old baby.
Mid-morning I get a call from the wig shop telling me they can now do an earlier appointment. Brilliant, that could have meant me not cancelling my plans for this afternoon but I now can’t get hold of my daughter. Do wig shops intentionally, wind me up?
At the appointed time my daughter, the baby and me are driving around busy South London trying to spot the wig shop. Eventually we find it. It is just an ordinary hairdressers and it looks as if a lot of the customers are from the Carribean. I may well leave looking like Tina Turner – but, hey that’s no bad thing.
I am ushered into a room not much bigger than a cupboard at the back of the shop. With my daughter feeding the baby, the hairdresser and me it is all a bit crowded. Why is it that choosing a wig has to be as clandestine affair as if I were trying to buy illegal substances?
I try on a medium length blonde wig and I look like Noddy Holder. The hairdresser tells me to walk out to the front of the shop to see the true colour in the light. Tuck the label in your blouse she tells me, so that no-one will know. Here we go again – why the secrecy? By the time I get back to the room, there is another customer waiting for the wig fitting room and the atmosphere is one of tension and pressure.
As I still have hair, I suggest we all move into the main shop so that I can sit near a source of daylight. This is much better. Although the baby is now fed up and bawling her head off.
I try on a short blonde bob wig. It is the hairstyle and colour I had twenty years ago. My daughter thinks it makes me look much younger. I like to hear that but I think it’s a step too far. Everyone in the shop is joining in and telling me it is lovely. I ask to see more but, well, there aren’t really any more. Just a platinum bob that makes me look ten years older.
There is no time to procrastinate so I take a deep breath and say I will have the blonde bob. The hairdresser starts to snip away at the fringe to get it out of my eyes and also trims the front. This takes forever. I can understand why. It isn’t like normal hair, where a mistake will soon grow back. One snip too many would be a disaster.
I leave with my new hair in a little box. I put it on as soon as I get home and it is surprisingly comfortable. My husband thinks it looks ok and my younger daughter loves it. It’s not very different from her hair.
I am still troubled that it is too light and bright. What suited me twenty years ago could now be mutton dressed as lamb. I peer into the mirror. I think it needs a few lowlights. I start surfing the web for instructions on how to dye synthetic wigs. It can be done with acrylic ink and the websites are talking about purples and reds. Perhaps best to leave well alone.