Feminist rage, oh feminist rage. It’s recently occurred to me that I’m in a decent position to conduct a small experiment. I started dyeing my hair about ten years ago in protest at the appearance of white strands, and made an early decision that if you’re going to spend time, effort and money on colouring your hair, there’s no bloody point doing it the same colour. Particularly when that colour would be ‘mousy’. So I’ve been various shades of red, dark brown with an ill-advised detour into black – and now I’m blonde.
I don’t recall making a conscious decision to go blonde. The red had been getting lighter for a while, and then a month in Australia and the Middle East last year sort of pushed it over the line. I’ve just kept it. It’s not screamingly blonde, more sort of golden-with-a-hint-of-red.
Why am I boring you with this level of detail about my stupid hair? Because I’m getting bored with having to deal with a sudden increase in sleaze. Every now and again I’d get some guy sitting next to me on the bus, or in the park, or in a pub, trying to chat me up. That was par for the course, right? You deal with it and forget it. But what I’d never experienced was men leering out of van windows; long, low whistles; comments of “hello, gorgeous” or “mmm” (always when I’m level with the bloke as I’m passing on the pavement, never with enough time to snark back without having to turn round and make a big point of it). Once every six months is fine. Three times before lunch is taking the piss.
I have neither lost nor gained weight.
I have not changed the way I dress.
I have not started wearing make-up.
I have not developed glowing, flawless skin.
I have not changed my usual, scowling, demeanour for a sunnier one.
I just changed my hair colour.
This never happened when I was ginger.
I don’t know if I’m more annoyed by having to deal with the morons or the fact that it’s clearly got such shallow roots. Men, seriously, what is wrong with you?*
* Not you, obviously. You’re lovely and enlightened and would never dream of looking a strange lady up and down in a lascivious manner. But if you could have a word with some of your penis-owning brethren, I’d be mightily obliged.