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Something's Gotta Give

Four Women Writers on the Lasting Influence of Marilyn Monroe

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  • Clearly, the makeover worked for Marilyn, who came to refer to her ultra-platinum shade as "pillow case white." Could a color be more suggestive? Marilyn sacrificed that wholesome girl-next-door image when she started dabbling in such blatant artifice. Her coif became the equivalent of a low-cut blouse or a walk with a wiggle. In her case, what you saw was what you got. It must have been tiring to radiate such heightened sensuality at all times.

    Still, I would love even a stiletto's worth of her sex appeal. Every time I visit my colorist, we do this aggressive tango about a realistic shade, because my natural burnished chestnut hair is a far cry from platinum. I say, "Honey," and she says, "Caramel." I hiss, "Corn silk," and she whispers, "Copper."

    I'm a working woman with a newborn daughter and a brand new house. Being even semi-blond bleeds me over $300 and four hours at my salon every three or four weeks—and that's for a single process to cover pesky grays and a gazillion painted-on highlights. I also worry about aging and becoming one of those 65-year-old women who refuses to put down the peroxide. A grandma with dark roots and a penchant for sticky lip gloss. At what point do I segue from Jayne Mansfield to Jane Goodall?

    But for right now, being blond makes me happy. Having those buttery highlights buoys my outlook and amps up my self-assurance. When I walk by a mirror, I see a sexier, saucier version of myself. I see the type of woman who winks on occasion or tells a knock-knock joke or orders a double cheeseburger and fries without ever apologizing. And if it should be served too rare, then this semi-blonde won't hesitate to complain and send it right back.

Something's Gotta Give
Four Women Writers on the Lasting Influence of Marilyn Monroe
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