Ooh What A Lovely Wagtail You Have Living In Your Wig

Robert Daniel

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Those follicly challenged among us know all about discrimination. Having an excess of male hormones leads to premature baldness. We’re just too macho for our own good. Of course, it’s better than suffering from other premature afflictions.

Denial is the first symptom of going bald. Usually at around 12 years old. “Nah, it wont happen to me, ” even though all photographic evidence - father, grandfathers and great grandfathers - all look at you from below polished domes and smile knowingly. It defies belief that your unruly mop of wavy hair will be anything less than thick and unmanageable for a lifetime.

Mine would curl at a touch and be the envy of straight haired girls everywhere. Yes, really!

It never bothered me when I finally admitted to myself that baldness was a reality, and nothing I did would change it. (That was yesterday, many years ago). Until then you’re always convinced that it’s a trick of the light, your mates are messing with your mind or the flash of light you glimpse at the top of your head, while leaning over backwards and bending your head at right angles over the sink in front of the mirror, is in fact a blemish in the mirror and nothing to do with your head.

Hairdressers don’t help. They insist on flashing mirrors at you to show off their handiwork, and you never recover from the shock of seeing what the top of your head really look like. It does nothing for your carefully cultivated self image.

From then on acceptance is a breeze for most, but sadly for others they wont accept it and throw themselves into a frenzy of attempted re growth. It starts with combing the five remaining strands strategically across the forehead and over the top of the head to make the whole area look ‘busy’.

It doesn’t fool anybody.

The weirdest is the removal of bum hair, with strand by strand replanting on the head. Bald to furry. That's very strange.

There’s a whole range of formula's and treatments designed to make you look or feel hairy and happy again. If it takes a hairy head to be happy, there’s something not working.

From school onwards we are distracted from feeling good about ourselves by people who feel inadequate about themselves. They are always keen to pass the feeling onto others.

Who is normal? We’re either too fat, thin, short or teased for being too tall. Finish first you’re a smart ass, finish last you’re slow. Boys are teased for being boys, girls are teased for being girls, and every feature, sound and deed are used as emotional weapons.

Even snide comments about your banjo playing while attempting to busk, “You cant play that banjo for nuts mate, you’d make more money if you sold it!”

Very cruel, even if it is true.

It’s being happy with who we are that protects us from all this rubbish, and this sense of self belief must be instilled early in a child, and re enforced at every opportunity at school and at home.

Fashions are fickle. It wasn’t long ago that women wore wigs which today would have them institutionalised. They would strut around with metre high hairdo’s, liberally scattered with handfuls of flour and decorated with anything that came to hand. Model ships were popular, as were stuffed birds and replicas of favourite gardens.

For months the hair would be liberally smeared with lard to hold it in place, causing infestations of mice, insects and cockroaches. This madness only stopped with the introduction of hair powder tax, but I would be guilty of discrimination myself by ridiculing such behaviour.

Even so. “Ooh that’s a lovely wagtail you’ve got in that wig dear. Did you stuff it, or was it stuffed for you?”

Men have always been paranoid about baldness too. King Louis XV of France was particularly vexed at his lack of hairy topping. While visiting a school in 1674 he heard that one of the students, a nine year old Irish lad named Francis Seldon, had made up a pun about the kings bald head. I suppose something along the lines of ‘Go home to your mother you bald headed monarch, you don’t belong to me. ”

He was placed in solitary confinement at the Bastille - for 69 years! Francis was still there being punished long after the King had died.

The French have never had a sense of humour, but children DO and it needs to be nurtured.

Rob Daniel is a children's author, memory and self-esteem teacher. He lives in beautiful Albany on the south west corner of Western Australia, has a passion for mangos, the Greek Islands and coaches three soccer teams. He sort of still plays himself!

Rob creates ‘turn the page’ children's e-books with illustrators from around the world. You can check out and if you like, buy his books from http://www.chocmint.com You'll also find an opportunity to join the chocmint adventure yourself, if you have a passion for writing and illustrating for children.

LATEST book published ‘A Tail's Tale', illustrated by UK artist Elizabeth Stringer. Part proceeds from these books go towards sponsoring children at the BearCare orphanage in Kitgum, Uganda run by the extraordinary Murray Kidd.


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