Greetings, Fatshion Hustlers! How have we all been?
I’ve decided it’s time to talk about something that I have been dealing with for a couple of months now. Assuming you have read the title, yes, I am losing my hair. I have been aware of my losing it for a while, but it was officially confirmed a few months ago by a visit to the Belgravia Centre (hair loss specialists in the UK).
But you know what? I’m cool with it.
So, firstly, why am I losing my hair? Am I unwell (no)? Am I stressed (not particularly)? Have you been losing weight (BAHAHAHAHA no)? Nope, nope, none of those things.
I do, however, have a father who lost pretty much all of his hair at the dusty old age of 24. And of all his children I happen to take after him the most strongly.
Female Pattern Baldness, is the official name for it, and it is the most common form of hair loss in females. Normally (like with men), the key times for it to happen are during one’s 30’s and (unlike with men) after menopause. And then there’s me in my 20’s, which is a bit less common. But Dad lost his (quite dramatically) at an uncommonly young age too.
One of my initial reactions upon realising just how much of my hair was gone was a weary sigh at there being yet another way in which my body seems determined to be as male as it can be without actually being male. A friend of mine described it as having a transgender experience without being trans, and I can wrap my head around that certainly in the academic sense. Not that I would ever say that I can completely relate to trans people or anything like that. I aim for playful, INTJ-ish dickishness, rather than genuine you-deserve-a-slap dickishness.
I’ve talked a lot on Fatshion Hustlings about beauty ideals and how women in particular are expected to hide anything that doesn’t fit these ideals. With that sort of pressure comes what essentially amounts to a fear of one’s body, or more specifically a fear of how our bodies might turn against us in our crusade for perfection.
The fear of fat is an obvious example of this. How many people do we know who make the majority of their decisions based on how fat it might make them? Or if we look at, say, body hair. How many people will not go on a trip without a razor, or tweezers? Not just for regular maintenance, but also as a shield of protection just in case you spot an errant hair somewhere it shouldn’t be during your morning toilette. And of course there’s wrinkles. How many of us poke at our faces regularly, to see if wrinkles are coming (as though catching them early significantly increases the chance of a cure)? Bearing these in mind as just the tip of the iceberg, is it so strange to say that many people, particularly women, fear their bodies?
There are a number of reasons why fearing one’s own body is probably one of the worst things imaginable. But interestingly, this experience has highlighted to me that I, at least, do not fear my body. Let me explain.
After my weary sigh, I allowed myself a little bit of time to think about how I felt about all of this. My hair and I have been known to have a complicated relationship in the past, after all. How do I feel now that it is leaving my scalp like a frustrated school child leaves the building when the final bell rings? I guess part of me is sad, knowing that I’ll have to dab minoxidil onto my scalp for the rest of my life if I don’t want to go bald (and that shit is expensive). But another part of me is happy. This makes me more like my father, after all; a person I love, deeply admire, and am proud to say I take after. It’s also kind of cool. Like being left-handed or being double-jointed, this is something that I didn’t choose for myself, but it’s there and it’s unique and different. I know it’s supposed to be seen as unique and different in a negative light, but I don’t always see it that way. I suppose having never known my father to have hair, I have never seen baldness as freaky or bad or something that makes you less of a person.
But I think my overwhelming reaction went something along the lines of “eh, shit happens”. This wouldn’t have always been the case. If I had discovered this several years ago I would have more of an emotional reaction to it, but as it stands, losing my hair does not seem an important enough thing for me to waste too much of my precious emotional energy. So for the past three months I have shrugged, but minoxidil in my hair, mentioned it to my friends occasionally, explained how it works, and asked them if they think it’s growing back yet. If it does grow back, awesome; I can once again embark on my quest for long hair and maybe get there before my hair reaches its very short terminal length then sputters and dies, as it has done before. If it doesn’t, then I might investigate the going bald option, which will at the very least be cooler in summer. Either way, I know I’ll be fine. Losing my hair? So very much not the end of my world.
It occurs to me that I’m extremely lucky to be as unfussed as I am. I’m lucky that I don’t fear my body, or think that my body is turning against me. I have a freedom that few other people, especially women, have. In a way that’s the most worrying thing of all. Like it or not, this sort of “shit happens” to our bodies all the time. Right now I suppose I just hope that my writing about my hair loss experience thus far assures any readers going through similar stuff that a) they’re not alone, b) there are good points about it too, and c) it doesn’t always have to be a big deal.