October 8, 2014
by Brandon Gepfer

Sometimes I make a decision that I ultimately regret.  

I found myself taking a bath on a Thursday evening with my fiancée and my hair bothering me. It was steamy in the bathroom and my shaggy, mop of hairdo was sticking to my forehead. It bothered me to the point that I made the spur of the moment decision to shave it all off. I admit, it was pretty irrational and as soon I looked at myself in the mirror, I regretted it. Moments went by though, and I started to get used to it and actually liked the way I looked (despite my dog Leonard not recognizing me, which really bummed me out). I looked different and felt great; it was the change I needed. Keyword: I. Me. Myself.

Cue in the return of the regret.

I felt pretty good and I decided to post a goofy picture of my bald head on the internet. I hate the internet. I have a lot of friends that joke around and that’s totally fine, I have thick skin. I write about my problems and sing about them in front of people so I’m used to exposing myself to others, especially their criticism. But all jokes aside, it made me question whether or not I made the right decision. I got upset when my own aunt called me a “chemo-baby” (I think that’s a joke from when I was actually a baby and I just don’t remember it).  

Hours go by. I ignore the internet and get to work. It’s no different there, the criticism and the jokes. The only difference is that it is to my face. My boss laughed at me and my coworker kept repeating “taxi driver” which I’m assuming was a reference to Robert De Niro. I’ve been sitting here soaking in ridicule, disbelief and/or disapproval. One woman said, “You had such a beautiful head of hair, now you look like a freak.” Oh cool, thanks. Another said, “You look like a skinhead.” All of these things that other people say made me come to the ultimate decision of regret—regret not for what I did or how I look, but regret that I have to be in the company of people that think their jokes or thoughts are relevant. I regret that that honestly has an impact on how I feel and think about myself. Sometimes you make a decision that is perfect for yourself and so unbelievable for others that it is almost easier to just feel bad about yourself.

What is actually upsetting to me is that not everyone has the option of just letting their hair grow back. My hair will return; I don’t always have to be bald. Eventually, my friends and coworkers will stop trying to make jokes because they’ll realize they aren’t funny and I’m not laughing. If you widen the scope, the real issue to me is that some people hide the real, happy them because they don’t want to deal with “jokes.” This isn’t just about hair, it’s about anything that makes you happy and makes others uncomfortable. It’s about you adjusting yourself because the thought of enduring any bit of humor at your expense is too much. I just think it’s sad that we make our “friends” feel that way.  

Cut your hair. Be a weirdo. Basic humans will always try to normalize you.

P.S.  This isn’t just about a haircut. Be nice to each other.