• Larry
    “A Helping Hand.”

    “Uhm, I need to talk to you,” my friend, Valeri said as we finished up lunch. I knew something was up – she had only taken a bite or two of her sandwich – but was not sure what was bothering her.

    “Sure. So what’s up?”

    “Not here,” she answered, looking around nervously. “It’s kinda personal and private. Can we go to your place?”

    “Of course,” I replied, feeling both curios and concerned.

    In my apartment, Valeri was even more jittery. She couldn’t keep still and even paced a little. It was clear that whatever was wrong was serious. Val is normally plain spoken, she knows what she wants to say, and says it. I found myself in the unenviable, and unheard of role of having to coax out what she wanted to say, but was finding it hard to do.

    I asked if there was trouble back home. She said things are fine.

    “Are you alright?”

    She turned away, but not fast enough for me not to notice she was blushing furiously.

    “No, I mean yes, I’m fine, too.” She shook her head of short, fine, dark brown hair, still not looking me in the face. I cocked an eyebrow and said, “so what’s wrong, Hon?”

    After beating around the bush, she finally told me what was wrong – even if it had been like pulling wisdom teeth. She was concerned about her boy friend, Bill, and their relationship. It seems Bill likes women with long hair, and her’s was very short. I liked Bill; he seemed like a stand up guy, but I didn’t like where this was going. “What can I do to help?”

    I lost her again. She broke eye contact, started twitching again, and even resumed her pacing. Slowly, I helped her to calm down. I then gently and patiently reestablished eye contact.

    “I want to buy a wig . . . but I don’t know much about them.” She stopped looking at me and was staring at the floor again. “I know you wear them, of course, and I’ve heard a lot about your experiences, and you seem very knowledgeable about them – I . . . I just don’t want to buy something horrible, you know, something that looks “wiggy.” She was blushing furiously again.

    “Is this Bill’s idea, or is it your’s?”

    “Mine.” She looked confused. “He doesn’t even know about this . . . it’s meant to be, you know, a surprise.”

    “In that case, I’d be delighted.”

    “Why? You wouldn’t have helped if getting a long wig was Bill’s idea?”

    “No, I don’t like it when someone in a relationship tries to make the other become what they want, rather than not appreciating the person that they already are – ignoring their desires and not allowing them self expression (which includes how they like to wear their hair. You’re not someone’s Barbie doll.”

    She laughed and said she wouldn’t be anyone’s play thing.

    “Are you ready?” I asked.

    “For what?

    “Your consultation.” Seeing she didn’t know what I was talking about, I explained it to her.

    “A consultation is when you sit down with a stylist, and discuss what you want done. The stylist gives a professional opinion on how to go about getting what you want – and if he or she is a good stylist they will tell you if your ideas are good ones and if they’re practical. A good stylist cares about their client; they want to make your desires a reality. Don’t just talk, but really listen. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or have them repeat what you didn’t quite understand. Never tell a stylist to do what they want – you’re a partner when you get your hair done; they aren’t mind readers, and what they think is good, may not match what you think is good. Take along pictures of styles and colors you want. The more information, the better.

    “Other questions that are important include: how often do you plan to wear your wig, such as everyday or on special occasions? What sort of activities do you plan on doing? It may seem overwhelming at first, but just keep calm and keep your cool. It’s not a police interrogation you know. If you need to use the bath room, need something to drink, or have to stretch your legs and feet, or just time to make sense of all the information you’ve just been given. No problem, Stylists need to break to. Remember, the good ones care about their work, and the best ones not only want to do professional work, they want you to be happy and a returning customer. Take a friend, if you need moral support.”

    A hand shot out and grabbed mine. “Would you go with me?”

    “Of course; it would be my honor to do so.”

    She was scared so I became my adorable and charming self – I buttered her so much that if she had been toast, she would have slipped from my grasp and on to the floor. The “butter” I used was perfect for the job at hand. She also asked if I would go with her to the Salon. She was beyond scared, but I knew enough ways to express my thoughts to her, and to understand what she wanted to say – and we had plenty of paper and pencils to get through the “great communication barrier.” First of all I reminded her that her natural hair was safe, and that it was the wig that might be damaged. Remove the wig and she would look the same as she did right now. That was all she needed to hear. I took her over to my friend, Tonya, to be pampered while they worked on her “transformation.” As we drove, I asked the questions that Tonya would, which made her answers more detailed, exact and communicate exactly what she wanted. As much as Val enjoyed what I was telling her, I was equally pleased that she understood what I was telling her. We talked about the basics: human hair verses synthetic, how a piece should feel – not too tight or to loose, the difference between a full wig and a fall or a topper, extensions, how hot was wearing a wig going to feel, and how secure they could be when windy, raining, and of course how to keep the wig from sliding or bunching up in the back.

    If my answers impressed her, my final tit-bits blew her away. She had no idea that with some wigs you could wear while swimming, or all the other things that she could do while wearing a wig – especially, when being intimate with Bill.

    When we got to Tanya’s place, we were holding hands as we went inside. Tanya was waiting, and after introductions were made, she took us back to her private fitting room. As Val sat down, I pulled my hand away. She looked alarmed.

    “Hey, I’m not going anywhere; but this is your consultation. When Tanya asks you a question, don’t look to me – you have to answer. This is something I can’t do for you. I smiled reassuringly, gave Tanya a wink, and bought myself a soda. I tried to find something to read, but all Tanya had were beauty magazines. I must have been sighing rather loudly – loud enough for Valeri and Tanya to hear, and be a distraction.

    “Hey, Larry, make your self useful and put a wig cap on Valeri’s head.” I might have imagined it, but I think Tanya said, “ . . . and stuff one in your mouth while you’re at it.”

    For the uninitiated, a wig cap is worn to distribute the wig wearer’s hair evenly so there are no bumps or bulges on top or at the back of the head. They are also useful in helping a wig stay in place. Most are made from nylon, and have the look and feel of panty hose. After placed on the head, you tuck in any loose strands of your natural hair under the wig cap. They look a little silly, but it does the job.

    As Valeri looks in the mirror, I said, “you look like a little goblin.” We both laughed. Our laughter petered out at the perfect time. Tanya had rolled up a cart with five or six long wigs. All were medium to dark brown in color. We had talked about color on the drive up to the salon, and she wanted a wig that closely matched her natural color. I understood why. She wanted a wig that would look like she had let her natural hair grow out. We had fun helping Val try them all on. Tanya turned the chair away to fit each wig perfectly, and then turned the chair back around to let Val see how she looked in each wig. Once, she sneaked a blonde one on for laughs. We were all surprised at great it looked, and even more surprised when she said that she wanted it, but not for today. She turned to me and said she understood now why I wore different colored wigs. Wow, Val was a new Wigster in the making.

    She chose a really nice chocolate brown wig that wasn’t curly at all but did have nice waves. Some people say that the wig chooses the owner, rather than the other way around. I think they chose each other. Why? Because after buying some accessories, she decided to wear it instead of putting it in a box! I asked her where did that boost of self confidence come from? She just smiled there for a minute and said, “You.”

    Confused, I asked her how did I do that?

    “You’re one of my good friends. I know you’d never let me walk around in public in a wig that didn’t look nice. It was my favorite from when I first saw myself in it. I thought it looked perfect for what I needed. All the questions I used to ask you about finding a good wig paid off. I knew this one suited me perfectly. I wouldn’t have been able to do that without all that you taught me.”

    We leaned in so we could give each other a big hug, and she gave me a sisterly kiss. I was thrilled that my wig life style had helped someone. I’m a Christian so what I was able to do means everything!
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