Ten years ago, fashion designer Bianca Young was diagnosed with alopecia. The 42-year-old says her sudden loss of hair had a profound effect on her life, attacking what she could only describe as her “femininity.”
“I looked in the mirror and was mortified at what I saw looking back at me,” she wrote for News.com.au. “I no longer knew who I was.”
Struggling to accept her appearance, Young convinced herself that no one would ever love her. In her mind she was “flawed and undesirable” to men.
“As a single woman, I started to tell myself that I was doomed to be alone forever. Who could wake up beside a bald woman and think she was a catch? I didn’t have any hair,” she said.
There, at rock bottom, she decided something had to change. She pushed aside her fear of rejection and decided to try online dating. But first, Young figured if she was going to have any luck with love, she’d have to start treating herself differently.
“I was honest and positive, and as I [began to say] the words over and over again, ‘I have alopecia areata,’ it started feeling like it was a part of me — no longer foreign and surreal,” she said.
“In fact my Tinder profile reads ‘All photos are recent. I shave my head, I don’t have cancer, I have alopecia. I am at peace with who I am; if you aren’t, that’s OK, keep swiping, thanks for stopping by.’”
With those words, Young catapulted herself into a world of cyber romance.
“It sparked lots of questions but also took an interesting turn and taught me a lesson or two in self-love and expression. Some men were completely turned off by me not having hair. Some were shallow, even rude and hurtful. But I was also complimented for my courage and bravery.”
“Many people were empowered and inspired to talk to me, just to say hello. I ended up with friends and kind people to chat to and people who were genuinely interested in me in as a person. The rest just kept swiping by.”