The blonde gene began in Europe as a rare mutation, but proved a key to female survival as the dangers of Ice Age hunting killed off more men.
"Such a [male-female] imbalance would have increased the pressures of sexual selection on early European women," writes Dr. Frost in the latest edition of Evolution and Human Behaviour, an international journal. "When an individual is faced with potential mates of equal value, it will tend to select the one that stands out from the crowd—[the one] that has the rarest colour morph."
One of the publication's editors predicts the article could raise an academic storm. "In most hunter-gatherer societies that have been studied in recent times there are unmated males, but there are never unmated females," said Martin Daly, an editor-in-chief at the journal's office in McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.
The article did get a lot of attention, and even sparked a revival of an old hoax about the World Health Organization and the coming extinction of the blonde, blue-eyed gene. The WHO has had to issue a denial, asserting: "[W]e have no opinion on the future existence of blondes."
The hoax, of course, is the expression of an unconscious wish that's rooted in the West's hostility toward blondes. But that's a relatively recent phenomenon in a generally pro-blonde cultural history. It was Archie comics that made the sexy brunette an object of risky desire for modern America, with the raven-haired Veronica regularly taking the steam out of Betty's wholesome alternative. And you'll recall that on Bewitched it was always some carnivorous exotic with dark brown hair who was trying to seduce Darwood. (I'm referring to the first few seasons, not the later decadent episodes wherein Elizabeth Montgomery herself played evil twin "Serena" in a dark wig.) What sold America on this notion of blondes as hot but contemptible objects? Ordinarily I'd blame The Jews, but maybe it's a reaction against the myth of Aryan superiority? Was Three's Company the turning point? Is Ann Coulter mixed up in this?
Why did Frost bother with all the research when he could have just watched When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, the ur-text of the blonde as an evolutionary inflection? See star Victoria Vetri (blonde) sleeping in a dino egg and (brunette) stretched out on a tigerskin rug.
Should 4 Non-Blondes reunite? Sign the petition here.
Video interview with an ailing Dick "Darwood 1" York, including a bumper by a not-yet-bald (though also not blond) Bill O'Reilly.
Hollywood starlets go dark for meatier parts. (Maybe that didn't come out right.)
If blondes have more fun, why do redheads pay the price?