Cleopatra had hers dyed with saffron, the ancient Romans made them for their statues, Baroque times dictated men wear them, and women adorned them with the most preposterous scenes. Pastiche, peruke, rug, weave, periwig or toupee: Welcome to the wonderful, wacky world of wigs!
It doesn’t take a genius to notice the flange of ingénue songstresses who have embraced the mop top as part of their accessory repertoire. It seems Katy, Nicki, Gaga and more have all caught on to what I’ve known for years. You see, my love affair with the fake hair came from quite an early age––birth, to be exact. My mother comes from the last great era that featured the wig as not only an acceptable form of daily expression, but an accessory owned by anyone who was anybody. Gone are the days when such piled-on style was necessary, but wigs are still undeniably handy, make one helluvan entrance, and, if you host after-parties, they’re hours of entertainment.
Some may or may not know that before my years as a highly regarded columnist, I had a life as a wig mistress. Upon graduating in theater arts from the university, I was immediately snatched up by the San Francisco Opera to run their wig department for all road shows and out-of-house performances. I loved this job. Because of it, I have seen every state in the union and can tell you where the best thrift stores are in the oddest cities, but I digress. I am mastered in the art of making wigs from scratch––hair by hair and stitch by stitch. All those fancy SNL wigs are actually done by one of my good friends and colleagues, Ashley Hanson––who also runs the wig shop at Julliard. We are a very small and close-knit group, and I would be a big, giant liar-face if I didn’t say that the only reason I got into it was so that I’d have amazingly flawless hair all the time.
Eventually, after a couple years, I developed a depression from living in theater basements, not to mention an allergy to opera divas (too many cooks in the kitchen). I have since limited my signature pieces for private clients and the occasional party wig that may come through my chair at Ulysses hair salon, where I spend my 9-to-5.
A wig is the best and easiest way to become someone else. I know you’ve looked in the mirror, even recently, and said, “God, I just HATE you!” Don’t lie! The best cure for that is to throw on somebody else. I’m sad to say that the past couple years, I haven’t been practicing what I am preaching. I worked so hard on becoming recognizable to SLC, the mere thought of having to re-introduce myself as a redhead filled me with anxiety. Sure, I dabbled with bobs, but only blonde, and oh, maybe a shade or two lighter/darker blonde. Recently, in honor of my hard-earned roots, I’ve been switching it up with shades of purple, auburn and blue. I rediscovered throwing on a subtle brunette and getting lost in the back of a (non) smoky bar, becoming the wacky finger-waved good-time-girl on the dance floor or the electric rock star with no inhibition (ha, like I ever had any!).
It is my prediction, nay, my challenge that you will go out and get a wig this 2013. Sick of your blonde friend always getting to be the “blonde friend?” Ever notice how he looks at redheads? Shake up those office doldrums with a snazzy new ‘do. What are you waiting for, an invitation? That only happens to people who aren’t you, and a new you is waiting right around the corner. Do it, girlfriend—get a wig.
Now, boys, you’re more than encouraged to join in the fun––not with the overdone upper-lip wig, but with a full-on change! Ever feel like you don’t look Brooklyn enough to hangout at Twilite? Just grab those long, beautiful curls I just told her to buy off her nightstand and presto: new-age hipster. Yes, there is beauty in a man wig, but I fear Mike Brown might flip his if I don’t stop here and let him indulge you in that brilliance.
I know at least half of you have one in the back of a closet, like an old, discarded animal in a hoarder house, smelling like Cher and looking like Ke$ha after a bender. Chances are you just need to give it a little TLC, honey. Try putting a quarter-size dollop of laundry detergent in a gallon bucket of water. Rinse, dunk and swish till clean, rinse and repeat with fabric softener and GENTLY comb out. Bet you’ll find it good as new. Any more severe probs, just bring it to me––I can revive the sickest of club wigs.
Go forth and wig thyself, children! I can’t seem to stop these days––I’m so enraptured in this hairy ordeal because I realized that under the pink, black or copper tresses, I’m always going to be Princess Kennedy, Salt Lake’s dirty blonde.
Have a wiggy New Year.