Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"Blondes Make Men Act Dumb"

A recent study suggests that blondes have the power to actually make men act dumber.

Conducted by French scientists at Paris Nanterre University, the study asked male participants to view pictures of women with various hair colors, then complete general knowledge tests. According to The Daily Mail, "Those who had been shown pictures of blonde women scored lower marks than those who had been shown pictures of brunettes and redheads."

What can we conclude from such a study?

Professor Theirry Meyer, a joint author of the paper, concludes that, "people confronted with stereotypes generally behave in line with them," and that "Blondes have the potential to make people act in a dumber way, because they mimic the unconscious stereotype of the dumb blonde."

Is this true in my experience as an Undercover Blonde? Well, unfortunately boys, I have to say it is. As a brunette, I was taken much more seriously by complete and total strangers, as evidenced by the research I shamelessly conducted at my waitressing job. I am condescended to and patronized with much greater frequency as a blonde.

Sometimes guys dumb it down with me to be assholes, or because they're trying to flirt, or have had too much to drink while waiting for a table and no longer know how to act like civilized diners. And sometimes good, intelligent, well meaning people assume I'm an idiot, without even realizing it. Just the other day at Toro, for example, a regular assumed I wouldn't be able to help him out a bottle of wine to go with his dinner. This was a special customer, a VIP guest, an important regular whom I've waited on before. I know all about this guest: I could rattle off his usual order to you in a heartbeat, and more importantly, I know exactly what kind of wine he likes to drink. I knew in advance that he'd be coming, that he'd be sitting in my second, and I had a perfect bottle of wine picked out for him in my mind ahead of time. So when he said, "Can you send the Wine Director over to help us pick out a bottle of wine?" my eager little waitress heart sank.

This regular must have read the disappointment in my face, because he quickly offered, "Unless you know the wine list and can help...?" His voice was tentative, the sentence limp.

"Actually, I do have a wine in mind for you," I smiled, "I think it's perfect for your tastes. It has that kiss of oak that you like so much about French Chardonnay while still retaining the integrity of the Albarino, very unusual..." and so on. I offered to bring him something else if the wine didn't suit his tastes.

And he loved it.

Was he surprised? I'll never know. But I'm glad he decided to take a chance on this blonde.

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