If you know me, you know that while at first glance I appear to be a stereotypical blonde (FYI, “blonde” is spelled with an “e” on the end when the subject is female – leave the “e” off if referring to a dude), you know that inside, I am anything but. Yes, I am small. Sometimes I wear pink. I am very blonde. I love playing dress up. I love smiling and laughing even more than playing dress up. I derive great pleasure from acting ditzy and silly. Not because I don’t like appearing intelligent, but because I think acting that way is hilarious and fun. I am secure enough in my intelligence to love the fact that I am constantly underestimated because of my hair color and demeanor and size.
Now, if you don’t know me you’d assume that I’m just another dumb blonde.
And more often than not, I am totally fine with that. Yeah, yeah, I see feminists everywhere shaking as though going through withdrawls and saying things like “This is what women generations before us fought for?” – but rest assured I am not one to ignore our cause – Women’s Studies was my minor in college. I do consider myself a feminist, though I hate the stigma that goes along with that word. But I digress…my point: Go ahead, underestimate me. I’ll snake you and hustle you and leave you wondering what the hell happened. And I’ll smile while I do it, because you thought so less of me to begin with that you’re practically begging to be hustled.
What was my point?
So, I am young and blonde and I have big white teeth and I live in the City of Angels – where anyone young and blonde with big white teeth must be an actress. Or a model. Or _________. It is commonplace here for people to assume that I am an actress – that I must be dimwitted and ego driven and narcisstic. So when people ask me “What do you do here?” or “Are you an actress?” there is nothing that pleases me more than uttering one simple syllable: NO. I love watching them be taken slightly aback. Trust me on this one; it’s the same look I’d see on faces when I would tell people that I was an English Teacher. A high school English Teacher. In an inner-city. Where they called me Barbie (affectionately, of course). It is a look of confusion mixed with slight surprise. Eyebrows raised, mouth turning slightly downward ( bonus points for me if you just tried making that face). I know it well. I’ve been seeing that look my whole life. So now, when I say “No, actually, I’m a writer,” I still get to enjoy the same look and watch as they try and recover from their assumption. They smile suddenly, and start asking me more questions, intrigued by what a small blonde must be doing in a big city if she’s not pursing something having to do with making money off of her looks.
I remember a pair that came into the restaraunt I serve tables at. They asked me (like most do) what I do here (because no way does anyone just serve tables here – another assumption), and when I told them, their faces lit up and they suddenly became very interested in my life. I talked to them, not with expectiation, but because they were amazing, kind people. At the end of their meal, they thanked me profusely, told me good luck on everything I do, and shook my hand. I left them with a smile on my face, and went to tend to other customers. A co-worker came up to me with the check in his hand from said table, and said, “Nicely done, Ash.” Not understanding, I looked down confused, only to realized they’d left me a $100 tip. Their check totaled $90.
It wasn’t the money that I was so touched by, though it did help more than they knew. It was their kind gesture and breaking a stereotype. I had tears in my eyes as I caught them before they got into their car to say “thank you” one more time.
So go ahead, underestimate me. You may think you’re doing me a disservice and insulting my intelligence, but to me, you’re showing your sloppy poker hand – and I’m hiding my Royal Flush.