Dating and Alopecia with Shayna Burnes

Shayna, the face of Instagram account @hairsgonebabygone recently appeared on Insight SBS and talked about the hot topic – Dating with Alopecia Areata (including Totalis and Universalis). Shayna tells us how she conducted an A/B test on a dating site to see if posting bald photos affected responses. 

She brings such a light, easy energy to these important conversations that AAAF wanted to share even more of her story! Below we cover a little more about Shayna and her most important tips for dating!

View her on SBS here.

Profile 

First name: Shayna

Age: 37

First diagnosed: 18 months

Type of Alopecia Areata: Universalis

Fast 5 Questions 

What are you reading or watching right now? I’m late to the game on this show, but Suits. It was partly filmed in Toronto, my hometown, and one reason I watch it is to feel closer to home while we can’t travel.

Who’s someone you admire or look up to? My mum. She has an abundance of kindness, which reminds me to park my ego and support others. 

What’s something you want to learn? To complete a pistol squat!

What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done? Moving around the world to Australia to give life a crack here. The same can be said about anyone who takes a leap to try something new whilst swallowing their fear of the unknown. 

If you had 25 hours a day, how would you use your extra time? Nap. No contest. I’d nap the hell out of that hour, every day.

Many people messaged Shayna about dating after @insightsbs aired a clip from the ‘Bald Truths’ episode in which a few people talked about dating. 

Here’s what Shayna has learned whilst dating as an openly hair-free woman:

1. It’s your choice whether to disclose your condition. In some profiles, I’ve explained my alopecia. In others, I haven’t mentioned anything. My fave approach is to say something akin to “rocking smooth skin like it’s my job”. It acknowledges my difference but leaves it up to the reader to enquire. See what feels most comfortable for you.


2. You won’t attract everybody. The bald look isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. You aren’t attracted to everyone, either! Focus on those you are attracting; after all, they’re the ones who see your beauty.


3. You may attract people -because- of your hair loss. For some, a bald woman is a turn on. Depending on how the message is worded, you may find this flattering or objectifying. It’s okay to like it, not like it or be unsure. 


4. Some people will be dickheads. You might get a message about how you would “look better with a wig” or “men like women with long hair”. But you’re not alone – my friends with cute pixie cuts get similar messages. *block that loser*


5. Represent the full package. Do you love to travel? Potter? Nap? Are you into a sport or activity that lights you up? You’re more than your hair loss. Telling people the bigger story will help them see you’re an interesting human they should get to know – you just happen to have hair loss, as well.

You also have the option not to say anything on your profile and disclose once you feel comfortable. As someone who represents themselves without hair, I have no clue how to navigate that conversation, but I’m sure many of you do – and I’d love to hear how you’ve approached it!

Do you relate to any of this? What’s been your experience dating with hair loss?

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AAAF.

If there’s someone you would like us to interview or if you have a story you would like to share email sheridan@aaaf.org.au

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