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Is Blonde Better?

When I was born, my mother tells me, my hair came out like soft duck feathers, I was a blonde, a Nordic type. I am not aware as to whether I was cute.

It wasn't until much later in my life that I realized how important it was for a girl to be pretty.

I tried to be a good girl. I thought God would appreciate me for that.

If anyone was attracted to my 16 year old self, I tried to ignore the attention, the way a person would shoo off bugs too tiny to see. Maybe it never occurred to me. In my mind, I wasn't a physical body anyway.

I floated around. I lived in my head.

And I was accused of being an utter stoner (though all drugs were scary)

I liked to disappear in books, in writing songs, in playing my mother's guitar.

Who knows why some people are born shy? Somehow, as we grow, we decide we don't matter very much. So we listen. We become invisible.

When Douglas Coates, of London's Leisure Process, took an interest in promoting my first EP, all of us were very happy. We had toiled, playing in pubs and recording on the cheap. We dreamed that now opportunity would come. And it did. Levi's, the famous blue jean company, sponsored the CD, as well as the graphics campaign.

I took the train to London, met with Douglas, who took me out for dinner in SOHO. I had to have my hair done for this journey, blonded up a wee bit, blow-dried. My skirt was a mini. I began to think of myself as a pop star.

The dinner meeting started with a cocktail, and ended with cigarettes. Douglas took me to his home where I met his wife and his daughters. I felt cool, decidedly chosen, and good-looking.

The next day, Douglas took me to a warehouse, where a make-up artist tweezed my blows and applied foundation and eye shadow, the works. We moved into a well-lit white room, and the photographer shot me, tall, blonde, wrapped in lavender blue fabrics.

These would become the album art.

These would become who I would be. Nordic, tall, blonde, slender, remote, unreachable, blue-eyed. I would dress and behave like that Blonde Goddess, keeping an air of mystery, flirting, never giving too much away.

And there are many more adventures with the Blonde Girl.

Suffice it to say, the tours happened and the record ran its course, somewhat successfully.

Who would think the next venture could be blown by a single haircut?

It happened innocently when a hairdresser friend suggested he would like to really cut my hair.

"You could have even more fans if you decided to go androgynous," he said. I do believe I was young and dumb enough to acquiesce, but maybe I was bored with Blonde Goddess.

I wanted to rock with the boys. I needed to mosh. I didn't give a shite about being pretty.

When Douglas Coates visited from London to discuss the next project, he saw me and was horrified.

"What did you do to your hair?" he exclaimed. He couldn't unsee who I had decided to become, and that was the end of it.

I soon fell for Kurt Cobain, and couldn't get enough of my Stratocaster. There would be other battles. But having voluptuously long blonde hair was the least of my concerns.

So much time spent, impressing the record company men, that I was f-able, which means "bank," that I would do what they wanted, that I was not a problem.

In reality, all I wanted to do was create, perform, continue, and, of course, survive.

At the end of the day, girls and boys, men and women who are musicians want that.

I still want to provoke. And I may pay the price for that.

But how far did Blonde Britney get? Not as far as Deborah Harry, obviously.

Sex and blonde will continue to play a role. I'll try it on, as long as I can change wigs every once in a while.

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