No fun being blonde

Blondes purportedly have more fun. But consider this: not only do I often get mistaken for other women with short blonde hair, but I am also the brunt of political dissent from none other than my husband, who claims that the media give blondes a lot more attention than they do things that actually matter.

A blonde woman who has gone missing, for example, takes precedence over everything else — and, apparently, the blonder the better. He’s right, but I wonder where he’d relegate the status of me on the global scale of things should I go missing.

And then there’s the problem of leaving the home front and venturing into society where blonde politics abounds.

For instance, I go to the toilets after a gruelling colloquium on the politics of the publishing industry and in no time at all the politics of being blonde slaps me in the face.
As I enter the WC with an earnest NGO-type woman, she is compelled to say: “I imagine you are in women’s magazines.”

Given the environment, my blonde hackles rise. “No actually,” I say in my best Queen’s English, picked up at elocution lessons in my childhood and kept in my back pocket for occasions such as this, “I’m a documentary filmmaker.”

“Oh,” she responds, smiling slightly.

“And a writer,” I add, fixing my lipstick in the mirror.

“Mmmm,” she says sceptically ... and what do you write?

“Developmental and human rights articles from a left of left perspective ... and literary fiction.” I could say more but I don’t, for I notice that she is already looking somewhat uncomfortable and wondering if her preconceptions have ambushed her big time.

I mean, would I have felt compelled to say, out of the blue, to a stranger: “I imagine you’re a PC, NGO frump ... who is probably still stuck in writing one-dimensional didactics for some boring NGO publication ... and I could recommend a good beautician who does wonders with moustaches,” — just because she looked a certain way?

I am tempted to start a human rights movement calling for non-discrimination against those of us with a taste for the flaxen. It is hard enough that we are born with hair the shade of “supposedly” most men’s fantasies and that the older we get the more this particular colour loses its lustre so that we are forced to spend a fortune on hairdressers to maintain its original hue—which, for most, was last natural when they were about three years old. In my case I remained a buttermilk blonde right up until I had my first (and only) child at age 35, whereupon my hair overnight turned a washed-out mousy blonde.

What irks me most is the disdain the “not blondes” feel towards us “bottle blondes”—and the fact that men think they can tell us anything.

At the very same aforementioned colloquium I am innocently sipping a Savannah and surveying the social habits of the literary bunch when a man, who has been making zealous religious announcements all day long, walks towards me and asks what I do. I tell him my main business is filmmaking. He gets excited and tells me he too is in the industry and is looking for someone to produce his film.

“Oh, what is the subject matter?” I ask.

He tells me that three years ago he had a religious epiphany and that in a vision he was informed that Jesus Christ had returned to Earth.

“Really, where to?” I ask. “Is he here in Africa?”

“Yes,” he says emphatically.

“How interesting. Is he black or white?”

The man laughs bashfully.

“No, seriously, I’d really like to know as I am working on a film concept called Jesus is black and living in Yeoville.”

He looks me deep in the eyes and tells me I too must be part of The Revelation and must have known about him, for he is indeed the returned spirit of Jesus and he lives in Yeoville.

I am somewhat unsettled by this disclosure. I laugh. “Why don’t you have some wine—or perhaps turn this water into wine,” I suggest. He is not amused, but goes to get a drink anyway.

I make a quick escape. Would this man have had the gumption to reveal this insanity to anyone other than a blonde? The experience further entrenches my belief that in the collective subconscious of the world there is a belief that blondes are dim-witted and gullible.

I guess we have dumb blonde jokes and Paris to thank for that.

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