Sunday, February 7, 2010

Beautiful Plumage – Part 2

Do Blondes have More Fun?

In the Fabulous Fifties, blondes were purported to ‘have more fun’. Than whom, you might wonder?

I was to be living proof of the success of this clever scam to sell peroxide to the nation. My own golden hair began to fade as I inched up towards adolescence. It no longer made any difference to me that my ponytail was the longest if it was turning brown at the roots! My sister hung onto her yellow curls longer than I did, but by Grade 10, I could see that all was lost and I was going to have to do something about it, if I were to move on from that perky ‘Gidget’ image, held so highly above the increasingly shallow waters of 50’s teen life.

When I was growing up, ‘blondeness’ dominated the culture. No one was interested in ‘Raven-Haired Beauties’ anymore. Snow White, with her ‘hair as dark as ebony’ and her insufferably squeaky soprano, never came close to Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, my own earliest role models. Later, came the years when Marilyn, Jayne and Anita held considerable sway. These impossibly voluptuous, platinum-haired women with huge breasts, tiny waists and full hips became the only desirable female archetype, much the way boyish, bony girls with lanky hair extensions prevail, today.

I’ll grant you Audrey Hepburn, (since you insist) but did you ever hear her referred to as a ‘woman’? Nope. Her adjectives leaned toward ‘waifish’ and ‘girlish’, never seductive or sexy. In the memorable words of Zsa Zsa Gabor, another famous glamourpuss of the era, “Nobody likes a bone but a dog!” Besides, Audrey was never blonde, so she doesn’t figure into this equation, although I admit, I did fringe my bangs to within a half an inch of their lives after seeing ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. To no avail.

Anyways, back to Grade 10. To restore my former golden-haired beauty, I decided to sneak a bottle of Clairol rinse into the shower. I won’t go into the many promises made by the commercials on TV, except to say that they didn’t exactly deliver. I emerged from that attempt looking more like Carrot Top than Monroe. There was nothing I could do to hide the disaster. I had to pretend that I meant it, all along. I carried my burnt-out head proudly, consoling myself with thoughts of my literary heroine, Anne of Green Gables. (At least my hair hadn’t turned green, my mother commented, in an attempt to make me feel better, as she quickly averted her eyes. To her credit, I could barely detect her laughter.)

Yes, I was the source of great amusement for all who beheld me for many months. Vanity, as Anne would tell you, if she were real, is quite a character builder.

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