Saturday, May 15, 2010

Do Blonds Have More Fun?

A blond jogged past us on the beach yesterday. It occurred to me that she had Swedish good looks, a thought that also went through my husband's mind apparently.

“How come one tribe produced so many beautiful people?” Sven said once the jogger was out of earshot. I was about to answer, when he continued, “Or, you could turn it around and ask how come what we consider beautiful corresponds to these people?

“Could it have something to do with Hollywood?” I asked. “Somehow Swedish beauty became an ideal, promulgated by the movie industry? Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman.”

I was about to mention Tiger Woods' wife Elin and the trio of blond beauties who started the Swedish fashion house Dagmar, step-daughters of my husband’s best friend, when Sven interrupted, “No, no. Started long before that. Remember, when we visited Alhambra? They were chasing beautiful blonds and would pay any price.”

“You mean, for the harem?


Not all Swedes are blond, but somehow the fresh-faced, long-waisted women of Stockholm, with their sleek shiny hair, long legs and arms, and prominent teeth became the dream of men all over the world. Walk through Stureplan in the evening and that's all you see. When I moved to France, I remember overhearing male conversations about travel to Stockholm to take in all this beauty. When Sven led Lycée International class trips up north, the boys, raised in France, were often stunned by the Swedish girls. On the other hand, my step-sons, visiting Paris, exclaimed over the stylish Frenchwomen, on the Champs Elysées, and their way of moving.

Sven pointed out that the blond women at Alhambra often were born in Russia. Blond women looked exotic to dark-haired southern Europeans.

I responded that many of the Russian beauties of the 12th century were descended from the Vikings, who ruled the country at the time and came from the area right above Stockholm.

“The oldest tattooed man lived around 1000 BC," Sven countered. "He was Mongolian. His wife was a typical European, blond and tall. So, this must have been a tradition thousands of years old …”

Fascinating! I’m curious why the Swedish look became Hollywood’s ideal. Any ideas?