“No, I never told anyone that I am bald and that I wear a prostheses, not even my husband knows” says the woman speaking into the camera on tv.
Last night I saw something that upset me. A lady in her sixties, sitting in front of the hairdresser’s mirror. Cape on the shoulders. The hairdresser (a gentleman in his fifties with flower embroidery on his white shirt, black frame glasses, bouncing movements around the customer) holds a razor, one of those barber razors used by killers in horror movies. The lady is quiet and chat benevolently with a girl with long blonde curls, a very generous neckline and something similar to leggings squeezing her legs, although I’m not sure about this last detail because she’s sitting. The girl is holding a microphone and listens to the lady. The upper part of the lady’s head is completely bald, her hair (short and wavy) starts from the height of the ears, she is otherwise bald. The hairdresser is carefully shaving her scalp. Last important detail: this scene is broadcast from a local television channel,
“Not having hair has always been a big problem for me, you see, until I met (here she refers to the hairdresser whose name I have forgotten) I didn’t want to go out anymore, because I was ashamed” – the girl with the microphone nods to show understanding and her hair, bouncy like a spring, moves up and down, the lady continues “because I always felt like I looked messy, and I think that it’s no good for a woman if she doesn’t have hair, don’t you think so? ” the girl’s blonde ringlets bounce around as she nods emphatically and then she asks: “So you never told anyone about the hair prosthesis?” – “No, no one knows, not even my husband!” she says while her secret is broadcast to all the viewers of this program I ran into in the nightly boredom of channel surfing.
Pinch me. Doesn’t the lady realize that she is unravelling her secret? Doesn’t she understand that they’re filming her with a camera and that the image of her head, scalp shaved with the barber’s blade, is entering the homes of friends, relatives, acquaintances and shopkeepers who will see her in all the vulnerability of her androgenetic alopecia? At first I think it’s impossible, but the more the lady goes on and on explaining her hidden life (showering, going to the beach, shame, discomfort and then the salvation of the prosthesis) and the more I realise that she is way too relaxed while talking, without even a little bit of hesitation or fear for the presence of the camera, and the more I look the more I convince myself that unless she is a consumed actress, the lady is not realising what she is doing.
Then I begin to wonder how could they convince her to speak so freely of such an intimate fact, something that has conditioned her life for so long and in such a way. Did they promise a discount on the treatment? I look at the hairdresser prancing around her, I watch the blonde bouncy ringlets move like a spring and a great sadness overcomes me. I almost cry and I want to protect the lady, but it is too late of course. And I get a melancholy that brings me restless dreams that night.