The Dangerous Blond Girl.
Real love starts always inside.
Ramiro was a very friendly man in his early 30’s, intelligent and open-minded, but he had a kind of mental obsession since he had once seen a very beautiful, blond top model in a magazine, and decided it was the kind of woman he wanted. Nothing could change his mind.
He had a group of friends in his job with which he used to go out at night, just to have a couple of beers and chat. There were girls as well in this group. One of them, Paca, was in love with Ramiro, but she knew he had a fixed idea about blond women and couldn’t see anything beyond that, so she was only but a good friend to him, because of her dark hair.
Paca was not the kind of woman who, when she likes a man, starts throwing hints or suggestions to go out together. No, she was a girl with dignity, who let things mature on their own, and if they came . . . great; and if not, she accepted the situation with very good humor. She had not noticed Ramiro on a whim, let alone to improve her economic or social situation.
Ramiro and Paca had met about a year ago, when they got to know in the same company where they now work in their profession. Without knowing each other, they had graduated the same year, although in different university institutions. After finishing her degree in Hispanic Philology at the Universidad Complutense (Madrid, Spain), Paca found a job as a Translator in a company in Bristol, England, where she could do an internship and get good training, while she was looking for a university degree that would guarantee her knowledge of the English language. Thus, she stayed in the English city for three years, until she considered that she had already acquired the experience she wanted in oral and written translation, and also had a diploma from the University of Cambridge in her hands. She was ready to return home and look for a job in her city and country.
On his part, Ramiro, after graduating as a Computer Engineer from the Institute of Technology with excellent grades, had obtained a two-year scholarship to work and study in a private organization in Boston, USA. His stay in this city was professionally excellent He returned home one year before Paca, and after a careful search had found a good position in a company dedicated to management software. He was very happy and had good friends, and on a given day, he met Paca, the Philologist in charge of translating into Spanish all that was needed, and assisting the Director in everything related to business relations with foreign countries.
In Europe, as in all the Northern hemisphere, students take holidays in the summer, once high schools and universities finish, and so do people already working in their professions who are not students anymore, but still in an age considered young. In this situation, buying a cheap train ticket to cross the continent in one direction is quite easy. The reason why I said “young people”, is because, to take real advantage of a train pass like this, sleeping on the train many nights is inevitable, and only a person can enjoy these feats at a young age.
I know the situation from experience. I have crossed the European continent in all possible directions, and therefore I know very well what it means to sleep in trains. Now I wouldn’t do it as I need two days to get recovered.
The group of friends to which Ramiro and Paca belonged to decided to travel from Madrid, Spain, to Moscow, Russia. However, not everyone could go. Paca was one of them due to financial responsibilities: she and her brother were helping their parents to pay for a condominium in Benicasim, a city on the Mediterranean Coast. Certainly, she would have wanted to go to Russia and know several capitals cities in West and East Europe with her friends, but summer at the beach would also be something really wonderful, as all the coastal cities would be full of national and foreign people, tourists on holidays and residents, and therefore, swarming with a very happy, worried-free, summer-like atmosphere.
Paca was enjoying her 15-day vacation with other friends, acquaintances, neighbors, and newcomers. One morning, while drinking a coffee in the balcony of her home, overlooking the sea, she was going through some women magazines, paying attention to the new hairstyles, because she wanted and needed a very short haircut — her long hair was wet with salty water from the long hours at the beach and she did not want it to get damaged.
When turning a page, Paca saw a blond model with a very nice, short hairstyle. A thought flashed through her mind, but she said to herself: “No, no. You are crazy”. But the thought was recurrent all day, and in the evening she couldn’t stand it anymore and made a decision. Afterward, she couldn’t wait till the next day to go to the hairdresser.
She got up earlier than usual, had some breakfast, . . . It was only 8:30 am, and the beauty parlors open at 10:00, . . . “What’s the matter with the time today?”-she thought, looking at the living-room clock. “Is the time slower, or can I not control my anxiety?”.
She left home and arrived at the beauty parlor door 15 minutes before 10:00 am, watching and sauntering around to be calm. The lady owner was already inside checking that everything was in order to start a new business day, so she welcomed Paca to go inside to be the first customer.
Some minutes later, the hairdresser asked Paca what service she wanted. Paca unfolded the magazine page with the blond model she had taken with her, and shyly said: “Hum, . . . I would like to have my hair just like this, please”. Her voice quivered: “The same color and the same style, please”.
Surprised, the hairstylist asked: “Are you sure? It will take altogether about 1 hour and a half, maybe even longer, as I need to cut your hair, next bleach it, then tint it blond, and finally blowing it dry with some style”.
“Yes, yes. I know. You can start whenever . . .” -Paca replied, breathing deeply.
It was past noon, when Paca left the beauty parlor as a blond woman, probably not the model in the magazine, but looking quite pretty. She had very fine features, and dressed in very simple clothes, but with good taste. Family, relatives, and friends, they all had something to say about her new look.
