Ask Amy: Wig wearer wonders about therapist's view

FresnoAugust 5, 2013 

Dear Amy: I am an attractive 70-year-young woman who has been going to a therapist for two years for depression. The depression is much better now. However, I have been gradually losing my hair. I come from a family of women with thinning hair; my mother and grandmother both wore wigs as older women.

After much soul-searching, research and trial-and-error, I bought a very realistic silver-gray wig and started wearing it.

It looks great. My sister didn't even realize it was a wig. People just say that my hair looks good. I am divorced and trying online dating, so I feel I need all the help and confidence I can get. Believe me, my wig doesn't look like Dolly Parton's big hair.

I've observed that it is acceptable for men to have thinning (or no) hair, but not women.

This week — out of the blue — my therapist told me I was "wearing a mask for society." When I asked what she meant by that, she said she was referring to my wig and that my own hair wasn't that bad. Now I'm wondering if I am hiding my real self by wearing a wig. Any comments from you or your readers?

— Reluctant wig-wearer

Dear Reluctant: In my view, if you went into your therapist's office with your depression under control and sporting a full Dolly Parton wig and outfit — and if you reported that you felt good about it — your therapist should pronounce you 100% awesome.

Your therapist's role is to help you to explore your motivations, actions and reactions, and help you face the consequences of your choices. It is appropriate for your therapist to ask you to reflect on why you are choosing to wear a wig, but not to judge its aesthetics — or to say that your own hair "wasn't that bad" — unless you specifically asked for her feedback (in which case you could expect her to be thoughtful, respectful and completely frank).

Dear Amy: I am a woman in her mid-40s who divorced five years ago. I have recently started dating for the first time in many years. What is the proper protocol for who pays the dinner bill on a first date with someone I've met through an online service like Match.com?

— Dating again

Dear Dating: If you and your prospective date mutually agree to go out for a meal, you should split the check. If you invite someone to dinner and choose the restaurant, you should offer to pick up the check after the meal.

 

You can contact Amy Dickinson via email at askamy@tribune.com; follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.

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