Okay, Anne. Do blondes have more fun?
“I’ve got short hair now, Geoff, really short. I cut it all off. And as soon as I did, the shorter I cut it, the less fun I had.”
“No. I’m just kidding.”
Ha ha. You got me. But wait. Isn’t that irony? Are you using irony with me? Isn’t irony one of those witty conversational devices that should be beyond the grasp of a true blonde?
“All my life I’ve had three judgments to overcome: I’m small, I’m a woman, and I have blonde hair. But Blondeness, especially, is just a state of other people’s minds, how they perceive certain characteristics, like when I do flaky things or act aloof.”
Can men be blond?
“They can definitely be flaky and aloof, but…well, I guess the surfer dude can be blond.”
Ah, yes. The surfer dude. I know one of these guys, in fact I work with him, blond hair and all, although I don’t know if he actually surfs. He just strikes me as being very blond.
I told Adam Bokor that I was doing a story on blondes, and I asked him if he thought blondes have more fun. “My impression is, and I think I’ve had some experience with this, I think, you know, blonde girls? They’re kind of stupider than brunettes, they’re like, dumb and ditzy, you know? Which is just what I’ve noticed.”
Which didn’t even answer the question I asked him. Very well. Um, Adam, don’t you think you’re overgeneralizing? Maybe that’s not the case with ALL blondes?
“No. Just the girls. They’re just not too smart. All of them. I don’t know why.”
But what about men? What about you, Adam? Aren’t you a blond?
“Yeah. I have blond hair. But I’m not ‘a blonde,’ if you know what I mean. The stupidity thing doesn’t apply to guys, I guess.”
Nope. Doesn’t apply to guys.
I go out looking for some guys, not necessarily blonds, to ask them if, in fact, gentlemen prefer ladies with lighter locks. (And these are actual quotes, I kid you not.)
Man One: “Blondes are hot, but they’re, you know…maybe the sun hits their heads too much.”
Man Two: “They’re alluring and attractive without even knowing it. I think it has something to do with the Southern California sunshine. Their hair just glows in the sun.”
Man Three: “They’re like tits. I love ’em and I don’t know why.”
Man Four: “I’m not more attracted to blondes in general, but I am more attracted to them now. Why? Because my girlfriend’s not a blonde.”
Man Five: “I think my daughter’s turning out to be a blonde. Which is great, because it means someday she’ll be able to get a rich husband.”
Man Six: “They’re Five Diamond. They’re Top of the Line. They just catch your eye.”
Man Seven: “Blonde, shmonde. Who cares? Hair is hair.”
I ask my sister, Courtenay, who is roughly a 6 (dark blonde), about Blondeness. I ask her if gentlemen prefer her. “Well,” she says, “blondes think that gentlemen prefer them. But women without glasses also think that men will not make passes at women with glasses. But since glasses are associated with intelligent women, there are probably few blondes with glasses.” So says my bespectacled number 6 sister. Then she elucidates, “Blondes who are smart can pretend they’re not, because no one expects anything more of them, because they’re blonde. And blondes who aren’t smart kind of have a built-in excuse.”
I then ask my sister if she prefers blonds, blond men. “No way. There’s this blond guy who lives in my building whose hair, eyes, and skin are all exactly the same color. It’s like this champagne-beige. He has almost no outstanding features at all. So I think true blondes lack contrast. And I think that’s why men like them. Men don’t like assertive things. So things they can’t see, that don’t command attention, that are unobtrusive and without a lot of contrasts, those are the things that are most attractive to men.”
Which runs exactly counter to my theory that men like bright and sparkly things. But either way, my sister and I both seem to hold a rather low esteem for men.
Then my sister offers this hypothesis: “This country was originally inhabited by very dark people. And it was invaded by dark people. So there is definitely a novelty to Blondeness. There’s an objectification to it, because they were the last ones here. The objectification of novelty.”
My sister’s a poststructuralist literary critic who’s getting her Ph.D. That’s why she throws around phrases like “objectification of novelty.” That’s also why she doesn’t seem very “blonde” at all.
My hairdresser might be blonde. That is, sometimes Effie Bourne’s a blonde, and sometimes she’s not. I think she must be an expert on the subject, since she colors other people’s hair for a living. She’s made quite a few blondes in her life.
“I don’t think blondes have more fun,” Bourne tells me. “I’ve been every color. And it doesn’t make a difference. Nothing’s changed. I’ve been everything from level 1 to level 10.” (Bourne’s the one who taught me about hair-color levels. When I interviewed her for this article, she opened a giant glossy book across our laps. The book had little downy swatches of tresses indexed and filed throughout it, like samples of fabric or paint.) “Right now, I’m a level 5. Light brown.”
And how’s that going? I ask her.
“I’ve been a blonde for about 80 percent of my life,” Bourne says. “But I always change. I get bored. People feel different in the hair color that they have. Like, if it’s been three months and they haven’t had their hair retouched, then they get grow-out, and they might feel depressed. Although some people wear grow-out now as a style. But I don’t like it.”
“Grow-out” is the hair specialist’s term for the gradual appearance of darker root hair beneath the previous hair-coloring treatment. Grow-out is becoming a kind of style of its own, either due to design or due to laziness, or perhaps even because of a lack of funds. Hair-coloring treatments are expensive, $75 to $120, and to keep their grow-out from showing, many women (and men, I guess) will have to color their hair every four or five weeks or so.