{15/05/2014}   Embracing blonde – five months

Taken on 14th May, five months after baldnessI suspect my hair no longer warrants a blog update but I thought I’d write one about being blonde as it’s been quite an unexpected experience.

Now that I’ve just spent a small fortune on blonde hair products in an attempt to mute the yellowness in order to avoid matching the yellow arms of my preferred glasses, I might get my roots “done” over the next few weeks and stay blonde a bit longer but it’s not a look that I plan to keep or ever go back to.  I just don’t feel at all blonde; I’m definitely more brown or grey/brown!

When I had virtually no hair, I was convinced people would stare at me.  However, I didn’t really notice it beyond the odd surreptitious peak.  But now my hair is short and blonde, I have never, ever felt so stared at.  Very unsettling.  Everyone I’ve caught staring at me has appeared expressionless and I can’t work out what they were thinking.  One normal-looking man on a station platform was staring at me and I could feel his gaze so I turned to look at him.  My first thought was that I didn’t know who he was so I turned to face where I’d been looking.  But he was still staring, so I looked back and confirmed to myself I didn’t know him.  But he was still staring.  I wasn’t wearing a purple leopard print onesie and 10-inch (is that possible?!) heels and I did not feel I stood out or looked out of the ordinary.  Strange.  He was the most starey person – I ended up looking at him three times and only the arrival of the train seemed to distract him – but I have caught a lot of people looking at me, men and women but probably mainly women.  This is not something I’m used to and not something I like.  Being stared at by strangers has given me a perspective on how weird it must be to be famous and have people looking at you as if they know you but you don’t know them.

I have also found it slightly odd that I don’t feel I blend in in a crowd, more odd considering I didn’t notice that as much with no hair.

I went on holiday to Kazakhstan over Easter and met some lovely people who met me for the first time, as blonde.  I found it really strange that they got to knowYellow glasses, yellow hair - but laughing, so maybe it's true about blondes and fun?!  (photo taken at the top of Bayterek Tower, Astana) me looking completely different to how I usually look and even feel.  All of this emphasises once again how your hair has a huge impact on your confidence, appearance and identity.  On that trip, I took flights between London and Almaty and three domestic flights.  It’d take a fair bit of totting up to count roughly how many people did at least a double take looking at my passport photo (taken almost ten years ago and with a long bob of brown hair) and matching it to me!

Have I enjoyed being blonde?  Not particularly.  Have I had more fun?  No, though neither have I had less fun.  Has anyone not recognised me?  Yes, probably more people than I expected!  Has it changed me?  I was going to say no but now I’ve had it for a month I’m starting to feel that I should conform to a short, blonde, messy-haired stereotype of being cool and funky and I feel there is a chance I’m beginning to try to look cool and funky (I’m worried about a possible mutton/lamb scenario).  I have also avoided swimming pools in situations where I might otherwise have used them.  I am convinced my hair will go green.

I’ve just thought of another thing that I’ve found kind of interesting, namely the (seeming) honesty and decisiveness of opinion with which friends have expressed their thoughts, ranging from “Ooo, it’s not you” to “Wow, you look really cool”, and “you should stay blonde” to “at least it’s not permanent”!  Whatever will I talk about and make small talk about when my hair becomes more normal?


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