Monday, April 21, 2008

On Being a (Dumb) Blonde

I have been blonde most of my life, natural as a child and chemical in my adult life. My mother had very pretty light reddish brown hair, but she always wanted to be blonde, so she colored it when I was growing up. My father was a natural blonde growing up and was still blonde when he went to fight in Okinawa during World War II. But when he returned from the War, his hair had darkened to a dark brown.

Growing up, both my sister and I were blondes. Hers was towhead and as she grew older, it became a medium blonde. Mine was what could best be described as dishwater dirty blonde. Dishwater blonde is one shade lighter than mouse brown, so I started coloring my hair when I was thirteen. Since my mother was frightened to death that I would do something drastic, she was the one who added some spark to my dishwater blonde hair by highlighting it for me.

Premature graying runs in my father's side of the family. My grandmother who was originally a natural blonde, began graying in her twenties and was nearly white headed by the time she was in her early thirties. My father began graying in his thirties and was nearly totally gray by his forties. And my sister began graying at nineteen and was gray by thirty. I was the lucky one who did not get that gene.

In my late twenties, the woman who cut my hair suggested I go back to my natural color which was then a reddish brown. She asked me why I frosted my hair when she had clients who paid a lot of money to get what was my natural color. So I cut my hair short and let it go to its natural red brown color. At that point, my co-workers thought that I was coloring my hair reddish brown because they only knew me as a blonde. Some said that I looked more natural as a blonde too. The color was a very pretty color, but I did not feel as attractive as a brunette and often felt like I was looking at a stranger in the mirror. So after several years of experimenting being a brunette, I went back to blonde. Yes, blondes DO have more fun.

Now that the predominate color of my hair is gray, I am blonder than ever, or for at least part of my hair. A friend once described me as two toned. The top and front is blonde while the back and underside is my natural red brown. I kind of like it that way, having the best of two colors. While my husband does not care for it, surprisingly I get a lot of compliments from strangers on it, including once from a woman who was a professional colorist.

So I think I will stay blonde. It makes me feel up beat. But the best thing about being blonde is that I can always plead being a dumb blonde when I feel like it.

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