I rarely read advice columns, but every now and then I look at one to see if there is someone out there who is worse off than I am. In last Sunday's Daily Post I found one. Some poor soul named Julie wrote a heart-wrenching letter to Amy Dickinson.
"Dear Amy," she wrote, "I'm a natural brunette who chooses to be a blonde. Unfortunately, because of my bubbly personality, there have been a few times recently when a stranger has turned me into the butt of a blonde joke." She asked Amy what to do.
Before I offer a suggestion of my own, I'd like to point out that having fake golden tresses isn't perceived to be anywhere near as bad as it used to be. When I was in high school "bleach blonde" and "bottle blonde" were some of the kinder names fake blondes were called. The real dyed-in-the-wool puritans used words like "floozy" and "hussy."
And back then, Julie would have been lucky, too, because figuring the intellect she displayed with that question to Amy, her golden locks would never have put her in the situation my friend Mina was in because of her blonde hair.
Mina made straight A's, took all AP classes, scored 1,500-something on her SAT and was a National Merit Finalist. Despite all this, our homeroom teacher, Miss Hickey, had her suspicions about Mina's virtue. When Mina was nominated for the National Honor Society, Miss Hickey said she didn't think any girl who bleached her hair deserved to be a member. She went on a witch hunt and asked Mina's friends if they knew anything about her hair.
When she approached me, I told her I knew Mina was Swedish, which today would probably get me in trouble for stereotyping. I let her know both of Mina's brothers were blonde. I said I had known her since we were 11 years old and that I didn't think her mother had been letting her bleach her hair since grade school.
I don't know about anybody else's testimony, but Mina was inducted into NHS.
I actually thought of Miss Hickey when I chose to become blonde in my early 40s. I'd been dying my hair my natural brunette color to cover my gray, but discovered it's easier to conceal gray roots coming out under blonde hair than under brown. Even though I can't boast any of Mina's credentials, I thought that was pretty smart.
To this day I love it when I do something dumb. All I have to say is, "Hey, I'm a blonde. And I'm a blonde by choice. How dumb is that?"
It always gets a laugh and always gets me off the hook.
My advice to Julie is, go back to being a brunette. You can be as dumb as you want and no one will notice. Only problem is, if anyone does notice, you have no excuses.
Susan Larson is a writer and fake blonde who lives in Lilburn. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.