Color counts in large amounts |

Color counts in large amounts

Alison Berkley

The verdict is in: Blondes really do have more fun. I know this for a fact after a six-month hiatus as a brunette. Trust me when I say the whole dark-haired thing wasn’t working for me. I can honestly say it was the emptiest time in my life – like, literally. But I’ll get to that later.The thing is, I’ve been blonde since I can remember. Sure, those photos of me when I was 8 years old reveal a slightly different shade of dirty blond. (OK, fine! God! It was light brown). If you want to get technical about it, I’ve been blond since that summer day in eighth grade when I decided to dump a bottle of Sun In all over my hair at the country club pool. Poof! I became a blonde just like that. From that point on, I got highlights every couple of months like every other blonde I know.But it became more than just a hair color. It was part of my identity. I was forever described as “that little blond girl” or as having that “blond-haired blue-eyed” look. It was forged onto my driver’s license and my passport as a permanent part of my physical description. In the summer, when my hair got even lighter in the sun, it seemed almost natural (at least until my roots started to grow in). And when I moved to California and started surfing every day, it bleached out completely from the salt water and sun (and regular visits to my hairdresser). Over the last 20 years, I became a true blonde in my own mind and loved every minute of it.Basically, all I’ve ever wanted is straight, long blond hair even though mine is basically dark, wavy and doesn’t seem to grow past my collarbones. My “natural” hair (God, I hate that word) is a combination of my mom’s hair, which is light, fine and silky, and my dad’s, which is dark, thick and wiry (what my brother likes to refer to as “the Jew fro”). So I have to condition the hell out of it, then blow dry it, and then fight with it for at least a half hour with my straightening iron. I have two drawers full of products that are supposed to help even though none of them really works. I’ve got leave-in this and spray-on that. I’ve got stuff for frizz and for straightening, for shining and repairing. I’ve got round brushes and flat brushes that I keep in a big vase under the sink like some demented fake flower arrangement. I even have dangerous stuff that’s made from silicone which is supposed to make your hair shiny. It has a warning on the label that says, “Keep your hair away from open flame when using this product.” I mean, can you imagine? Some guy lights up at the bar, or tries to kiss you by the fire, and your hair goes up in flames? Not exactly what I have in mind when I’m dumping that stuff all over my head trying to do my hair for that “hot date.”So back in November, I went dark. If it’s cool with Renee Zellweger and Britney Spears, it’s cool with me. I’d be all demure and sophisticated and cultured and mysterious like Penelope Cruz. I’d have that sexy, serious light eyes and dark hair combination like Jennifer Connelly. Maybe I’d even look smart.The reactions were mixed at best. The first words out of my friend John’s mouth were, “It looks weird.” My friend Mark said, “It’s a different look for you, that’s for sure.” And when I saw my ex-boyfriend Ian in California, he said, “I just know you as a blonde. That’s all.” And my dad looked at me funny and said, “Who ARE you?”Then there were the people who know it’s more polite to lie. The reason I know these people lied is because as soon as I resurfaced as a blonde they said things like, “I definitely like you better as a blonde.”I knew it was time to go back to blond when I realized something was missing. My life felt empty. No, wait. I felt empty. I woke up one morning in April and realized I hadn’t gotten laid in six months. Then it occurred to me that all of my problems must be because of my hair! I mean, Renee went blond again and got married just like that – to a cheesy country singer, but still.So after only five hours at the salon, poof! My darling hair stylist Darrel and his make-up artist/in-house comedian Charles became my best friends/new therapists, and I became my old, true self again. It was like the sun came out from behind the clouds and shone on my little golden head. Thank God almighty! I can see the light! I can wear the color red! I called my 15 best friends to celebrate. We’d go on the Blonde Ambition Tour so I could be a rock star and make these big entrances at every bar in Aspen with my entourage. So what if it was a Tuesday and every place we went was empty? I was blonde again, damnit! Everyone was super happy for me, except my friend Dina. She’s French and doesn’t understand the whole blonde-in-America thing, so I did my best to explain it to her.”I feel like myself again!” I said, jumping up and down. “But how can you feel like yourself when it’s not your natural color?” she asked. Because she is European, she has this nasty little habit of being honest all the time. Instead of hitting her over the head with my pink canvas Louis Vuitton bag (also French), I just smiled and explained it to her the best I could.”Natural-smatchural,” I said, hips cocked one side. “I’m just glad to be back in the blonde again.”The Princess promises not to stay sober during Food and Wine. E-mail your best hangover remedy to