Debbi FullerFor those of you who are dating and don’t know how to broach the subject of your alopecia with a new person, this is my best advice: You tell them on the third date, without fail!

When you go on a first date with someone, you’re just checking them out and seeing if they are worth getting to know. You definitely should not be getting so close that they need to know about your hair – right?

On the second date you are evaluating them for possible future relationship material. Ask all the right questions; find out if they are good to their Moms, etc.

If you both like each other enough to go on to that all-important third date, then it’s time to tell them about your alopecia.

For one thing, you don’t want them to put their hand on the back of your neck and be surprised that there’s an edge there, but, most importantly, if you wait longer, the alopecia becomes the elephant in the room.

You know that you have to bring it up, but the longer you leave it, the more difficult it is to do. If you let it go until you’re really involved and the person can’t handle it, you feel devastated and miserable because you let yourself get close to someone who, in my opinion, is unworthy of you in the first place. Now you need a shrink to get over the experience!

Don’t do that!

Tell them on the third date. That way, even if you get rejected, the most it takes to get over it is a glass of wine or two! At this stage, you can say to yourself, “Well, I’m sure glad I found out now that this person is so shallow that they can’t see me for the wonderful person I am.”

Anyone worthy of your love and affection needs to be able to cut the mustard. Anyone who would not want to date you just because you have alopecia will disappear at the first sign of trouble on any front. What would happen if you got seriously ill with, say, breast cancer, and had to have a mastectomy? He’d be out the door. You want someone who will truly love you for who you are and won’t judge you if you gain a couple of pounds, wear glasses, have spider veins, a sagging butt, or alopecia!

The best people are the ones who see the real you, the person who is funny, caring, strong, hard-working – all those great qualities that you have!

As to how to broach the subject, don’t make a big deal about it.

Say something like “By the way, before we go out again, I need to tell you that I wear a wig because I have a condition called alopecia areata. Have you ever heard of it?”

If they say yes, then get into a discussion of how and why and find out how much they know. If they say no, then tell them about it.

Tell them that you are totally healthy; that it is an autoimmune condition that only affects your hair; that one out of every 100 people will get the little round patches during their lifetimes; that you are just one of the lucky ones that got totalis!

Be funny; make sure that you don’t make it a big serious thing.

You’ll be able to tell by the way the discussion goes if the person can handle it or not. If they can’t, no big deal; there are plenty of better fish in the sea. If they say “No problem, your hair looks great!” then make another date!

Finally, if you decide to continue seeing each other, don’t wait long before the ‘unveiling’. Anyone that you continue to see will want you to be comfortable enough to take your hair off in front of them. You want to be yourself, hair or no hair.

I know people who have been married and had children who never let their families see them without hair. This makes your life very complicated and stressful when it doesn’t have to be.

You can wear your hair when you want to, and take it off when you don’t! Everyone just adapts to it and, after a while, they won’t even notice if you have hair on or not!

My husband never even notices when I change from long hair to short! He volunteers me to take off my vacuum to show strangers my tattoos! That’s the kind of love and acceptance you deserve.

Don’t live your life in fear of people finding out. Take the bull by the horns and show them! They’ll think you are great and, if they don’t, you don’t need them in your life.

You are worth it!
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* Reprinted with permission from Debbi Fuller.

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I've thought to myself that when on a first date, if it was going poorly, I could just excuse myself to the restroom and put on a totally different-looking wig, then come back to the table and wait to see if he notices and what happens next. I mean, it might freak him out and then I'm free of Mr. Wrong. Not sure I'd do that if the first date was going well, but it's certainly an entertaining thought for a not-so-great date and definitely something I'd do because I'm in for a good joke now and then.

