When I greet my friend, a breast cancer survivor who has recently completed her chemo, we resume our ongoing conversation about her hair. Soon after her diagnosis, we discussed the inevitability of its loss, the need to shave off the remaining wisps, the day she lost her eyebrows, and her choice to go with scarves and hats versus a wig. When her hair started to grow back we talked about how fantastic she looks with short hair, which she does; every one of our conversations is about her “kicking cancer to the curb” as she says, and returning her hair and her life to the new normal.
The sisters of the Not Your Bubbe’s Sisterhood marveled at how the topic of hair can help us bond with the woman who sits next to us on the Metro or serves us a mocha at a cafe or teaches our kids, “who does your hair?” is the only question we need to start a conversation. Hair is also a downy shield. If parted, we reveal the most tender pieces of ourselves.