My name is Ruchi, and I wear a wig.
Wow, that felt good.
So I do have hair, and it HAPPENS not to be gray (hardly). It’s not shaven. I don’t actually know anyone who shaves her head. It’s kind of pretty. I think.
I wear a wig because I cover my hair since getting married.
I cover my hair because I follow halacha.
I follow halacha because I believe passionately that this is what God wants me to do, and also because I have seen that following halacha is a really smart and systemized way to live an incredibly meaningful life.
But I do not like wearing a wig.
It’s not very comfortable, it’s not cheap, and it feels disingenuous.
Different halachically-sensitive (how’s that for a label?) Jewish women cover their hair in different ways. Some partially, some fully. Some all the time, some sometimes. Some with a wig, some with a snood, some with cool, colorful, ethnic scarves or wraps, and some with demure black thingy-doos.
Why do we young women with pretty hair cover it once we’re married?
It’s NOT because we think it looks better, although some women’s wigs are nicer than their hair. It’s because Jewish tradition teaches that a woman’s hair is the most alluring, sensual, make-a-statement part of her whole face. And if you wonder if I’m right, take a look at any magazine and study hair product ads for women.
And therefore, once she is married, that alluring, sensual, make-a-statement part of her face is visually and tangibly reserved for her husband, not to mention a constant reminder to herself that she is married. If you are wondering why men don’t have to cover their hair, maybe this was what God was thinking when he created male baldness.
There are some communities that don’t believe that wigs fulfill the spirit of the law. That believe that hair should be covered in a way that no one is fooled. My community does not follow this way, but I like it. I get it. I feel it is more genuine to wear a scarf or hat instead of a pretty wig.
Also, wigs can be more alluring and sensual than your own hair. Just sayin’.
But I do wear a wig, because this is the cultural norm in my community and I get a nice one because I, like you, like to feel that I look “normal” and pretty.
But as I wear my wig, I alternate wondering the following:
1. Is my wig too nice?
2. Is my wig nice enough?
3. Can people tell it’s a wig?
4. Do I want them to?
5. When can I get this thing off and put on a comfy bandanna???
What do you wonder?
Glossary: Shaitel (pronounced SHAY-t’l) – Yiddish word for wig
Halacha – Jewish law. Literally, “walking the walk”