I am bald. I began losing my hair in my early twenties for reasons which I will discuss at a later time. Over the past few years I have been reading a lot about body image and how society views people with various body types. With that in mind, I thought I would write some pieces about what it is like to be a bald man. Please keep in mind that these conversations are to the best of my recollection. Here is a quick rundown of what I look like. I am 6’1″ and anywhere between 145 to 150 lbs.
Yep, that is me in all of my heavy metal, horror movie, comic book loving glory. I took this picture for a project I was working on a few years back; I don’t always make that face. Today’s tale takes us back about nine years. At that time, I was busy earning on a couple of masters degrees and working at Chick’s Sporting Goods. I was 23 years old and selling shoes to make some spending money. It wasn’t a particularly eventful day for any reason, but it was busy enough.
A man and a woman walked into the shoe department and immediately started staring at me and whispering. I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on but this continued for a while. One of the other sales people was busily assisting them as they attempted to purchase a pair of running shoes. It was beginning to get a bit on the uncomfortable side. As they continued to whisper every time their salesman walked into the back to get shoes. At long last, they started to point at me.
By that time, I had about enough of the strange behavior. After all, who in their right mind would like being whispered about and pointed at. I finished up with my customer and walked over to the couple. In the least annoyed tone I could muster after half an hour of this, I asked, “May I help you?”
“Are you an actor?” The woman asked.
“No” I said,
“Are you sure, you aren’t an actor?” she continued.
“If I were an actor, what would I be doing here selling shoes?” This was getting bizarre.
“Are you sure?” Said the man, “you look just like him. And I have heard he does that method acting stuff.”
“I am definitely not whoever you think I am.”
“That is so weird, you look just like him.”
“You know,” said the woman, “that actor, from that movie…American History X.”
“No, I am not Edward Norton. And if I were, I sure wouldn’t be working here.”
We all had a good laugh and I went back to my job. Don’t get me wrong, Ed Norton is a great actor. I thought he was amazing in American History X, but I was never able to fully shake the fact that I was told I looked like a Neo-Nazi. The thing that makes it even stranger, I’m Jewish.