Monday, June 19, 2006

On Being a Blonde (Naturally)

Sometimes I can't decide if I act more ditzy because I am subconsciously living up to the stereotype of the dumb blonde, or if my light-coloured tresses just gives me a good excuse for anything stupid I do that I would do anyways whatever my hair colour. I am an intelligent person, but sometimes ditziness will overtake me when I am standing in the check-out line at the mall or ordering Chinese take-out at a restaurant and I will do or say something embarrassing. I used to hate dumb blonde jokes in grade school, although secretly I thought some of them rather funny. It annoyed me that a boy in my class who was blonder than I was was always telling them. Why should blondes be any less intelligent than anyone else and if blonde hair makes you stupider why would only blonde girls be affected?
When I was born my parents discarded the name Jennifer, which means fair-haired because my hair was actually rather dark. So they called me Suzanne (Lily), an allusion to their wedding text. But my hair soon grew in lighter and for most of my childhood I had light white blonde hair. Even into my teens my hair was still very light, but it began to grow in darker. I liked my hair in the summer when it was bleached by the sun, but in the winter my hair was quite a bit darker. I began to say that I wasn't blonde anymore, I was really a brunette. I talked about dyeing my hair blonde, which only convinced my family that I must be a blonde, since my hair still was quite light. I have never dyed or highlighted my hair or even permed it, though I did crimp it in the eighties and early nineties.
Having blonde hair is nothing special in Dutch circles. More than half of the children in my grade school had blonde hair and even at Redeemer where I went to school there were tonnes of blondes so I blended right in. So I was shocked when a couple of weeks ago during an ice-breaker treasure hunt at a woman's breakfast the team that had to find someone with natural blonde hair got stuck on that part and ran out of time before they located one. At my table there were at least two with natural blonde hair (both of Dutch descent), but I didn't realize that so many blondes are made that way by hair dye. I guess though that highlighted blondes may not have been considered natural either. Recently I heard a shocking statistic that 80% of women dye or highlight their hair. The breakfast I was at wasn't a Christian Reformed, or any kind of Reformed function, or they wouldn't have had any trouble locating a natural blonde.
Sometimes I envy my sister Rachel her glossy dark hair. My hair does not have much gloss or shine and it is extremely thick. It also is prone to turning green in the swimming pool so now I never get it wet in our pool. During my sister's wedding part of my hair was green. I can't even use coloured shampoos on it, at least according to the hairdresser who cut off my green hair and said "good riddance". She said since my hair had so little pigment it was weaker and more easily damaged and can take on other colours easily.
When I was little my Mom kept my hair short, because she didn't want to have to fuss over it. Once I was mistaken for a boy with my pixie cut. For much of my life it has been cut just below my chin. My worst hair-style was in the eighties when I had something very close to a mullet. That's a picture I will not post, for obvious reasons. My Mom still thinks my hair looks best short, but I like it longer because then the overall effect is blonder. The roots are quite dark, but the sun lightens my hair over time. Probably eventually I will have dirty blonde hair, unless I resort to hair dye or highlights.
I guess in the end I am rather attached to my hair colour, dumb blonde stereotypes notwithstanding. I wouldn't look right as a brunette, my skin is so pale. And green hair really doesn't work for me either. So I will continue as a blonde as long as I can, and I will tell myself I am a bright person whose hair colour has no effect on her level of intelligence. I mean everybody does stupid things, right?


John den Boer said...

I remember the mullet! It is a good thing you didn't show that picture.

Andrea Hensen said...

hellooooo, mullets are totally in style. i think we all need to see this famous do' suzanne:)

btw i love the pictures you posted here and i think your naturally colored hair is wonderful. don't ever color it:)

miss you:)

Suzanne den Boer said...

I will have to find the pictures and negatives and destroy them, or now that everyone is reminded of my mullet days they will come back to haunt me.

Thanks Andrea. I won't colour my hair, but I may highlight it someday. I miss you too. Maybe we should go out for coffee sometime this summer, or something.

Anonymous said...

i dont know u, but my hair used to be as light as yours when i was in 6th grade, then it started getting darker, do u think it'll get lighter again?? i'm in my early teens..any suggestions?

Suzanne den Boer said...

Anoymous, while your hair might get lighter from the effects of the sun, I don't think it will actually start growing in lighter after it has started to darken. My hair grows in dark now.