Saturday, December 30, 2006


Do you check your horoscope every day? I do it. Here's what has to say about me today:

Do you know how sexy you are? Probably not, because you never have to think about it -- you're effortlessly elegant. Part of the reason you're attractive is that you have much better things to think about than how to be attractive.

First of all, thank you,, for the lovely compliment. Does this mean you like me better as a brunette? I think it does.

Seriously, though, this leg of the project has had me thinking a lot about my vanity, my self esteem, and how these things are intertwined with the way that I look. This blonde project evolved in the first place, you see, because I wanted to see what it would feel like to embody this European standard of beauty, this blonde haired, light eyed image that is so intricately woven into the fabric of our culture as THE beauty standard. I knew when I first went undercover that I'd never be waif-thin as I should be, and I'm probably too short to really embody any sort of statuesque, model style beauty. But hair is something I can change, I already have light eyes, and I'd also always wondered what it would be like to be blonde. And so it began.

As the experiment wore one, though, I became increasingly aware of those ways that I fall short of the aforementioned beauty standard. Sure I had blonde hair and light eyes, and sure I was getting lots of attention. But my thoughts were constantly also fretting over things like my weight (Oh my god! I think I gained a pound--I'm off food for the week) and my skin (that wrinkle in between my eyebrows is growing! shit! does my health insurance cover Botox???) In reality, I am intelligent enough to know that I am a healthy weight, have healthy eating habits, and can do nothing to stave off wrinkles, aside from taking great care of my skin. But inside my head there persists a little voice, urging me on, closer and closer towards this very unhealthy notion of "perfection."

Don't believe me? Consider this quote, from a journal entry I penned the night before I dyed my hair brown:

I am nervous. And mortified. What if I hate it? What if I no longer look hot? What if it makes me look fat? What if people don’t think I’m sexy anymore? What if the Mathematician doesn’t love me anymore? What will become of me as a brunette?...

Without the blonde I think I’ll look less pretty, and I think I’ll look ordinary. On the upside, I think people will start to treat me more seriously, and perhaps be more interested in my ideas than in me being hot. But a part of me doesn’t give a shit about that. Which is at once mortifying, and brutally, truly honest.

So, it seems that once again, the stars are talking to me today. It seems that they agree that it was time for me to take a step away from that vain blonde person that I was, and spend a little time focusing on more important things. So, in honor of this decree, here's a photo of me from this morning, taken without make-up, while sitting here, writing, and drinking my coffee.

New Year, New You. Here's to brunettes in 2007!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

are you freakin out right now? 'cuz that JUST happened...

I did it! Finally, I have made the conversion. I told no one it was coming, so don't be upset, blog readers. I kept my mouth shut and vowed to tell NO ONE about my decision to go brown today until I just couldn't contain myself yesterday and was left with no choice but to confess my big hair secret to a select group of randomly chosen people (my boss at 647, my mom, my roommate.)

So, here are the preliminary pics. I had to work tonight, so I've already begun to amass a throng of significant reactions...more on those tomorrow, for now, though, I want to see yours...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

pictures to prove it

Last night, East Side Girl called me up to chat.

"Where the f*** are all the pics from your trip???" she asked. "You promised photos and all we get are some big wine glasses, and that's it???"

It was almost as though she didn't believe I had gone on the trip at all. Okay, she has a point. So, here are a few more pictures to prove it...

Me with my best friend in Siena at night...

Us again, looking mischievous...

Me with Prague Castle...

The Mathematician in Cafe Mucha, one of a gazillion gorgeous Art Deco cafes in Prague. Seriously, it feels like time stopped in Prague in the early 20s, at least architechturally, and in the dining establishments and hotels. Everywhere you eat or drink it looks a little bit like the dining room on the Titanic...

How is that East Side Girl? There will be more to come, too...

Monday, December 18, 2006

I didn't recognize you...

"I didn't recognize're so blonde!"

