I was already quite drained, so I made a Starbucks stop for black iced coffee. "What's your name?" the barista asked me for drink identification purposes. I paused -- those blonde bangs tickled my eyelashes and I just... didn't feel like myself.
"Kimberly," I replied with conviction.
In good (conflicting?) company
I met my best friend Veronica* for lunch, who also happens to be a blonde. She was blown away by my makeover, comparing it to staring at the sun: "It's very jolting at first and my eyes need some time to adjust!" she said. "You look awesome, I just wouldn't have recognized you had I not known to look for 'blonde Brooke.'"
"Yeah, so I'm Kimberly today. It just feels right."
Veronica was also that friend, I realized now, whose relationship status guys always asked me about. She's gorgeous, smart, and a catch -- but with my recent experience in being carnivorously catcalled just for existing, I was curious if she and her natural blondeness could relate.
"I think we do get more attention, but not just because our hair color is brighter," Veronica said. "Blonde stereotypes have been deeply ingrained in society. We are perceived as fun and bubbly, but also dumb and easy. The extra attention isn’t necessarily a good thing."
"Interesting!" I said. "I just hung out with one of New York's Real Housewives, who said she's careful about what she wears because of her blonde hair."
"Definitely. I'm cautious with my makeup, too," Veronica said. "Any lipstick brighter than nude makes me feel like a Barbie who's trying too hard."
What?! As a brunette, I'd never before thought twice about wearing a red lip color. This double standard seemed wildly unfair to the blonde community. Also, having a stricter, smaller gamut of what I could or couldn't wear if I didn't want to get hounded didn't seem "fun" to me.
After demolishing a chicken pesto sandwich (hair color did not affect my appetite), an older man walked by our table and called out to our waiter, "You take care of those two pretty young ladies!" Sure, the same thing could have happened if I was my normal brunette self. Still, it felt like two blonde girls together acted as an intense force that was hard to ignore.
I walked home and sent a selfie of Kimberly to my other blonde friend Alex*. She responded immediately with, "Wig?? I know you and you would never actually dye your hair."
Twenty-nine years of friendship proving Alex correct, I revealed my experiment and followed up with today's pressing question: do blondes have more fun and get more attention? "Nah," Alex answered. "I think it's pretty equal. There are plenty of guys who prefer brunettes, including my husband before he met me."
This was fascinating. Not only because my boyfriend had oppositely preferred blondes before meeting me, but also because my two blonde friends had such different opinions on the matter. My wig and I were being pulled in opposing directions. Luckily, next stop was the bar.