I’m only going to say this once…

So listen (ok, fine, read) carefully.

I bought a sheitel.

Yes, you read that right. I’ll give you all a moment to catch your breath.
Proceed when you are ready.

I recently wore a horrible wig for a day (oh Purim) and I thought that ended my buried desire to have a sheitel as a part of my head covering repertoire. It was uncomfortable on so many levels, which I have already written about so I won’t recap. However, that Sunday, I had an opportunity to support a friend of mine who is a local sheitel macher (wig maker, seller, stylist extraordinaire) as she was hosting a large sale, and I knew I wanted to get a wig grip headband to wear under my scarves, as they have received rave reviews from many of my friends.

As I walked into my friend’s basement, the sight amazed me. There were wigs of every shape and color imaginable. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  A few friends were shocked to see me, though they were quickly appeased with the statement that I was just there to support the host.  After spending some time looking at the wigs on people’s heads and on the tables, my friend S encouraged me to try one “just for fun.” So I looked for a bit and pondered, and somewhere in my gut I was afraid to try on the wig.  Afraid to see myself with “real” hair. So I picked up a wig and held it on my hand for awhile, until S came over and again, encouraged me oh so lovingly to try it on and offered to help me since I clearly had no idea how this worked. S and I worked together to get the sheitel on my head, and her immediate reaction was a huge smile and pushing me to the mirror.  Everyone in the room reacted similarly, even me.

I couldn’t stop looking at myself. I felt like me, but with hair.  The color and cut (even before it was actually cut right) were very reminiscent of how my hair often looked in the summer before I got married.  It was beautiful without being too much.  Just a simple, classic Melissa look. I started freaking out.  I could see myself attending community events and weddings of non-religious friends in this wig.  I could imagine going to the fun young-adult events I have so often avoided because I didn’t want to deal with the inevitable awkward looks at my (often gorgeous) scarves.

The girls encouraged me to go upstairs and see it in the light, when I hesitated they reminded me that my head was in fact covered and we all laughed.

As I walked up the stairs, my good friend Talia had arrived.  She looked up from setting down her purse and with a shocked but happy expression she cried out “Oh! Its you!” You see, Talia immediately saw the friend she had met three years ago, a week before I got married. I made her take a photo which I texted to my amazing husband.  After texting back and forth, while I watched lots of women try on lots of fantastic wigs, my husband came over and met me outside to discuss the wig which I was rapidly falling in love with.

For those of you who are long time readers of the blog, you know that my husband is Sephardi and the idea of wearing a wig has long been a pipe dream I thought would never be actualized.  So the fact that he came to talk to me while wearing one was a big step.  Being the amazing husband he is, he reminded me that it is my hair and my mitzvah, and that while he doesn’t particularly like wigs, he understood my reasoning for wanting one and supported whatever decision I wanted to make. We didn’t dub ourselves Sephardekenazi for no reason – we each have things we cling to of our minhagim that the other doesn’t do (ie, he eats kitniyot and I still don’t).

I went back inside and had a small breakdown. I just couldn’t believe this was happening. I couldn’t believe that I, the girl who doesn’t wear wigs, was thinking about buying a wig.  My friends were extremely supportive without being pushy and in the end, they said some very inspiring and true things which helped me make my own choice.  Options are never a bad thing, so while I intend to still primarily live in scarves, I am excited to have another option.

I didn’t have buyers remorse at all, just a lot of shock and awe and I found myself saying “I just bought a sheitel” to Talia a lot the rest of that day.  Over the last two weeks I have slowly told a few friends who I knew could understand and be supportive, and eventually got to the point where I was ready to share this news with you all. Getting it cut and styled also helped make it more real, as did wearing it out for the first time.  I am slowly learning to love this look and get excited to have it as an option for the times where having a scarf feels more immodest as it draws significantly more attention than the incognito factor a great wig provides. I am also happy to announce that it did not irritate my head at all! Being pain free after 7 hours of wear and not having to futz with it at all is also pretty impressive.

Oh, and I suppose you want a photo huh?

Post by Melissa

Please be nice, this was a very difficult decision to make and I’m still in shock, though very happy. If comments are nasty, I will not approve them. Its my blog and I’ll moderate if I want to ;-)

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24 thoughts on “I’m only going to say this once…

  1. This post makes me smile! I also live primarily in scarves but it is SO nice to have the hair option for events – sometimes we stick out more with the scarves than with the (not ours) hair. I feel more confident with hair, isn’t that weird?

    You look fabulous, darling, and I wish you many hours of pain free hair wearing fun.

  2. Love it. I also especially love why your husband “relented.” I wish more people really understood that it is the woman’s mitzvah, and while it is influenced by her husband, it’s really upt to her to fulfill and come to terms with. Good for both of you!