This is what a former colleague of mine said to me when I ran into him at the grocery store on Friday night. And he couldn't have known how happy that statement made me.

It was very, very nice to see Brian at Shaw's on Friday. Brian was my supervisor when I was an intern at Beacon Press back in 2003, which feels like 100 years ago now. We do this periodically--he'll pop into Tremont or I'll drop him an email by way of saying hello, and we'll catch up in a cursory way. Last time we spoke I was still acquiring books at my last job, still working at Tremont to pay the bills, and trying to call in a favor and get my friend an internship. That was maybe last March?

This time when I saw Brian, I was rushing through the aisles at the grocery store, trying to find pancetta and bucatini in preparation for the Amatriciana dish I was preparing for a special dinner with the Mathematician--our mini-Christmas before he departed to California for the holidays. I caught a glimpse of Brian out of the corner of my eye as I ran from the pasta aisle to the bacon section (yes, Shaw's has a sepcific refrigerated area labeled "BACON"), by my brain didn't register who he was until I was many, many grocery store aisles away. By then, it seemed the opportunity to make small talk had passed...until I walked right by him in the candy aisle, on my way to the check-out counter.

"Hi!" I said, walking right up to he and his partner, with a very big friendly grin on my face.

"Um...Hi," he said, casting a sidelong to his partner that said, 'Why is this crazy girl STARING at me???' Then, a second later, he realized who I actually was and said the magic words:

"Oh, it's you! How are you? I didn't recognize're so blonde!"

And I felt so proud of my blonde hair. I mean, it caused him to do a double take, to stop mid-sentence, and even cast a dubious sidelong glance to his partner because he didn't know who the fuck I was! My blondiness baffled him! I was--am--so elated by this that it didn't even occur to me until now, as I sit down to write about the effect my blonde hair had on this scene, that in my mind the very, very artificial color of my very, very blonde hair overshadowed ALL of the other life changes and accomplishments that have shaped the past three years of my life. I of course filled Brian in on the latest news--my career change, my fabulous new life as a cookbook publicist, how happy I am that I no longer had to commute every day, how much I ADORE my new boss and my fun new job. But as I was chatting away, all I could think about was how I couldn't wait to go home and write in my blog about Brian's confusion and his inability to recognize me as a blonde. Even as I stood there rattling on about my career and my life changes I felt that Brian's bafflement was somehow proof positive that my theory about going blonde is true--it has made me different.

But really, my hair is about the LEAST significant thing that has changed in my life since I last worked with Brian. Since I left Beacon Press I have:
  1. Gotten my first publishing job (my first REAL job) as an editorial assistant
  2. Been promoted in that job and learned how to be a book editor
  3. Grown dissatisfied with my job as an editor and quit
  4. Started a new career as a publicist
  5. Started writing a book
  6. Survived the demise of my engagement, a slow collapse which included: years of patient waiting, hundreds of hours of personal & couples therapy, even more hundreds of hours of arguments, and gallons of tears
  7. Supported my mom as she battled breast cancer
  8. Supported my dad as he battled a myriad of heart problems
  9. Fallen hopelessly in love with a Mathematician who whisked me away to Prague twice and Italy once

Yet the blonde thing is the thing I cherished most about seeing Brian? Am I a little too obsessed with the project? Or just in the habit of underselling myself? Or is it maybe that I've just got the whole thing twisted...that being blonde hasn't made me different at all, rather, that being different is what made go blonde?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

brown is the new blonde?

Well, it appears that “brown” is the new “blonde” in Hollywood. And it kind of has been all fall. And I couldn’t be more annoyed.

