Friday, 28 August 2009

Wigs on Parade

The red wig, I’ve decided, is quite wrong in the parting and crown area. It’s got no roots. There’s no scalp showing through, just a thick mat of multicoloured nylon. But it looks great worn with a beanie.

Sheldon and Rosa drop round for tea. I open the door in my auburn tresses and watch their faces like a hawk. I hope that I am able to tell when friends are being too kind or too squeamish to give one their unvarnished assessment. They will often hold back from saying something like “For god’s sake, if you go outside in that ridiculous wig we will be obliged to walk five paces behind you, for your own good you understand. Someone will have to fight a rearguard action against the hordes of children who will follow, jeering in your wake.” So it pays to be able to read people’s faces.

I think that they genuinely like it. Feeling more confident I rip off the red hair and model the bob. This meets with more approval and they agree to go out to the coffee shop with me.
Downstairs, my elderly neighbour Irene is sitting in the sun on her front step. “Oh, don’t you look well?” she pipes up, “And your hair looks lovely.” I lean towards her in a conspiratorial way. “It’s a wig.” I confide.

Further on down Portobello Road, Helen is standing in the doorway of her alternative therapy shop. She calls out “Hey Lily, have you had your hair cut? It looks great.” “It’s a wig” I yell back.

Rosa pulls me to one side. “It kind of defeats the purpose of the exercise," she kindly informs me "if you tell everybody it’s a wig.”