Not to sound like an egomaniacal pig, but I’ve gotten used to compliments about my hair color. “You look just like Gwen Stefani,” the girl who washed my hair before a blowout told me.
My doorman even nicknamed me “Marilyn Monroe,” because of my rumpled blonde waves and penchant for red lipstick on nights out.
Then, last week, I decided to become a brunette.
I loved being a blonde. In fact, I was varying degrees of platinum for the last three years. But frankly, the damage began to take a toll. My locks went from shiny to straw-like after all the bleach. Plus, all the double processing took a toll. I was paying upwards of $300 every time I’d step foot in a salon, which was roughly every eight weeks.
I might be sh*t at math, but even I can say my hair has cost me thousands of dollars in upkeep over the years.
Being blonde comes with a certain stigma. People expect something of you. You might argue hair shouldn’t influence others’ perception of you, but believe me, it does. In both subtle and explicit ways.
As a blonde, you’re always a damsel in distress.
Blonde Bella had people open doors for her. People let her cut in front of them on lines. The guys at the Apple Store were nicer to her when she brought in her laptop to be fixed.
As a now-brunette, it's not like I get treated harshly. People are still generally nice to me, it’s just much less pronounced. Strangers are more straightforward and assume I got my sh*t handled.
This isn’t just me. A small study performed in North Carolina by WCNC featured a woman — both as a blonde and in a brunette wig — repeatedly dropping her scarf in front of strangers. When the subject was a blonde, people (mostly men) picked up the scarf for her virtually every time it was dropped.
When the subject was a brunette, only a few bystanders picked up and returned the scarf to her. Most informed her she dropped her scarf, but didn’t help her pick it up. Some disregarded the scarf altogether.
It might not be life-changing, but these little differences do pile up. I might not need someone to open the door for me every single time, but it sure is nice when it happens.
As a blonde, everyone has an opinion on your hair.
No one ever notices your hair when you're a brunette. When you're a blonde, people stop and notice your hair more often.
It would happen once every few days. A woman would stop me on the street and tell me she “loved” my hair or ask me who my colorist was. A perfect stranger on the train told me he’s always had a thing for blondes.
I don’t care how creepy it is, it’s still confidence-boosting on a Tuesday morning commute to work.
As a brunette, people would still approach me unwarranted, but more so because they liked my haircut or what I was wearing.
The greatest tell-all, however, is dating apps. Tinder — AKA where I perform all my scientific studies — definitely cares about the color of your hair.
Blonde Bella got messages like “I’ve always wanted to f*ck a blonde,” and “Are you ALL natural." Brunette Bella still gets creepy messages, except they're more like, “DTF?” and guys who can actually attempt to spell out “you’re."
Will brunette Bella be luckier in love than blonde Bella? Stay tuned. Though if Tinder is any indicator, I doubt it.
As a brunette, getting ready is way more fun.
As a platinum blonde, I always felt just a tad overdone. Red lipstick always looked a bit too try-hard. Bold eyeshadow was a bit out of place. My brows, which I always liked just a tad exaggerated, looked like Madonna during a particularly unfortunate time in the 80s.
As a brunette, you can’t really go overboard. Darker locks complement bright shadows and Day-Glo lips because they don’t visually compete for attention.
As a brunette, you blend in, and it’s not a bad thing.
Blonde ladies, think about every time you’ve ever walked into a bar. Heads inevitably turn because they can’t help it. Your golden (or ashy, if that’s more your style) hair catches the eye.
As people, we’re attracted to pretty, sparkly, shiny things. That's what blondes are -- a genetic rarity. If they aren’t natural, then we associate the locks with wealth, status and glamour.
In an effort to combat this, I decided to switch my Bumble profile photo from a blonde selfie to a brunette selfie. I received fewer matches, but more people actually responded to my sh*tty pick-up line attempts.
My assumption? The guys who swiped right on me as a blonde didn’t bother looking at my profile or even through the rest of my photos. They just saw the blaring blonde flag.