My Blonde Ambition

Has anyone ever made a comment on your appearance, positive or negative, that changed your perception of yourself, like, forever?

For me, it was when a hair stylist described the natural color of my tresses as “mousy brown.”

I was in my early 20s, trying to dress for success at my first real job in New York, and the last animal I wanted to be compared with was a timid, boring little mouse.  I wanted to be a Palomino or a lion.  You know, something blonde.

Now that's good hair

After that comment, the hairdresser had no trouble selling me on highlights (what a nice annuity for his salon) and from there my hair starting getting blonder…

And blonder…

… until finally someone at work said, “Why don’t you just move to California already?”  And so I did.

My blonde may be faux, but it’s a real part of my identity now, and I can prove it:  I’m bubbly (when I’m drunk), I definitely have more fun (than monks or prisoners) and I take offense at dumb blonde jokes, unless they’re really funny.

When you’re a fake blonde for a long time (like Madonna), I think the statute of limitations on your natural hair color expires and you actually become a real blonde.  Follow my blonde logic: There are childhood photos of me at the beach in which my hair appears dirty blondish.  My arm hair is blonde.  My driver’s license says I’m blonde.  Construction workers have occasionally called out “hey Blondie” when I pass. My fiance and child have only known me as a blonde.  I’m pretty sure I’ve always been blonde.  Yep, I’m a real blonde.

Which is why, when this ancient photo of me appeared on Facebook last week, I was like, holy crap, who’s that?

Answer: Me, age 18, with my baby sister Zane

My first instinct was to untag.  Brunette had no place in my blonde world; looking at that photo felt too much like seeing Clark Kent and Superman in the same room.   But it’s such a sweet picture of me and my half sister Zane, just a baby then, now a college graduate working at her first real job in New York.  Ah yes, everything comes full circle.

I’d advise Zane not to let any enterprising hairdressers mess with her sense of self, but she already knows better than that.

And lucky for her, she’s a natural blonde.

Zane, the real deal

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  1. Fly
    Posted August 14, 2012 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Let’s hear it for beautiful blondes! And you were NEVER mousy; always a lioness!

    • Amy
      Posted August 16, 2012 at 5:26 am | Permalink

      Do you remember our highlights guy in NY – Steven? I wonder where he ended up?

  2. JFS
    Posted August 14, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Amy, you’re fortunate to have perfect, ambiguous coloring: your skin and eyebrows go with pretty much any hair color you choose. I liked you dark and I like you blonde. I guess I just like you.

    • Amy
      Posted August 16, 2012 at 5:25 am | Permalink

      Fen, you say the sweetest things.

  3. Sherie
    Posted August 15, 2012 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    How timely…I have a hair apointment tomorrow that I yesterday, boldly, canceled the highlight portion. Just a cut. I wanted to see what my “dishwater” blonde really looks like after 20+ years of blonding out. (well actually, i wanted to go red again, but don’t want to deal with getting it back to blonde). I’m also cutting off a considerable length which will what out the remaining highlights I have. Here goes my experiment in “mousy”…bet I’ll be back for the highlights in 2 weeks flat!

    • Amy
      Posted August 16, 2012 at 5:25 am | Permalink

      Sherie, do tell, how did it turn out? I once went back to brown, though instead of just skipping highlights I went for a single process brown dye. I took my new brown hair to a party and people literally didn’t recognize. That sent me screaming back to the hair salon.

  4. Rachel
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    So funny that you referenced that photo of you with the baby – I just assumed it was Viv, but I thought your hair looked pretty dark but then figured it was wet and my brain moved on to something else….