On Being Blonde

*** I’m going slightly off the Beauty topic here… but I’m still working on my last post, and this is something I had been writing in the meantime.  It almost fits, because this is about outer appearance versus inner reality, so, I’m posting it, whether you like it or not ***

I was born blonde, but I can officially say that my hair has pretty much been every color naturally (and maybe even unnaturally) known to man.  Some time back in my 20’s, I had decided to dye my hair brown, which is kind of a weird move for me, but, whatever.  Anyway, a female coworker was marveling at how well I looked as a brunette, and she commented, “it looks really good… it makes you look… I don’t know, smarter, or something….”  When she saw the look of dismay on my face, she babblingly tried to rectify that she didn’t mean “smarter,” she meant “more mature… no, not mature… more sophisticated… no, that’s not it… I don’t know what I’m saying… it looks good…”

And there, my lovelies, is the prime example of the suffering one must endure for the sake of being blonde.

If you are blonde, you can easily recognize the knowing look of affirmation on a person’s face, when you have said something dumb or flighty-sounding.  The person has a suspiciously gleeful look in their eyes, as they attempt to suppress a smirk.  Sometimes they don’t bother to try to suppress the smirk.  It’s like you’re okay with the universal truth that blondes are dumb, you have just supported that truth, and, with a knowing wink and finger alongside their nose, they know that all is still right with the world. Everyone knows that blondes are dumb, and you have just proven it.  Thank you.

One of my favorite quotes, ever, is attributed to Dolly Parton.  She said, “I’m not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb… and I also know that I’m not blonde.”  That’s genius, right there.  Now, I have to say, I’m not offended by those jokes either, because I know that I’m not dumb, and I have met a few similarly un-dumb blondes in my lifetime.  I do get annoyed, however, if I flub up and make a dumb (“blonde”) comment, and it is supposed that the comment originates from the fact that I am blonde.  I feel like I’ve just disappointed all of my blond compatriots in their campaign to prove their mental talents and abilities.

You can say and do dumb things with any other hair color and it’s okay, but if you’re blonde, look out.
I was once out having a large number of drinks with a group of friends, and was feeling pretty groovy (translation: liquored up) towards the end of the night.  Someone asked the time, and I turned my wrist to check my watch.  Sadly, in my super groovy state, I forgot that I was holding a drink in that hand, which was promptly and inelegantly dumped on the floor when I checked said watch.  Well, that was the end of me and any possible presumptions of spare intelligence existing in my head.  Never mind that one brown haired friend was on the stage trying to out-sing the band with an out of tune drunken yell, or that another one was still trying to stand up after falling on her way to the bathroom…twice… noooo no… let’s look at the dumb blonde!  She might be liquored up, but, look!  She’s blonde!  And dumb!  See?  (grumble)

Blondes sure do have more fun.  Why?  Because we have had to learn how to laugh gaily at the embarrassing blonde things we do, and thus, people think we’re having a great time.  I’m sure that phrase was meant to infer something different, something along the sexual nature of things, but I’m going with my own explanation.

There is a famous blonde movie star from the 50’s, whose name I won’t mention, because I just listened to some YouTube editorials on her last days, and I feel a little guilty.  But, I remember being very annoyed and confused about her, growing up.  Sample conversation of young Catherine with adult Male while watching movie portraying blonde movie star from 50‘s:

Young me:    I don’t get what’s so great about her.
Adult Male:  She was a sex symbol.
Young me:    But she’s dumb!
Adult Male:  She was a sex symbol.
Young me:    But she’s so dumb!  
Adult Male:  Doesn’t matter.  She was, and is, a sex symbol.

Any time I saw movies with blondes portraying pouty, wide-eyed, baby-waby types of parts, it ticked me off, to no end.  I mean, any “dumb” females annoyed me, like, Ginger on Gilligan’s Island, but she wasn’t blonde, so it wasn’t as rage-inducing.  It seemed to me that, not only were blondes considered dumb, but generally, anything female and sexy was dumb, as well.  Apparently, “smart” was not a quality desired by the male populace.

So, let’s add this up here, keeping on (blonde) topic:

Blonde + Dumb = Sexy
Smart = Not Sexy
Blonde + Smart = Impossible
Catherine = Impossible, and Not Sexy


Now of course, I don’t personally believe any of this crap.  I happen to think “smart” is sexy, and I happen to know that all blondes are not dumb.  The whole thing did give me a lot of food for thought, however, growing up.

Thankfully, attitudes on “what is sexy” have changed a little bit over the years, but there are still the videos out there perpetuating the dumb blonde stereotype.  Any of these quotes sound familiar?

“I don’t know, cuz if I run a mile in like 9 minutes… but that’s when I’m out of shape…”(how to calculate the time required to travel 80 miles at the speed of 80 m.p.h.)

“I thought Europe was a country…is France a country?” (Budapest is the capital of what European country?)

“I believe that our Education like such as South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere like such as….”(Why can’t a fifth of Americans locate the US on a World map?)

Mmm hmm.  There is the proof that, no matter how much we all suffer for our Beauty, blondes suffer more!  So the next time you reach for that box of Clairol with the sunny blonde on the cover, make sure you purchase some fake reading glasses as well.  They may counteract the blonde stigma, because, as everyone knows, glasses make you look smarter.

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