“Much Ado About Nothing”

 I realize the Shakespeare connection is a stretch here, but somehow it works for me…

“Much ado” about what you might ask?

I would never call hair loss “nothing.” But this time my “much ado” is not about the loss of my hair or anyone else’s either for that matter. This time my “much ado” is about something else hair related, but we’ll get to that…

It seems people are always up for “hair talk.”  

We all know how important our hair is to us, even if we don’t like to admit it, even if we don’t have cancer, even if we don’t have hair.

And of course, hair loss is a serious subject, but having said that, this is not intended to be a serious post about hair or hair loss. In fact, it’s meant to be the opposite.

In cancer land (for those who’ve had chemo anyway), hair loss is a huge deal for obvious reasons.

However, I’ve discovered that hair loss is a sensitive topic even for those with cancer who have NOT lost their hair. Really, how can this be you might ask?

If you have cancer and still have your hair, you can’t really be all that sick, right?

Don’t you have to “look sick” to really be sick?


See what I mean?

And then there are those experiencing hair loss or baldness as a result of alopecia, aging or other conditions. I can’t even imagine how irritating it must be for them when others assume they must have cancer or when people say things to them like, “Oh, it’s only hair, it will grow back.”

Appearances can be deceiving. Indeed.

But back to the hair…or rather our obsession with hair…

Women are always fixing their hair. Men, too, I dare say.

When I visited my grandma while I was growing up, I used to watch her spend, what seemed to me anyway, hours in front of her mirror getting ready each morning. I often wondered, getting ready for what? To her it didn’t seem to matter what was planned for the day, she always spent the same amount of time in front of her oval mirror each and every morning “fixing her hair.”

On top of their own “fixing,” my grandmother and my mom made weekly visits to their local “beauty shops” to have their hair “fixed.” Getting their “hair fixed” was an event everything else in their week was scheduled around, or so it seemed to me. The funny thing was, when they returned home, they’d be back at the mirror for a few minutes anyway, usually somewhat dissatisfied, tending and “fixing” a little bit more.

Was this another example of “much ado about nothing?” Maybe. Maybe not. Who am I to say?

During one of my recent lying awake moments during the middle of the night (of which I still have many), I was unexpectedly surprised by a slight annoyance. I was being kept awake by something blowing in the breeze made by the fan I always have going.

(I should probably explain that I sleep every single night with a fan blowing on high speed; yes even during the month of January.  I started using this “white noise” sleeping aid a few years ago to cool me off during those unwelcome hot flashes and I soon discovered the added bonus – the humming drowns out hubby’s snoring!)

Anyway, on this particular night what I discovered was this:

My hair was blowing in the breeze! So much so, it was keeping me awake!

It’s been a long time since my hair was blowing in the breeze!

So yes, this post is completely and totally “much ado about nothing.” In the big scheme of things, my hair blowing or not blowing in the breeze isn’t much to get excited about.

But then again, maybe it is?

What’s next, a haircut??

Are you experiencing (or have you ever experienced) hair loss due to any reason?

Is there any “hair talk” you’d like to share?

Have you read Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing?”


28 thoughts to ““Much Ado About Nothing””

  1. Oh, Nancy! I’m so glad for you. How happy you must have been to feel your hair blowing. This post made me smile and I remember my mother going to the “beauty parlor.” She always dragged me along, but I was terribly bored and hated going. There wasn’t anyone to talk to there and the snacks weren’t good. Fun to remember it now, though. Thanks for that.

  2. Nancy:

    I am one of those cancer patients who did not lose my hair. When I met other patients at support groups, etc., they often assumed I had gone through chemo and my hair was growing back. Why? It took me a while to realize it, but it was because I have short hair (by choice.) I was always quick to tell them that I didn’t have chemo, because I didn’t want anyone to think I was trying to relate to something I knew nothing about. It always made me uncomfortable though, because I didn’t have to go through what they went through and I chose my short hair (which many of them didn’t like on themselves.)

    Thanks for an interesting post.

    Survival > Existence,


    1. Debbie, You make some interesting observations about your short hair cut and also how you felt you had to explain about your hair. No matter what, it seems our hair is a big deal isn’t it? Thanks for your comments.

  3. Your post makes me think of my mother & grandmother who also got their hair fixed every week. Both women didn’t like to be in the wind or rain as it might mess their “do” and both were quick to hand me a pleated, plastic rain bonnet even if the sky was gray. They acted as though water was something to be feared like being sprayed with gasoline or battery acid. Perhaps that’s why I have wash & wear hair and don’t get it “fixed” at the salon.


