I'm not a blonde anymore. That fantasy has officially ended. After spending the better part of a year transitioning from dirt brown to Michelle Pfeiffer's off-yellow Scarface bob to accidentally sea green to Gwen Stefani white, my hair is now a pleasant rich-chocolate color. So my mother can stop thinking about how much she hates the way I look with blond hair and re-focus on why I'm not married. (Tip: Other than getting married, another thing that makes a mom happy is when you stay as close to what you looked like when you came out of her uterus as possible. Meaning no dyed hair, tattoos, piercings or shirts that say stuff like "FBI: Female Body Inspector" or "Nice New Girlfriend -- What Breed Is She?")
Just after the drastic life change (and, yes, I say "drastic" because, in the life of a single white woman, a new hair color is like getting a tan or a cat or a baby: Everyone notices and immediately judges your current relationship status), my co-worker said, "I like your new hair color! It makes you look more mature." I wanted to ask him, "Are you sure I don't look more mature because I'm wearing real pants today?"
This same co-worker remarked that when my wonderful cousin Andrea came into Shirt Folding Store to visit me recently, he could definitely see the "family resemblance." I didn't have the heart to tell him that Andrea and I are related by marriage, not blood. Instead, I inferred from these interactions that not only does my brown hair make me look older, but it also means I can pass for Italian. (Watch out, cousin. I'm going to recklessly abandon my proud sort-of Irish/Bohemian roots and steal all of your "Everybody Loves an Italian Girl" T-shirts, as soon as I can figure out how to actually get a tan.)
Somehow, my glasses, too, have been highlighted by this hair-color change. I've gotten more compliments on my DJ Towa Tei frames since I transitioned from Kelly Bundy acid-wash hair to this "natural" Daria brown. And I won't turn down kind words in regard to my favorite fetishized impairment -- besides, that one time, adult braces got me laid -- especially if it means some dude digs my Harry Carey look enough to go pop-culturally deeper than "You remind me of Lisa Loeb." (Read: I'm 35, out of touch with what's cool, and boring as hell.)
I don't know if I like maturity being the overwhelming theme of the compliments I've gotten since I became a non-blonde, or the other type of comment I've been receiving -- which relates to my physical state of whiteness. A handful of people have said something along the lines of "I didn't realize you had such porcelain-white skin when you were blond!" -- which actually translates to "Holy shit, if you were any pastier, you would be blue!" But I guess I can deal. At least I know what it's like to be Kate Middleton or Beyonce now, shouldering the weight of responsibility due to excessive complimentation. And I was really starting to wonder who on this planet I could relate to.
Now I just have to figure out how to take myself seriously -- because when I was blond all of those years ago -- I mean last week -- I could use it to justify dumb choices I made. Being a brunette comes with greater responsibility, related to things like wearing real pants, fixing things without the help of a man I may or may not have whined at to get him under my car's hood, and, in general, being truthful, politically aware and socially and morally upright on Facebook.
Because blondes might have more fun, but brunettes with glasses rule the (Internet) world -- except when my self-portrait submission gets denied by Girls That Look Like Skrillex.
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