I love this web site. I just shaved my head about 4 weeks ago, so without this site, I could still be home afraid to embrace my beautiful bald self!

I read so many of your blog post, your comments, your experiences...

I learned to be ready to expect a lot of "Do you have cancer?" questions. Plus, many other inquiries.

Here, I'd like to start a running list of "Things We Alopecians Hear When Out in the World."

If we keep a centrally-located thread discussion here, new members can read and prepare for what may or may not cross their paths.

What have you heard from strangers:

1. While wearing a wig?
2. When not wearing anything on your bald head.
3. While wearing scarves?
4. Other?

Please add comments as they happen, too. Any prepared answers you have for a particular question could also be helpful.

I really think knowledge is power. Being prepared gives us strength to practice responses, or practice non-responses, right! Whatever our mood is at the moment, I guess! ; - )

Thanks for your insights!

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Most of the time I'm bald in public, or wearing one of my Turkish scarves. When bald, I've been asked "how is your fight going?" "what stage of chemo are you at?" "what kind of cancer do you have?" I've been told: "you have beautiful skin", "you have beautiful eyes", "You have a great head", "do you put makeup on your head...it looks so smooth". Some women (cancer survivors, mostly) tell me how brave they think it is to not wear a wig.

In my scarves, I get lots of compliments: "I wish I could wear a scarf like that", "you look exotic."

Great topic, thanks for starting it!
On New Years Eve I was having a great night in a bar when a guy came up and tried to pull my hair and said 'Is that a wig or is it real?' - very loudly.
I tried not to let it ruin my night, and it didn't, but it still made me feel horrible... So mean! Another time a lady in my gym just straight out asked if I wear a wig. I was shocked at her bluntness in the tone she said it, but just said 'Yes' and waited to see her response. She wanted more info - I could tell just being nosey, but I found just replying and waiting was the best way. I wasn't going to open up to a complete stranger.

We all have a choice how we deal with each situation, I believe there's no real right or wrong. I just can't imagine myself being so nosey to a stranger. Although when I can tell people wear a wig, sometimes I tell them that I do too, then we can have a conversation about it.

Do you guys say anything to women you see out and about with alopecia? Sometimes I want to tell them how empowering it felt to shave my head and get a wig - just in case they hadn't thought of that option?
Hi Kat - I am a male with AU and after wearing a wig for 30 years decided to go "topless" - so off it came! My bald head was white and my face was ...shall we say "weatherbeaten"...so i used fake tan to make it all same color. With males baldness is more acceptable so I feel ok. With females the difficulty is not knowing if the woman has alopecia or having chemo so how do you approach her? I think women look cool with a bald head, compared to a bad wig...!
One time I had this little girl (4 or 5) behind me in the grocery store line which was really long. She kept saying to her mom " I don't like this girl she is so weird looking she has no hair can we switch lines" she kept making comments like this for 5 mins straight... and her mom said NOTHING...just "its okay sweetie we are going home soon don't worry" . I was more offended by her mothers lack of sensitivity to the situation then the little girls comments. I mean come on, if my daughter said that I would not let it slide, I would explain to her how rude it is to talk like that and then apologize for it. This continued until I dropped my basket looked at her mother right in the eye and said " how can you let her get away with doing that?" all she said back was "i'm not her mom i'm her grandmother"...I got really emotional and just left the store with out my food. It still bugs me to this day.
I'm so sorry Danielle,
My ex brother in law was in the war he got shot up age 17 they sent him home without his legs. He's been in a wheel chair since 74. So many rude statements from people, people stare children teese. It's really awful for him and I'm sure many others who are different then the norm. I worked for a not-for-profit company that helped people with disabilities. We went out in public many times and some people would turn around and go the other way. What is wrong with people I just will never understand.
Hugs.
I love it! Thea, of Bald Girls Do Lunch, also has cards made up about alopecia.

I printed some up for myself recently that have essentially the same thing. I also put my two YouTube video titles on one side because I often want to give those to people.

