Alternate title: How a sunburn lowered stress, saved money, and helped me get married (not necessarily in that order).
Charlottesville is a scenic town about 2 hours south of Washington, D.C. and is home to the University of Virginia (Go Hoos!), which was founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819. Twice a year there is an event in Charlottesville called the Foxfield Races. You lay a picnic blanket on the grass and enjoy food and drinks with friends while watching horses race. It's a simpler version of the Kentucky derby, without the wacky hats.
A few years after I graduated I went to Foxfield with some college friends. It was a blisteringly hot day and we all got a lot of sun. I was visiting from NJ so that evening I crashed with some friends who lived in Alexandria, Virginia. In the morning I woke up with a killer headache. However, it was an odd sensation because my headaches usually hurt behind my eyes or at my temples. This one was more from the top of my head.
I went to wash my face and noticed in the mirror that my scalp was a rosy pink. After a few moments of pondering I realized with horror that the top of my head was sunburned! I had noticed my hair starting to thin in college, but this was serious.
Long story short, this was when I realized 1) my need for sunblock or a hat; 2) cutting my hair short, while helpful, didn't hide the fact that I was balding; and 3) I needed to do something about it. In the end, I decided to take the plunge and shave my head. This was an agonizing decision as I had no idea how I would look and shaved heads were not that common at the time.
It took some time to adjust for sure, but more than a decade later I can honestly say I wish I had done it earlier. After many years living with a shaved head, here is my list of the top 10 benefits.
10. A bottle of shampoo lasts almost a year and you don't need conditioner.
9. I save time and money by cutting my own hair.
8. Worry-free rides in convertibles, boats, and roller coasters.
7. The priceless look on the face of the VP of Employment Law (before I let him off the hook) when he realized I shaved my head as he was saying, "Something is different about you. I'm... not... sure... what..."
6. Getting ready in the morning is a lot quicker.
5. Never having to worry about changing my hairstyle.
4. It was the first thing my future wife noticed about me and she thinks it shows confidence.
3. No bed head.
2. No hat head.
And last, but not least...
1. NO bad hair days!