How shallow am I? Shall I count the ways? Don't worry I won't start counting because that would turn into an entire book, and seriously, I don't have the energy to write a bestseller.
The thing about shallow is, for starters, I can't escape it if I tried, and well, it is really, really different for men and women. (Warning: gender bias.) When guys are shallow, they mostly talk about home remodeling (which, once or twice a decade, I can talk about) or work, but no, never about their necks. Or at least, I've never hear them complaining. (Which is weird. Don't guys have necks?)
But when women get shallow (don't shoot me,) there is a lot of talk about hair and skin. Hair, in my case, takes up an awful lot of brain space. You know, all those hours you spent listening to Greta and how the planet's vanishing (which it is, but how long is it supposed to go anyway?), I was thinking about…yeah, you got it, my hair.
I'd recently read an essay here by a writer I enjoy, which was about sex, but also hair, and she began by stating that she spends "north of five hundred dollars" to give her hair that certain bedroom look. Now, the essay was terrific, with lots to say about sex, the old-fashioned dirty kind, the type where men pull hair. But all I could think that morning, was, wow, $500 is what fashionable New Yorkers spend on their hair; and if I spent that much (doubtful, to be honest), would my hair look genuinely tousled?
Backstory. My hair started falling out eight or nine years ago, sometime after my mother died, after my thyroid stopped working. Clumps of my formerly thick hair began appearing at the bottom of the shower. When I'd dare to comb it, more fell out. If anyone ran my hair through his fingers, even more. And yes, I tried potions and creams, and no, nothing worked.
I'd never seen myself as vain (at least, not in the $500 at a hair salon way.) But baldness, the fear or it, emptied my mind: hair was all I could think about. And all I thought was: don't become bald. As if baldness were a curse. Even though I knew many women wore wigs, and the world had far worse in store for me (trust me, I was right about that). And then, the hair returned. Not the luxurious hair I once had, but enough to cover my head.
The bar's lower now, that's what aging does.
Any day, my hair might start falling out again. I could pretend it doesn't frighten me, I could pretend I'm wiser, deeper, too enlightened to care. But I don't bother.
Why? Because, well…#shallow.