From Chicago Correspondent Marcie…
So, I’ve very recently taken the plunge and changed my blonde locks to red. I decided to do this because of a wig I wore for a costume for Halloween. Everyone mentioned how it looked so good on me so I brought the wig over to a salon to see what some hairstylists would say. They all loved the look of it and convinced me it would be a process, but it could be done in one day. I’ve never been anything but a blonde. I did this not only for a change of my look but because I also wanted to see how men perceived me as a redhead versus a blonde.
Don’t get me wrong, being a blonde has its perks. I could easily get away with “acting” dumb to cops and judges to get out of a ticket, to mechanics to help dumb-ol’ me out in changing wiper blades, tires, windshield sprayers, etc., to men seeing me as “helpless” and doing whatever I needed them to do, and to merchants in getting more of a discount when I saw something on the 70%-off rack when it wasn’t on sale.
In my opinion, blondes are perceived by both men and women as fun-loving, cheery, upbeat, positive, and non-threatening people. I think this might all stem from a Barbie doll being every little girl’s ideal of “beauty.” Whatever it is, I used my blondeness to its full advantage.
But being a blonde also had its downside. I often felt that men never took me seriously and that I always had to fight to make it known I have a brain. Women often put me down before getting to know me. I also believe my professional life sometimes suffered from ill-conceived misperceptions of aptitude, all because I was a blonde. And I concluded that men think blondes are bimbos they like to bed but not necessarily have a relationship with or take home to mom.
This realization made me decide to try this social experiment of blondes vs. reds, if you will. After having my hair done I went straight out to a bar to test my theory. I definitely got the ― what I call ― “obvious” stares. Not the ones where they just slyly sideways-glance at you so you don’t notice them checking you out. No, these stares were full-on, unabashed, straight-into-my-eyes stares ― and from seven different men! Before, as a blonde, I was hard-pressed to get these obvious stares, and from so many men in one night! I was constantly told I was “intimidating” to men, so I would barely get men who could not only look at me but keep my gaze. Friends would have to tell me when they caught a guy checking me out because I could hardly see when guys were doing it.
Is this all because redheads are perceived as less intimidating and “warmer” to talk to? Could it be that the simple act of changing my hair color would change how men perceive me? Or was this night a fluke? I’ll update you in a future article…so don’t touch that dial!