Blond?

Posted by – September 28, 2006

I’m currently going over the copyedits of my next book, where the astute copyeditor tells me in her notes that “blonde” is only used for female people, but that the “regular” form is “blond.” Likewise with brunette/brunet.

I had no idea.

I asked Betty if she found the spelling blond and brunet odd, too, and she did as well, which leaves me with only one conclusion: we just don’t refer to men as their hair color. Double standard, anyone?

3 Comments on Blond?

  1. Marlena Dahlstrom says:

    I’m familar with “blond” — both being one, and using it in crime suspect descriptions back when I was a journalist. For whatever reason, “brunette/brunet” was never used — it was always that the suspect had “brown (or black) hair” (both in the police-provided description and that used by the newspaper).

    In popular usage, both male and female blonds are referred to by hair color (although with men it’s usually an adjective, i.e. “that blond guy” whereas with women it can be (but not necessarily) used in a stand-alone manner, i.e. “a dumb blonde.”) Likewise, redheads are often referred by hair color, in a similar manner as blonds. Although redheaded men often do get nicknamed “Red,” which I don’t think happens much with women. It’s rare, but men do sometimes get nicknamed “Blondie” — as was Clint Eastwood’s character in the Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns. And in the Aubrey/Maturin novels, Captain Aubrey is nicknamed Goldilocks for his long, blond hair.

    It’s only “brunette” that is gender-exclusive in my experience, since it’s used pretty exclusively to refer to women, and usually as a stand-alone term. I can’t recall when I’ve ever heard a man referred to that way, even as adjective. It’s usually “brown-haired” or “black-haired.”

  2. Jude says:

    Methinks the relevant hair parameters for men are a more succinct [ ] Yes or [ ] No.

    With perhaps some minor clarification in terms of being a long haired hippy freak, or not.

  3. m says:

    total double standard!
    i knew about the blonde/blond distinction but not the brunette/brunet spelling.

    ps…men do get categorized by their hair sometimes but is not color but how much does he have!?

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