    1. Brenda, Thanks for sharing some memories of your mother and grandmother. My mother never was without one of those plastic rain bonnets either!

  4. Random fact:

    In Shakespeare’s time, “Nothing” and “Noting” were pronounced the same. It could be that the play was supposed to be “Much Ado about Noting.” Also, nothing was slang for vagina in those days.

    So… there’s that. 🙂


    1. Katie, Yes, I did know that about the words “nothing” and “noting.” I wasn’t aware of the vagina slang connection though! Thanks for commenting and sharing your Shakespeare knowledge!

  5. Hair is an interesting issue/topic in reference to cancer. For me, I think people’s continual questions about my hair are related to their fears of asking other questions about my illness. Instead of asking about my recent tumor counts or scan, they’ll ask, for example, how long my hair is now. It allows them to engage with me about cancer, but not so deeply that they hear anything scary. I recognize how this functions for my friends (how it’s a safe way to ask about my recovery), and though I normally wouldn’t give it much attention, there are plenty of hair posts on my blog for that reason.

    1. Prailior, That is a very interesting comment you make about your hair. You might be right. Perhaps hair is a topic that seems more approachable and is easier for people to bring up. I hadn’t really thought of it in that way. I need to check out your hair posts! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hello Nancy,

    I of course find the topic of hair, or lack thereof, easy to relate to. I enjoyed the image of you with wisps of hair blowing across your face. While I love my sleep, waking to hair in my face would be a treat.

    I found my 90 yr old mother’s reaction to her hair thinning during her treatment for lymphoma interesting, but not surprising. My Mom is and has always been anything but vain. She’s always been far too busy volunteering in the community, gardening, composting (yes! at age 90 my mom composts), worrying about humanity and the planet. Hair or other aspects of her appearance just were not priority. But when her hair thinned considerably due to her lymphoma treatments, it compromised her self-confidence. For the first time ever, she asked me for help, actually wanted her hair colored and styled. I saw an immediate difference in her body language after we fixed her up. She perked up, her spirits lifted.

    “Nothing” is subjective. Just as one person’s garbage is another’s treasure, one person’s “nothing” can be quite “something” to another. And what seems “nothing” to us at one point in life, can take on new meaning at another time, under different circumstances. In that sense, hair is a symbol for so much, isn’t it?

    Thanks for the great post!

    1. Susan, Thanks so much for the great comments. Your mother sounds amazing by the way. I know you are so familiar with all the hair issues women of all ages are coping with due to a whole variety of reasons. Your compassionate caring shines through in the work you do every day. I thank you for that.

  7. Most likely because I opted out of chemo, and consequently did not / am not experiency hair loss, I continue to get the comments: “but you look good!” (subtext – you don’t look sick). My response, said with a huge smile is: “and that is what is important.” It usually stops the commentary right there. And yes, it is a tad mean of me I will admit. But appearances, under any circumstances are much ado about nothing.

    1. TC, I hear you. I tried to make that exact point about appearances being deceiving in my post. I’m sure you receive some insensitive remarks, to say the least, on a regular basis. I think your response to that particular comment is perfect. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  8. I have had mixed feelings about my hair all my life, and when I found out I had to have chemo I nonchalantly informed everyone that whether I lost it or not, it was okay. My doctor told me I shouldn’t lose it all due to chemo but it would thin. I also knew from having a hysterectomy several years ago that the surgery I had following my diagnosis would probably cause me to lose a lot of hair. Well, then it started falling out in handfuls and my nonchalance quickly changed to me sitting on the bathroom floor crying as I cleaned out my hair brush! It didn’t help that people made comments like “it’s just hair” and “it will grow back”. I knew it was vanity and I knew it would grow back, but that didn’t make me feel better; it just made me feel like people were talking down to me. I had a meltdown when my cousin, who does not have cancer but had the best of intentions, had her head shaved as part of a cancer fund-raiser. Why, I wondered through my tears, would anyone do that? Her bald head was not going to lead to a cancer cure. My friends looked at me like I was crazy, because they were all full of admiration at her “courage”. I’m still trying to work through all my reactions to the hair issue, but I do know it’s been a big deal for me. Maybe it’s just something to focus on, to keep my mind off the big scary stuff as I continue with my treatment. Whatever it is, I have promised myself that when my hair grows back, I will never complain about it again…or for six months, at least!