  3. I think we should all give ourselves permission to change our minds, which is can be hard especially when it feels like you are violating your own closely held values. Thanks for sharing and for your honesty!

  4. This is such big step!! I am so excited for you. Of course, you look beautiful! Besides that, I like that you (and your hubbie) are setting a tone to always be open minded. Jumping out of your comfort zone can be a difficult thing. This fun step, gives you more options and also allows you to continue to light your own way. Not only are you a religious woman who is always smiling with bright colors and beautiful scarves but, now you can show another equally bright side!

    Keep paving the way!

  5. You look beautiful — not so much because of the hair (or “hair”) but because you look happy and excited to be exploring the mitzvah in this new way!

    I also loved your point about the immodesty of scarves when they draw attention. Food for thought..

  6. Mel! That looks awesome on you! I hope you wear it to work next week and come downstairs so we can all flutter around saying complimentary things. Enjoy & shabbat shalom!

  7. And this post is one reason why I love you. You are so open-minded, even on things that you swore you would never do. You an amazing woman and I am blessed to be able to call you my friend.

  8. I was captivated by your honesty. I’m glad you’re being true to yourself. You’re always beautiful and i’m glad you’re figuring out what’s right for YOU! <3

  9. I love what someone else said — we should give ourselves permission to change our minds.

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned recently, it’s that a lot of Jews don’t believe in that basic right, so yasher koach for listening to your heart and being who you are while making a change! I was so happy to be there with you during everything!

    Gorgeous, toots. Absolutely gorgeous!

  10. Pingback: The Tichel vs Sheitel Situation | Talia, She Wrote

  11. I love it! You are amazingly beautiful in anything you wear!!!! I have to agree though the pictures above take me back to the Melissa from a few years back. It is a perfect match! Your friend has a wonderful talent! I think you made a wonderful choice Sister Dear! Enjoy!
    Love always!

  12. Hello my dear Melissa,

    I have been pondering this post since I read it on Friday morning and felt compelled to comment. [There have been many times that I have wanted to, but felt out of place not being Jewish (& frankly not always understanding everything you write about.) ;-)]

    1. This is your journey, not ours, or anyone else’s – especially to judge so (although we all do it) you shouldn’t worry about it.

    2. I feel like this is something I understand. As a Mormon (mormon.org for more info) I have been endowed in the temple and wear garments as a part of my covenant. [You cover your head with scarves.] However, part of the teaching is to not bring undue attention to it. [As I understand a key tenent of your mitzvah.] As it is tied in with modesty, it is contradictory to bring attention to ourselves. So, there are times when it is more appropriate for me to not wear them. [You wearing a sheitel.] I am not going to suddenly head out in a tube dress that barely covers my backside, no more than you would suddenly go out without covering your hair at all.

    3. Thank you for the continued education. I am consistently amazed at the similarities of our religions, and our journeys, and – for the record – I love this blog!

    With love,
    Jennifer

  13. Wow! What a great story and post! You look very nice in the sheitel, very natural and smiley. :) It is a great thing to have on hand, I’ve found. I tend to wear mine around my parents, so they have a little more of a feeling of “oh yeah, this is still my daughter even though she’s all Orthodox now.” Wear it in good health!

  14. I was going to thank each commenter individually, but it was overwhelming me – so instead I want to give one blanket thank you to everyone for your kindness and support. I wore my sheitel the following Shabbat and had mostly supportive reactions in person as well.
    I am so blessed to be able to have such wonderful love and support in both my on and off line communities.

  15. For me, covering my head is very fluctional. Sometimes I wear hats ALL THE TIME. Only hats. Or only hats and full headscarves. Other times I’m in thick headbands pretty much constantly (where I’m at, these days). Sometimes hats and headbands, but rarely scarves. I think it’s a really personal thing, with, ultimately, your intention to fulfill the mitzvah being the most important point. We all have our lines and, for all of us, they move around throughout our lives. I hope you’re enjoying your new sheitel! :)

  16. :)

    (Catching up…)
    I’m so happy for you! It’s a different kind of gorgeous and I’m so happy that you’re happy! It’s wonderful to have an option, and it in no way changes your commitment to tzniut, it just gives you another way of expressing it depending on your mood and/or the environment you’ll be in. On the Lettuce Edge is right: we need to give ourselves permission to change our minds, and I know you’ve been wrestling with this for a long time now… Yay! ::bounce-bounce::

  17. I applaud your decision to be flexible and loving with yourself! Good for you!! Personally, I find that with a sheitel, there’s less “distance” between me and non-frum/religious people, who think that it’s real hair. (Even my father can’t tell). I find that a hat sets me apart.

  18. Pingback: Life without a Sheitel | Redefining Rebbetzin

  19. Pingback: Wrapunzel

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