Honestly, however, if I'm really into a guy (which I'd probably have to be to even go on a date in the first place), I'd probably just swing it bald since that's how I go around at home and in public about 90% of the time. After all, he's gotta deal with my wheelchair anyways and if that hasn't already deterred him, what's a bit of baldness on a bada** wheelchair chick anyhow? ;D

We need a LIKE button. That's really great Gutsy Girl!!! Actually, I've done something similar when out with my hubby. I wear one hairpiece into the restaurant, then go change to another one mid-meal. It's fun to see who notices! Less people than you would think!

I wear a bonded-on system and I've been getting to know a guy for a month now. I feel tempted to just never bring alopecia up, and hope if he notices something "different" about my hair he just assumes it's extensions. This is the first man I've been interested in since I got AA that seems to be interested in me too. I just don't want his feelings about me to change. I know I should probably tell him, but I wish I had done it sooner. I am not sure when, or how, to bring it up at this point. I feel like it is becoming the elephant in the room! Help!

Dominique, that elephant isn't getting any smaller! It is what it is. If he rejects you because of your hair, he was NOT the right guy! The longer you let this go on, the more hurtful it will be if he turns out NOT to be the guy you think he is. On the other hand, you may be torturing yourself for nothing! Either way, it has to come out sometime so, as Nike says, JUST DO IT. Don't make a big deal out of it when you tell him, just tell him that you have to tell him something about yourself and explain. He will be whatever he is and then you can move on together - or separately if HE does not live up to YOUR standards.

Haha! I waited until we were making out and he ran his hands through my hair! Long story short, it didn't slow him down a bit LOL!

That's it Dominique - just let those hormones take over! A guy with his eye on the prize won't worry about the hair!

Debbi and Dominque...you are making me blush....Great news Dominque.:)

Rosy

Hey Debbi and Cheryl,

We've met at NAAF conferences! I'm getting into dating again several years after a divorce. Your "third date" rule is nice, but I have not worn a wig for more than 10 years and my photo is all over the Internet (I'm a writer and editor). So to start wearing a wig for dating (besides I hate the things) would just be ridiculous. I got a really nice photo taken by a pro and I'm going to post it on the dating site but I'm wondering whether to mention I have alopecia (universalis in my case) right up front. Usually, people think it's cancer and I want to say right away that I'm perfectly healthy and perfectly feminine! I also wonder if there is really any guy out there who would even want to go out on a first date with a lady with no hair, but that's probably my insecurities talking. Any perspective would be appreciated.

Solange

Hi Solange,

Love your name by the way, I have a cousin with that name (our family is French-Canadian).  I would absolutely put in your bio that it is alopecia universalis so that people don't jump to the conclusion that you are not well.  There is a caveat to this however.  There are a few real doozies out there - people who have a fetish about bald women!  You want to make sure that whoever approaches you is not one of those!  The other alternative would be to take a pic with a wig and then tell anyone who contacts you that you really don't wear one and that it is alopecia.  This would be to weed out the nutcases.  That is my only fear for you using a bald pic.  I've been 'friended' by some really strange people on FB just because I am bald.  That's just as bad as NOT wanting to be my friend because I am bald.  Bizarre.  As far as I know, I have NEVER EVER NOT been friended because I am bald.  Nobody really cares.  Guys, once they meet you and like you as a person won't care either - unless they are shallow Hals, in which case, you dodged a bullet.

Hi Debbi,

Well, my name is from my Belgian godmother, but I do get the French-Canadian connection. I decided to post the professionally-taken head shot without the wig and a brief note about "my interesting non-hairstyle." I also noted that it is alopecia, I'm very healthy and I like myself the way I am. The first guy I contacted has contacted me back and it looks like we have a coffee date for this weekend!

So we shall see. Fingers crossed. Thanks for your perspective.

Great!  That was fast.  I'm sure he'll be a great guy.  Have fun!!

I struggle with this, but I often find it has a natural way of coming up a few dates in anyway. The last guy I was seeing- when I told him that I wore a wig he said "I know, I figured it out on our first date but I figured you would tell me why when you were ready to talk about it". It didnt bother him in the least that I wore one!

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