I guess I've been fortunate, so far. In my year of going everywhere bald, the SINGLE slightly negative thing I've heard is a little kid at the zoo saying "Mommy, that lady doesn't have any hair!" Everyone else has been very positive and complimentary - when they're not asking me about my cancer, that is. ( ;-)
Sandy,

Love the card! When did you decide to go without a wig? Something I have not screwed-in my courage for as yet. I am going to use the card... "nothing ventured nothing gained."

Bless you for showing the way.

meg
Hi Meg,

I decided to go without a wig within a few months of shaving my head in January 2008. I kept trying to wear a wig off and on for a few more months, but I just can't do it - they're too hot and itchy for me. I now haven't had a wig on my head at all for about 4 months, and don't even feel like wearing one for "dress up" anymore.

Not long after I lost my hair, I was at a concert with family members, in an un-airconditioned hall (everyone was fanning themselves), and after about a half hour of sweat running down my head and feeling miserably hot (the show hadn't started yet), I shouted "F**#!, yanked the wig off and threw it on the ground, and started to cry. I'll never be in that situation again.

Whenever I wore a wig, there would inevitably come moments when I got too warm - due to a hot flash, physical exercise, or room temperature change. Then, I felt stuck. If I took it off and put it back on, it looked really silly and people were shocked - oooh, she had hair, but now she doesn't! BUT, if I start out bald, or am wearing a scarf, everyone knows (or suspects) from the beginning that I don't have hair and it's no big deal. It really isn't.

If you haven't seen them, please check out my two YouTube videos for more of an explanation about how I feel about the subject: "Alternatives to Wearing a Wig", and "Living a Bald Life". They're both on AW, but may be easier to find on YouTube. Also, I just posted a blog about my first bald scuba trip and some new photos on my page.

I don't maintain that all bald women have to go out in public without a scarf or wig....I just want us to feel free to have the SAME choice to do that as men do.

All the best,
Mary
As women with alopecia I hope many will also refer the people they meet to our website baldgirlsdolunch.org because it is very informative about what alopecia is and isn't. We have a lovely brochure "How are You Nurturing Your self Image?" which you can download and print off our website. It is graphically hip and savvy as is the entire site.That brochure just won a Gold Triangle award from the American Academy of Dermatology. Very different from the impressions women get when they go to some other sites. AW is of course a place I love to recommend, but not for strangers. You won't find easily if at all simple explanations of AA , treatments and referrals to medical links here on AW. This is a social networking site with a different purpose.

The medical information at baldgirlsdolunch.org is more up to date than the n a a f. See my latest blog posts. I am posting the original sources so when funding goes to research teams and you have no idea what the results were you can rely on us to give you the follow-up because you deserve to know. Not enough people are demanding the follow-through and they should be.

With our graphics and information we educate that we're not hung up on perpetuating the single storyline "this is a terrible disease that is psychologically devastating". Women with aa and the public both need to internalize the messages and the reality that women with aa are completely normal.
You said it, Thea! The negative message is very damaging.
I wear a freedom wig that no one can really tell is a wig, so I've not had any comments while wearing a wig. But even when I had other wigs before this one that were more obvious, no one ever commented on them.

I had a little kid say to his mother when I was walking along the street bald say, "Mom, is that a man?" I am pretty sure I do not look like a man - I mean, I was just wearing jeans and a tee but I am clearly a chick! She shushed him and kept walking but it didn't make me feel too good.

I had a lady assume I had cancer when I was wearing a bandana at work - she launched into her whole cancer story and then I felt really bad saying, "I don't have cancer, it's alopecia." I think she felt awkward too.

Mostly though, people don't comment at all - sometimes they give me funny looks but that's about it.
I have been wearing wigs from the age of 11... from the start. Had some realy bbbaaddd wigs in the begining. I remember so clearly how it hurt when someone would make a comment or laugh about my hair. When they would ask me if it was a wig, i would always respond NO. I dont know why i lied, could not admit to people that i had a wig on. I wear now a natural hair wig that you tape to on your skin... love it. So much freedom... its been a long time that someone has asked me if i have a wig on... hopefully NEXT time i will reply proudly YES. For a long time i felt ashamed of it... did not have much support exept for my family. Didnt know anybody else with this condition...
I am amazed to read the letters and know that people are going and feeling the same things as i am.

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