Who is the dark-haired girl? This isn’t the opening line to some crime noir pulp fiction novel, it’s more like the type of rhetorical questions those anthropological ‘movie stars’ on National Geographic would ask, yet, not as profound as such questions like ‘Why are we here?’ or ‘Which came first, the egg or Madonna?
I used to be talking to some friends in regards to the 50’s movie classic Gentlemen Prefer Blondes starring timeless blonde pinup Marilyn Monroe and based upon the novel and play by Anita Loos. Some knew it, some didn’t, everyone loved the title and then I had to go and mention the sequel.
But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes starred Jean Russell and Jeanne Crain and played up on the numerous cliched virtues of Monroe’s dark-haired counterparts. The ‘But’ was dropped by the studio but not by my friends. A small debate now began, an age-old battle, blondes versus brunettes but the best way some carry on it is more just like the epic struggle of excellent versus evil.
‘A blonde and a brunette walk right into a job interview…” We all waited for the blonde joke, apparently there wasn’t going to be one; my friend was talking fact, not fiction.
It has been statistically proven that if a blonde and a brunette go in for a similar job, the blonde is more prone to get it …My friend who just happens to be blonde stood up for the sunshine side bringing out the cold hard facts. Then a male friend popped the question, “Is the interviewer a man?” Everyone laughed, “No, regardless”, she said. “Yes, but what job are they applying for?” came another question somewhere at the tip of the table. “Sales rep.” Enough said.
It isn’t an issue of dumb blonde and Nobel Prize Laureate brunette, because even though the blonde might be ditsy, forgetful or slow, dumb she will not be. I’ve met a number of dark-haired girls who could make Jessica Simpson appear to be the subsequent Marie Curie (who I feel was blonde by the way.) Let’s not forget Betty Boop either.
It’s just that there’s something concerning the cinnamon-haired beauty who casually strolls down the road, unaware of her allure, her natural appeal. The dark pigment eumelanin which supplies brown hair its tint literally means ‘good’ melanin but not necessarily good girl, yes Angelina Jolie we’re talking about you. For years the fair-haired maiden has played the a part of the virtuous, righteous heroine whose journey to happiness is usually made harder by the black or brown-haired mistress of evil who is miserable and unhappy with her lowlights.
Do not believe me? Have a have a look at the usual suspects – Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Goldilocks (bears are brunettes apparently). Then there was Samantha the cute little blonde witch from the TV show Bewitched who used to placed on a black wig to play her evil twin sister. Blonde hair was so entwined with purity and goodness that as just a little girl my grandmother tried to convince me that Jesus was blonde-haired and blue-eyed though I had never seen any blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jews.
In recent times though the brunette explosion went off with a giant boom, famous blondes like Reese Witherspoon, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and even Sarah Jessica Parker all came to the dark side and flirted with brown tresses for a while. Brunettes were now not witches and evil stepmothers but heroines too fighting against the iconic blonde. At that point major companies like Clairol and Schwarzkopf were reporting increased sales for brown hair dyes with Schwarzkopf boasting its highest ever sales for the color.
Famous brunette beauties like Angelina Jolie, Natalie Portman, Halle Berry, Liv Tyler and Monica Belucci prove that the qualities of mystery and seduction so intricately related to dark hair have their evidence firmly founded. Brown hair however is also culturally identified as the tint of dependability, of wholesomeness and naturalness perhaps because it is linked to the shades of the earth. I have met many wholesome blondes, the girl next door and that i’ve met a couple of unnatural brunettes, blondes ashamed of their social perceptions, who need to prove to the world that they are more than the sum parts of their hair colour. No one gets that better than me. I have been blonde, I’ve gone black, I’ve even been cherry red and I have been a brunette too. When I used to be blonde I wasn’t entrusted with much responsibility, I was the easy-going, fun-filled girl who could getaway with the odd stupid comment or two. Then I did go to the dark side, real dark, I went from blonde to black in two hours. The minute I stepped out of the salon people’s perception of me changed and i knew the answers to such questions as “Why are we here?” and “Who really did come first, Madonna or the egg?” I used to be trusted, I used to be perceived as bright beyond my years, responsible, matured like a good bottle of dark red wine. I was taken more seriously by men; I also strangely enough grew up.
I loved my dark hair. It was me though I did not know who me was. The truth is, I had been dying my hair for so long I had actually forgotten what color I used to be underneath all that dye; I needed to desperately get in contact with my roots so to speak. Naturally then, I allowed my hair to grow out. It began at the top, a light brown slowly fighting through the darkness. After two years of looking for myself, I’ve finally allowed my true colours to return out and it is all that I expected. I’m a light brown, a silver brown some call it. Not too dark, not a blonde either, a very ordinary, very standard bright brunette au natural. And you understand what? It is the real me. I’m now the fun, mad, serious, enlightened, ditzy, responsible, easygoing, entrusted, intelligent woman.