Friday, June 19, 2009

What I Know

It’s just hair.
What a ridiculous blog topic.
Get over yourself.
Who cares about hair loss?

And yet.

People do care about hair, a lot more than they’re willing to admit.

How else would you explain the fascination with Britney’s head shaving? What about Colbert shaving his head in support of the troops? Forget about shaving…what about the girl on America’s Next Top Model who cried when they wanted to cut her hair?

How else would you explain the reaction of 52-year old Jessie to her new hairdo on What Not to Wear last Friday?

I’m a What Not to Wear addict. You know the show: stylists transform fashion disasters with age-appropriate, tasteful, professional, modern, flattering clothing. Sure, Stacy and Clinton can be a little mean. But they never insult a person’s body. Instead, they rip up a person’s clothes: grandma’s yellowing slips worn as dresses, leopard skin spandex tights, crochet vests, high-waisted Mom jeans, plaid pajama pants worn to the grocery store, and the occasional odd accessory like butterfly wings or a fuzzy tail. (Seriously, some of these people need their wardrobes ripped up—literally.) I’m a fan.

So you can imagine how excited I was to learn that the seventh season had officially kicked off and that new episodes would be airing on Friday nights again. (I need a life, but that’s another blog post.) What a lineup! Blossom, a roller derby queen, a big-haired Texan…I couldn’t wait to sit on the couch and soak in the style lessons.

Most of the time, the fashion makeover candidate walks away not just with a more polished look, but more confidence. But not Jessie, the glitzy, stuck-in-the-80s divorcee. She missed her old hair: her too blonde, too-sprayed, too “Big-as-Texas” hair. She cried, withdrew, asked her male friends not to come to her reveal party, and couldn’t enjoy the experience. She said she’d never have a date again in her life because her long hair was now short hair. She couldn’t wait to get her old hair back, even after all her friends and family raved over her new look.

Some say she’s ungrateful. Others say she’s got issues. Others agree with her and think Nick messed this one up. You can check out the new do here and decide for yourself.

I happen to like it. Of course, I’m not the best judge. I don’t even have hair. What do I know?

Let me tell you. I know that bald can be beautiful, because I’ve seen it. I know that we are more than our hair, because I’ve lived it. I know that life goes on, and sometimes gets better, after hair loss.

I wouldn’t wish what I’ve been through on anyone, but I wish that more people knew what I know. I wish Jessie knew.

© 2009 Christy Bailey


Joanne said...

Just out of curiosity, I had to see the before picture of Jesse -- you can find it at

Just liek the bad hair days, it seems to me that people are using hair as the scape goat for a more serious lack of self-acceptance. I'm glad your blog is here to gently encourage people to explore the hair identity more deeply.

mojee said...

joanne is so deep today. great observation, woman

Katie said...

Just because you don't have hair doesn't mean that you're not a good judge of what looks good on other people. :) Of course, we all need to learn to accept ourselves for what we are (like Joanne said). I don't quite see the big difference in length for Jessie's hair, but the color is a very stark difference. I have to wonder if that has to do with her reaction more than anything. She's used to seeing herself on the other end of the spectrum. I'm sure it's a shock for her to see herself. Perhaps Jessie would like her hair better in a lighter shade of brown. Wonder how long ago that was filmed and what she looks like now. :)