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?
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 ;-)