What's in a mane? It's been said that blondes have more fun; that redheads are fiery and feisty (loathsome word though that is, applicable only to women who have opinions); that brunettes are serious and hardworking; that women with black hair are untameable and carefree (given the rarity and ethnic profile of the black-haired woman, that's a stereotype that merits a longer discussion on race).
Well I've been all four. I was born with hair that veered wildly towards blonde in summer months; as I aged, like so many young blondes, my tresses toned down their golden tendencies and became mousey brown or (less desirable description) dirty blonde. At the age of 14, I began dyeing my hair with something approaching gay abandon. I went from bleached-out locks with temporary pink dye to black and then, for some reason, navy blue. At the age of 16 I began to get highlights; by the age of 19 I was full-on, Gwen Stefani platinum.
When I left college, I decided that I wanted to be a serious journalist. I dyed my hair red. These two things are not related, although they should be. Some time last year, I went dark, chocolate brown. A few months ago I decided to let my hair grow out, to go natural like so many French women whose understated style I admire. Then I - or, rather, my boyfriend, in that helpful way they have - found a grey hair, and the decision was easy: go blonde or go home.
But why blonde? Of all the colours I've been, it is, without a doubt, the most difficult to keep up with. It is expensive, it is time consuming (although, to be fair to follicular technology, at least they've progressed from the skullcaps of yore, through which tranches of hair were pulled by means of a tool that looked positively tortuous) and it is, for want of a better word, common. But it feels more me.
As a brunette, I am hardworking and reliable. But I am also cynical and sarcastic; I am, at times, bitchy and unforgiving. I am hard. My red-headed self, on the other hand, is outgoing and bubbly. She is the life and soul of the party; you'll never lose her in a crowd. But she is annoying. (My black-haired self is not worth discussing; she is anaemic and self-conscious. She considers piercing her neck and tattooing her arms.)
As a blonde, however, I am sunny and optimistic. I am bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready to go - to work, to play, to spend an unscheduled day watching reruns of Friends on Channel 4. I work hard and I play hard and, if I play my cards right, I'll never look paler than I have to. And who can say fairer than that?