In 2010, Baggage, a television show hosted by Jerry Springer premiered on the Game Show Network. As if finding love through Jerry Springer wasn’t a big enough twist, this unique dating show involved contestants revealing their secrets and flaws to each other, their “baggage.”
Players had three different suitcases, varying in size, representing the metaphorical heaviness of their baggage. Small to medium sized suitcases contained confessions that were relatively stomach-able: “I’ve shoplifted,” “I only brush my teeth once day.”
Large baggage, on the other hand, usually created room for pause: “I own 48 cats,” “I’m wanted in a three countries.” You get the idea.
Hair loss should not be considered baggage.
But from my experience, when it comes to dating, hair loss can tend to feel like the largest suitcase you tote. No matter your age, gender, history, or astrological sign, it is daunting to discuss parts about yourself that you deem flawed, especially with those in which we are romantically involved.
Thanks to my decision to splurge on a phone with good storage capability and the fact that my boyfriend and I have been dating for less than a year, I have the text messages from when I told my boyfriend about my hair loss and alternative hair journey.
Therein lies the gory details of unpacking my large baggage with my boyfriend of about a month. In a word, he was un-phased.
Since this time, I’ve started wearing hair more and experimenting with wigs and toppers. He tells me his honest thoughts on them if I ask, but mostly doesn’t comment except for his usual compliments on my appearance.
Do I think he secretly thinks my hair loss is embarrassing or worries my hair pieces look unnatural?
I’ve learned his thoughts center more around sports and food then how I am wearing my hair.
I do not share my story with the intent to minimize the fear and other crappy feelings that can accompany telling romantic interests about hair loss and/or our decision to don alternative hair. It is scary and it takes courage.
Here are some quick and dirty tips to consider if you are struggling with dating and hair loss/alternative hair:
- Hair loss and alternative hair will be as big or small of a deal as you make it. I chose to be upfront about the anxiety and sadness that I experienced, but you can also be “casual Cathy.” E.g., “I don’t have a lot of hair so I wear some accessories to supplement… have you ever tried the oysters, here?”
- If you aren’t really sure where things are going with a person, stick to small talk and wait before discussing the topic. Don’t bear your soul to just anyone! Reserve vulnerability to those most worthy.
- Pick your preferred method of communication. Some of you likely scoffed at me choosing text message, but hey, I’m a millennial and I do communicate best in writing. How will you best express yourself and what you want your person of interest to know? Text, face-to-face, zoom meeting, carrier pigeon? Go with what you know.
- Finally, consider the outcome. Worst (and unlikely) case scenario, you end up rejected as a result of your admission. Was this person ever worth your time in the first place? Do you truly long to be with someone who makes you feel bad about your story? Would you take this person home to your mom or @hairlossboss?
Remember, our baggage is in our control. We pack our own suitcases and decide the narratives that get to come along.
What if we stopped thinking of our hair loss and alternative hair journey as the large suitcase or even the small one?
What if it was another beautiful thing that made us uniquely us and worthy of love?
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Thank you so much for sharing your story! As a woman in her early 20s, dealing with hair loss and dating can be extremely nerve-wracking. Reading your post gives me a lot of courage .. thanks again :)
This is such a great blog! I too was nervous about telling someone about wearing hair due to my hair loss. Luckily, the person I was dating didn’t mind at all, and now we’ve been married for 3 years! Thank you for sharing.