Geraldine is my new age appropriate wig. She is a platinum shade so pale that she’s white. I think she is very sophisticated, but Geraldine’s consort (a.k.a. my husband) isn’t so sure. Mr. Doyle is having trouble with Geraldine. Knowing, as I do, the old saying “to the blind, all things are sudden”, I should have been prepared.
The tip-off should have been Doyle’s reluctance to request senior rates for me at theaters and museums. He’d rather pay the extra two bucks than admit to having a wife who is eight years older. At least that’s what I originally thought. Now I suspect he doesn’t want the ticket seller to think he’s the senior.
But getting back to Geraldine.
As a person with alopecia universalis, I know that wigs can make age—or attitude for that matter—a digital issue. That is, I can switch from one generation to another by simply plucking a wig from its stand—ash brown to snow white and back again. Waiting around for your hair to age gradually is an analog process and a terribly time consuming one. I can appear with Raquel, the red-haired biker chick for a casual afternoon outing, and six hours later step out with Geraldine for a slinky black formal evening. And the next day, I can pal around with Annie, an entity of indiscriminate age and ease. Wigs offer the marvelous option of instant personality change. If I get sick of myself (and I sometimes do) a new “me” is a mere switch away.
I understand there are Alopecians who pay handsome sums for wigs. I don’t see much sense in it myself. I buy wigs the way some women buy shoes so I can match my purchased hair to my mood, outfit, situation or whim. I test drive wigs for style and color, and if I buy the wrong shade of blonde, back it goes. If the purchased hair looks like it belongs on a Barbie doll, it doesn’t stay around for long. I’d rather keep a wardrobe of wigs than to take naturally-grown hair to weekly appointments at the hairdresser’s for colorings, perms and stylings. And when a wig is ready to retire, I can put her out to pasture with few regrets.
Mr. Doyle says that Geraldine looks like the head mistress of a very snooty school. That’s one of the points he has against her apparently. I take his point but a snooty head mistress is an interesting role to play from time to time. And when I visit my younger sister, I like to step out with Geraldine. Meg came by her hair color naturally, and she and Geraldine look like sisters.
But today—today I don’t feel sophisticated. Or very senior. So today Geraldine is vacationing on her wig stand and I’m hanging out with Annie.