I have purposefully been avoiding the likes of People and Us Weekly for at least 8 months now, filthy rags that they are. Don’t get me wrong, I own that are fun to read, and in the past, I have consumed them voraciously. For a time, they provided a deeply satisfying sense of joy (which I now recognize as schadenfreude) in my life whenever I hunkered down with one -- plus you can read them in the time it takes to do my entire circuit on the treadmill and the elliptical machine at the gym. I stopped reading them when my girlfriend Camilla explained to me what schadenfreude actually is. The conversation went something like this:

ME: I know the technical definition of the word schadenfreude: taking pleasure in the pain suffered by others. But I don’t get it. It seems really fucked up.
CAMILLA: Yes, I know. But everyone kind of indulges in it.
ME: Really, even me?
CAMILLA: Of course.
ME: No way. OH MY GOD (gleefully) LOOK at this picture of Britney Spears’ nasty cellulite thighs on this beach that I just found on Whoa. Seriously, LOOK! It’s amazing…Ummm, what were you saying?

In an attempt to salvage whatever brain cells I have left after the long restaurant industry induced party-phase that so eloquently shape my early twenties, I stopped reading those magazines some time ago. Really, if I hadn’t, this brunette thing that everyone in Hollywood is doing would not have come as such a surprise to me.

I mean, of course I've noticed the brown ‘do being sported by the likes of Cameron Diaz, Lindsay Lohan, and that awful, alien-esque Olsen twin with their new hair. But my acknowledgement of the trend has been more…peripheral these past few months. I've been too busy working way too much and gallivanting in Europe to care what those media-whores are up to. It wasn’t until this article flashed across the sidebar of my hotmail account yesterday that I realized what is actually happening:

Brown is becoming the new blonde.

I am extremely disappointed by this because I, too, am on the cusp of converting over to the dark side. I know I faked you all out with such decrees in October, and truthfully, I’m glad I didn’t do it then, because I really wasn’t ready. I needed to go to Italy as a blonde, live a few more months as a blonde, and truly get my head around what I think of myself as a blonde.

And you know what? I’m still not ready to go brown. I am just now coming to terms with the fact that regardless of what anybody else thinks, the catcallers, the strange men on the street, the many friends, the very vocal restaurant regulars, and my family members all of whom seem to like me best as a blonde, the fact remains:

I like me better as a blonde.

Nevertheless, I want to see this experiment thru to completion, and in the New Year, I plan to eradicate the blonde, cross over finally to the brunette-side and to see for at least a few months how that other half lives. Jason and I will be setting the date this week. When and how dark will remain a secret to you all—but no worries, I will post pictures.

In any case, the recent brunette trend that has been happening in Hollywood really bugs me. Now people will think I am following in the footsteps of such odious starlets as Britney, who made headlines by going brown, then back to blonde, then back to brown again over this past weekend, and idiots like Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie.

I’m telling you all, and you read it here: I had the idea first.

Monday, December 04, 2006

"he likes blondes"

This weekend, the Mathematician and I were having brunch at Zaftigs when an adorable little boy came running up to our table and started flirting with me. He had dark brown hair and shiny brown eyes. My back was to the room and I heard his giggle before I even saw him.

"Oh, hello," I said, turning around in my chair. I looked at him for a moment, flashed him a big, friendly, big person smile and gave him a pint sized wave, flapping the fingers on my right hand up and down. He looked down at his shoes, like he was maybe a little embarrassed, as though he didn't really know what to say. Then he looked up at me again, and his face broke open into a 1,000-watt smile. He pointed at me, started clapping his hands, and erupted into a fit of giggles.

"Whoa, where you going, kiddo?" said a dark-haired, dark eyed woman, who must have been his mom. "Gosh you're fast! I'm so sorry," she said to me as she wrapped one arm around the little boy's waist and picked him up to take him back to where his family was waiting together for a table. "He likes blondes," she said, shrugging.

"That's okay," I said, gesturing towards the Mathematician. "So does he."

I'm sure the mom was just making a joke...but is it possible that this little boy has already developed a prediliction for blondes? He couldn't have been more than 18 months old, and could barely even talk! But when I looked around at the other people dining around us, it seemed true. Every other diner in our section had dark hair: light brown, reddish chestnut, jet black. I was the lone blonde, and the only person in the restaurant who piqued his interest. Is it possible that he's already got a "type"?