Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Third Thing You May Not Know About Me

Well, my past two posts have been on religion and politics. My father, when I was young, told me one should always avoid three topics of conversation when in mixed company: religion, politics, and sex. Then I’d eavesdrop on “grownup” conversations and discover these three topics almost always came up, especially when my father was contributing to the discussion. I thought about posting today on sex, just to complete the set, and I probably could do so, given that the third thing you may not know about me is that I don’t believe blonds have more fun. However, I came to the conclusion, as this post was writing itself in my head over the past two days, that it was really becoming something about sexism (sorry to disappoint all those of you who may have found me with a “blonds and sex” google trap – as The Hobgoblin would call it), but it isn’t even really that. All it really is is a bit of a rant, so excuse me for a moment, while this angelic, sweet, little, golden-haired girl shocks you by being rotten.

I’ve been a natural blond since the age of five or so. Before that, I had copper red hair, as all three of my siblings did when we were that age. Theirs all went darker and/or stayed red. I’m the only one who’s hair turned blond (although when my brother and one of my sisters spent time living in South Africa, they both came home with hair as blond as mine). I promise you, to be a little red-headed pre-schooler is great fun, much more fun than being a blond woman in our society. For some reason, American adults just seem to eat up red-headed babies. In the days before I became a blond, my life was full of people playing with me all the time, cuddling me, feeding me all kinds of good stuff, and giving me lots of attention. Then I turned blond, had to go to school, and it was all downhill from there.

I often wonder, which blonds have more fun? It must be the males, because the blond females I know don’t seem to be having it any more than anyone else. First of all, most natural blonds, except for those extraordinarily lucky dogs whose blond locks happen to be curly (can you tell I’m not one of those?), tend to have hair that never becomes full and lustrous (ever notice how all the models for shampoo meant to bolster “fine, limp” hair are all blond?), but rather, remains as baby fine as mine was when it was red. This means, when worn long, it looks like it consists of about two strands. When cut short, a woman looks like Sinead O’Connor back in the days when she was tearing up pictures of popes, with the exception that she could pull it off (I promise you, my head in a bald state is not a pretty thing).

I also happen to be blessed not only with fine, limp blond hair, but Nicole-Kidman-like skin (you know, the kind that burns if you just look out the window and say, “Oh, it looks like a sunny day today”), which looks really good when paired with red hair a la Kidman, but makes people think of evil albino killers in movies when paired with blond hair. I can promise you it isn’t fun having to spend a fortune on sunscreen (a substance that rivals gold in expense), and constantly having to apply it and reapply it all day long sort of takes some of the fun out of scuba diving vacations in the Caribbean.

And then there’s the whole “dumb blond” thing. Ever notice it’s almost always females who are dumb, ditzy blonds, rarely males? I have many, many “un-fun” moments being a blond female, especially when I do something like go to a car mechanic or ask for help at a hardware store (maybe this is why I’ve never understood the old joke of men never asking for directions. I must be one of the few females in the world who despises asking for directions and who has a husband who has no problem whatsoever doing so. Good thing, or we’d never get anywhere). I have absolutely no idea why the color of one’s hair should have anything to do with intelligence. When you take a look at all those Scandinavian countries from which the blond heads come, I’m quite sure you’d be hard-pressed to find many dumb people.

I have two strikes against me, actually, as far as people assuming I’m dumb. Not only am I blond, but I also happen to be Southern. It’s very interesting to me how Northeasterners will blather on about how extraordinarily prejudiced Southerners are, and yet, they have no problem also talking about how dumb Southerners are. Excuse me, but it seems pretty dumb to call people prejudiced and then to make prejudiced statements about them. You wouldn’t catch this blond doing that.

I can hear you asking, “Well, why don’t you just dye your hair?” Very simple answer: I’m someone who barely has the time and patience to comb my hair, let alone have to worry about touch-ups and hair appointments (talk about not having fun). And God forbid if I were to try doing it myself (which would probably result in some odd purple color that even a teenager wouldn’t be caught dead sporting).

Thus, you have it: somebody out there’s having much more fun than I am, and I resent it, because, even though I’m not supposed to be dumb or ditzy, all that fun is supposed to be mine.


litlove said...

Emily, I have ALWAYS pictured you in my head as a brunette. Don't ask me why, but you have brunette writing. The very last comment in the universe that could be levelled against you is that you are a 'dumb blonde'!

Rebecca H. said...

Interesting things to know about you -- it's interesting to hear what it's like to be blonde (my hair is boring brown) and what it's like to be a transplanted southerner -- you must have a ton of great stories about that.

Heather said...

Reading these posts has me wishing we lived near each other so we could go for coffee and yuck it up!!

Anonymous said...

At least you have hair.
If mine goes on like this, it will be a memory before I am forty.

Emily Barton said...

Litlove, isn't it funny how we picture people, and they NEVER look the way we picture them?

Dorr, oh yes, I have many, many great stories, especially since I haven't got a trace of a southern accent.

Ms. Blossom, some time ago, when you were inviting all fellow bloggers from Toronto to get together, I wished so badly I lived in Toronto. There's not much I like better than going for coffee with others and yucking it up.

Mandarine, then you'll be a very distinguished 40-year-old, although you're right. I should count my blessings.