Uh… the title of this post kind of got away from me. Sorry, galleons.
What is the deal with the “blonde bombshell” preference among most men? Is it simply because the media has repeatedly built up blondes as sexier and more fun? Or is it something deeper- something buried deep in our ancestral past or our genes?
Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
It’s a cold autumn evening, circa 9000 B.C. You’ve just returned from a hunting expedition, and you look out at the women who have gathered to greet your party (see what I did there?). You were successful in your venture, so now it is time to claim your spoils- the woman of your choice. A sea of dark-haired darlings brazenly approach you, battling for your attention. But who is that? That flaxen-haired goddess in the back of the pack, giving you a sexy wink and gesturing toward her domicile? YOU MUST HAVE HER.
That’s right, the male desire for blonde partners can be traced back to the end of the last ice age. Blonde hair evolved among the people of northern and eastern Europe. Depigmentation allows greater penetration of the skin by UVB, which is necessary to synthesize vitamin D3. Because northern Europe has fewer hours of sunlight than Africa, it’s theorized that European tribes underwent a genetic mutation that depigmentized (totally a word) their skin and hair in order to soak up more UVB.
But natural selection wasn’t the only reason blonde hair spread. It actually appears to have been more heavily linked to sexual selection.
And here’s where we start to get to our point.
See, in the frozen world of northern Europe, people were dependent on meat for sustenance. Women in the southern regions of the globe were able to forage for food, allowing them to feed themselves and their brood. But women up north didn’t have that luxury. Then needed the meat their men brought in. They needed it desperately. And hunting was dangerous work. Many men died on hunting trips. With the number of women far exceeding that of the males, competition for mates was fierce (much like it is on predominantly female college campuses- seriously, it’s scary shit).
So, men had their pick of the womenfolk. And, as is often the case, novelty won out- the blondes, less prevalent than the dark-haired vixens, were the ones men gravitated toward. After all, when everyone’s throwing themself at you, you tend to pick someone that stands out from the pack. And as monogamy started to become more popular at this point in time, it was the blondes who ended up as long-term partners of men, popping out their babies and spreading their golden locks to the next generation.
Anthropologist Peter Frost published a study about this recently through the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He also suggests that men chose blondes, not just for the novelty factor, but because bright colors stimulate sexual attraction in the brain (which also explains why women who wear bright scarlet tones are considered more attractive to the opposite sex). When it comes to arousal, it seems like men are just like giant, adorable kittens.
Look, shiny object! *pounce*
Blonde hair is no longer novel. The trait spread among the population (and can be acquired through a box of hair dye) and now it’s considered commonplace. And yet, men still prefer blondes. Because, even though there are more of them around, blondes still have the bright and shiny factor going for them. Blonde hair is radiant. Like Deborah Harry of the group Blondie put it, “As a color it’s like walking around with your own spotlight.”
But it’s about more than blonde hair being eye-catching. Blonde hair is also a symbol of youth. See, hair color darkens with age (before you go gray, of course). Though blonde women can start out with much lighter locks, as they age their hair darkens more and more. It becomes mousy, that color often referred to as “dishwater blonde.” Vibrant blonde hair indicates youth- the period before the hair darkens. Blonde hair can also brighten the features and reduce visible signs of aging. And we all know that youth and beauty go hand-in-hand.
The media has, naturally, latched onto this and reinforced the idea of the blonde bombshell in our minds. Leading ladies with flowing, brilliant blonde tresses are more successful and more eagerly accepted by the masses. Even in the day-to-day world of regular life, blondes have advantages. They tend to make more money than their dark-haired counterparts. They are often picked for jobs over brunettes. They garner more attention at bars, are thought to be more fun and appealing.
Anyway, the whole point of this was to tell you, dear galleons, that (drum roll, please)-
I’m a blonde again!
Well, okay, I’m in the first stage of the process. Because I’m naturally a brunette (and was recently sporting a deep red shade), I have to bleach my hair before I can get to blonde. Here’s the post-bleach state. I now get to wait a few days before I can dye it the proper shade.