I get stared at, a lot. It comes with the territory. I willingly put myself in situations knowing that people will stare, and I'm okay with that. But!
Here is a message to all those who stare- I KNOW YOU'RE LOOKING AT ME.
Don't try and act like you didn't mean to zone out on my bald head for 45 seconds. A quick Google search declares anything longer than 3 seconds is staring. Do it. Try and look a stranger in the eyes for more than 5 seconds. It's very uncomfortable, and practically impossible for them to not break the contact. This was actually a project we had to do in my non-verbal communications class in college. Try and get a stranger to make unbroken eye contact for 5 consecutive seconds, and write down your reaction to each experience. Staring is a choice and ultimately, uncomfortable for one or both parties involved.
Walmart is a place I hate to go. Not just because of the company itself (I'm more of a support local farms and grocers kind of person) but because no where else do people stare at me like those in Walmart. Again, I KNOW YOU'RE STARING. And after a year of being a customer at Walmart, I have deduced there a 3 different types of starers.
1) The ones that look while you're not looking, but when you look anywhere near their direction they immediately head jerk into the completely opposite direction. Like it's totally normal to whip your neck 180 degrees to avoid eye contact from a stranger.
2) The ones that are staring at you but act like their looking at something through you. When you look towards them, they make short eye contact and then continue looking/walking in the direction you just were standing (as if the cabbage behind me is really that interesting.)
3) Lastly, the blatant starers that hold the stare as if there's an award for it. I have seen you staring at me, I make eye contact with you to signal I have felt your stare, look away and you continue to stare. Even to the point of following me down a different aisle to make sure you are seeing what you're seeing. Like a bald woman is something extremely rare. I would be a little more understanding if I were 8 feet tall and purple. But, I'm not. So, stop. Please, it's just rude.
Although staring is inevitable, it's obnoxious. I feel like I can't get through a normal day without getting unwarranted looks for no reason. Is a bald head really that unusual? Is a bald woman something you require looking at more than 30 seconds? I've considered many options to respond to the staring.
1) The obvious choice, stare back. This is my go to action as it requires little to no preparation or energy. I stare back and do my best to make the eye contact and hold for as long as possible. Long beyond the point of creepy, I will stare and stare until there is a physical blockage preventing me from keeping contact. Something like a stand of bananas always gets in the way.
2) Politely reply with a witty phrase like, "Take a picture, it will last longer." This one requires some sass and I'm just not a sassy lady. I'm confrontational, sure, but not with attitude. I'm not above using such phrases but, there are better options and this one requires a bit of a mood change. It also depends on the starer- if it is an individual who would be making rude gestures or comments, there are many other phrases that come to mind that I would be open to using on occasions. Something with much more sting.
3) Ignore. This seems to be the one I use more often than not. Although staring back is always in my pocket, I normally just continue on with my day in an ignorant bliss. I don't have the time to spend on starers. I don't have the energy to waste on people who go out of their way to make me feel uncomfortable. Even if they don't mean to, staring at an individual is going to become awkward. Ain't nobody got time for that!
There is no surefire way to address the starers. And I'm not against staring altogether, but when the individual being stared at clearly acknowledges your stare, come up with a fun response, make it worth both your whiles. Some excellent responses include but are not limited to:
"Wow, I love what you've done with your hair."
"Great shirt color!"
Or a personal favorite: "The back of yo head is ridiculous!"
Tell them a fun fact, or make up a statistic. Basically, don't get caught staring! If you want to stare, go for it. But take caution, WE KNOW YOU'RE STARING. So avoid being one of the 3 starers I listed and you should be fine. But no promises.