    1. Debbie, I completely understand about your emotional reactions. Many of us have shed more than a few tears over our hair. It is a big deal when it falls out for whatever reason. Good luck finishing up treatment and remember you’re not alone. Thanks so much for sharing so candidly.

  9. Nancy,

    Great posting about a topic that’s near and dear to my heart. I like your point that those people who haven’t lost their hair are often perceived by society as not being all that sick. It is amazing that we are on the same page again because I’m writing a post on my not losing my hair and being discriminated against because I looked so damn good during treatments.

    BTW, I love Shakespeare and have read and seen Much Ado About Nothing. The film version with Kenneth Branaugh is really great.

    1. Beth, I was actually thinking about you when I wrote this post, Beth, because I always remember you saying how people thought you looked so good when you were undergoing treatment, so how could you possibly be ill? Appearances really can be deceiving can’t they? I look forward to reading your post and getting your perspectives on the hair loss issue. So many people relate. And BTW, I figured you were probably a bit of a Shakespeare buff!

  10. Thanks! That’s cool that you were thinking of me when you wrote this post. Yes, appearances can certainly be deceiving. I think losing one’s hair is an awful thing to go through for many, and I am so glad I didn’t go through that. But there were, of course, downsides. People judge by outward appearances.

    Yep, you got it; I’m a Shakespeare lover!!

  11. My hair and I have always been bitterest of enemies. It refuses to hold a curl, but has no problem with sticking straight out. As I have gotten older, it has gotten thiner. Hairdressers always express sympathy over its fine texture and try to sell me on various lotions and potions to add volume. I resist. My hair is what it is and I need to make peace with that.

    1. Jennifer, Your hair has always been your enemy. That says a lot doesn’t it? I’m glad you’ve made peace with yours. I’m trying to do that as my new crop of unruly hair is slowly returning. Some days it’s really tough. Thanks for commenting.

  12. I was one of the “lucky” ones. Eight rounds of chemo and I didn’t lose my hair. Therefore, I didn’t get “real chemo” … How could I be getting chemo and still have my hair….. Makes me want to spit nails….. Really… it’s okay? I never lost my hair but my brain is so seriously traumatized, I’ve turned into a bumbling idiot who looks at deadlines and says, “who cares” … and who is finding all sorts of math errors… and again, “who cares” … It’s all good. I didn’t lose my hair. I had “easy chemo” …. Shakespeare…. No more. Not on your life. I’m lucky I get through Dr. Seuss and that’s only because I can read it in one sitting….

    Love ya, Nancy..

    1. Ann Marie, Yes I can only imagine how frustrating it must have been for you – no wonder you wanted to spit nails! I beg to differ though, you are NOT a bumbling idiot! Far from it. And BTW, there is no such thing as easy chemo. Love ya back.

  13. My mother and I would go to the “beauty shop” when I was younger I used to come out with this ridiculous poofy hair do..I think my mom called it the “bubble” yuck hahahaha. I always had good hair, before I began chemo my hair was down the middle of my back. Just that little wave that bore so many compliments. Second round of chemo I’m walking down the street a chunk of hair blew off. It looked like blonde fluff rolling down the sidewalk. I stood there laughed so hard, it really struck me as funny. At that point my hair was falling out by the handful. When I looked like Benjamin Button with a few strands as psuedo bangs time to come off. .I don’t know how I felt. But once bald I felt liberated, my head felt great i wasn’t an egg head nice round no bumps or lumps.It was more difficult when I lost my eyebrows & eyelashes. I was just a round head with eyes nose and a mouth. The expressions you made with your eyebrows was gone. I felt expressionless…Then I felt sad I looked like a poster child for cancer Gaunt so pale, the reality of cancer hit me at that moment.
    My hair has since grown back, thinner. It a little longish just at the top of my shoulders. I can be bald again I just don’t like looking expressionless with no eyebrows…
    Love Alli xx

    1. Alli, I know what you mean about the eyelashes and eyebrows. I hated losing my eyelashes almost more than the hair. My eyebrows hung on though they did thin out. Sounds like your hair was gorgeous, that must have made it extra tough to lose. I’m glad it’s grown back and to shoulder length no less! Did your eyelashes and eyebrows grow back? Thanks for sharing so candidly, Alli.

  14. My eyelashes grew back but not as full as I once had the eyebrows the same, I noticed the first time I went to put on mascara, nearly poked myself in the eye lool..Alli……xx

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