Are You Nicer to Blondes?
Photo by gifhunterress.tumblr.com/Flickr
Everyone, absolutely everyone, has been so helpful to me in the past several weeks—and noticeably nicer. I walk down the street and people offer an unsolicited hello. Subway seats are mine; I get to walk ahead of everyone through the turnstile.I’m not pregnant. I’m blonde.
After thirty some years as a brunette, I wanted a change. Turns out my colorist, the incredible Allison Gandolfo at the John Barrett salon, is kind of psychic. She knew I needed to lighten up after a recent breakup, even before I did. She texted me one day about a month ago: Blonde? Now? Maybe, I replied.Going blonde when you’re a ruddy chestnut brown is no easy feat. ”You’re going to have so much fun,” Allison said. “Men are going to be all over you.”I don’t know about the fun—and I actually haven’t yet been asked on any dates—but the world is a better place as a blonde. Here’s why:
The cashier at Trader Joe’s offers to carry my bags to the car.
Cabbies smile at me and strike up pleasant conversation.
Airline check-in staff give me free passes to the business lounge.
Security in my office building no longer scowls when I forget my ID.
I can talk my way out of speeding tickets.
Bouncers wave cover charges.
Bartenders offer me free drinks.
Waiters give me extra fries and dessert.
When I ran out of value on my Metro Card, the person behind me swiped for me.
I need to stress that none of this felt like a creepy come-on, though it does make me paranoid. People are just more pleasant, so was I less approachable as a brunette? Plenty of people have written about this great hair hypocrisy before. There is even a modicum of scholarly research on the subject. Lisa Slattery Walker, a Sociology professor at UNC in Charlotte has been studying the effect that hair color has on how people interact with you. “This is not my opinion. It is based on research,” Dr. Walker said when I asked why she thought people were being nice to me. “Hair color plays a role in the way people are treated. Women who are blonde tend to get more help from others.”