Paca went back to Madrid before her friends arrived from Russia, as her family could only use the condominium for 15 days and rent it later as a business. She got familiarized with her new look in the mirror every morning, and realized men in the street looked at her with good eyes.
She was happy with her new look.
Her friends arrived at Madrid just on time to go to bed and sleep deeply, to start working the next day. They all worked in the same company, but not in the same area or department, so nobody even thought to call anybody to go out. They were very tired, which is normal after those trips -it usually takes 2 days to get back into the normal rhythm.
Eventually, a date to go out at night was agreed upon. When they saw Paca, for some it was a shock, for others a crazy decision, but everybody was surprised at Paca’s change. There were all kinds of opinions and ideas, from how nice or strange she looked to how crazy she was. Some practical ladies even spoke about the difficult task of having to dye the hair every 3 or 4 weeks — and the money it would cost her. Ramiro didn’t say a word; he only looked at her in disbelief. It was obvious he was seeing a new person.
Very soon the surprise and the hair subject passed, and they started talking about the trip to Russia and the marvelous things they had seen. The itinerary was Madrid-Paris-Cologne-Berlin-Poznan-Warsaw-Moscow . . . and back.
They had stayed 2 days in Paris; only 1 in Cologne, Germany, to spend the night and see the astonishing gothic Cathedral; then 5 days in Berlin, admiring the Brandenburg Gate, the symbol of Germany’s reunification, and the reminders of the city’s turbulent 20th-century History, especially the Wall’s graffitied remains, among others; 1 day in Poznan, Poland, to see the place where Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Stalin signed the Peace Treaties after the II World War; 3 days in Warsaw, Poland’s capital, to enjoy Fryderyk Chopin Museum, plus Gothic churches, neoclassical palaces, Soviet-era gray buildings, and modern skyscrapers. After Warsaw and one-night train trip, they eventually arrived in Moscow, where they stayed for 10 days, enjoying its architecture, museums, art, opera, ballet, nice people, beautiful churches, culture and more culture, books, History, and a wonderful boat trip alongside the Moskva River.
With the same travel plan for the way back — it is not possible to change it without paying a fee — , they only had 8 days left to get home, which meant taking some night trains just to be lucky and enjoy a full extra day in Paris to visit Montmartre, before doing the last phase of the trip all the way South until Madrid -746 miles.
The ones who had not gone to Russia spoke about their holidays in different places in Spain, mostly in beach summer cities or towns; or, for those who didn’t like the Mediterranean heat, in very cool mountain resorts.
From that moment onwards, Ramiro became gradually friendlier with Paca, asking her to go out with him to different locations and praising her new look.
It was then when Paca began thinking that attracting a man only by an image was dangerous. She thought: “The outside is ephemeral, my hair will change with time and so will my body, my mind, my psyche, and everything inside me. He has to see me as a human being, as I really am, with virtues and flaws, not only my hair color or clothes. Whether blond or brunette, I am not a model in a magazine. I want to talk to him in a near future, and make clear that I want to be loved for what I am. Maybe he is very frivolous and immature, unable to see anything else in a woman other than her looks. Hum, . . . Should that be the case, I will be really disappointed and will stop my relation with him”.
It was near Christmas when that moment arrived.
A Saturday night, Ramiro invited Paca for dinner in a restaurant where they had been many times before with their friends and they loved its shellfish dishes. During dinner, he became very serious and asked her to be his girlfriend. Paca smiled, but started talking to him about the reason why she thought they became closer in the first place. . . , only because she turned into a blond girl. She reminded him that he never spoke too much or pay attention to her when she was brown-haired, and it could be a sign of triviality or superficial thinking inside himself, having a girlfriend (and maybe eventually marrying her) only because of her hair color.
Ramiro was astonished by the lecture.
“Do you know who I “really” am?” -she questioned. “I am much more than a blond woman and you only saw me when I radically changed my look. I want to be sure of your feelings, of your love for me, regardless of my hair color, . . . that in due course will turn . . . white!”
Ramiro felt a little ashamed but understood Paca’s reasoning, or he tried to. He promised to pay more attention to the important things in a human being, so they could have a lot of communication to know each other very well and develop a really deep relationship.
The situation was not always like this. They had their ups and downs and eventually, a year later, in the summer to be more precise, they split up. He traveled to Scandinavia with his friends, and Paca went to Benicasin again with her family and other people, only this time, before leaving Madrid, she went to a beauty parlor to have a hair cut and re-take her brunette style once more.
Paca had wonderful holidays, met a lot of new friends, and even dated a Norwegian tourist, Thor, who wished to go and stay some days in Madrid after Benicasim, so as to have an outstanding insight of the famous splendid cultural places the capital city has. Paca was an excellent friend and guide for Thor and really enjoyed those days with him, before saying good-bye at the city airport, when he caught his airplane back home.
Before the group from Scandinavia arrived, Paca had enough time to think about her failed relationship with Ramiro, realizing that if it weren’t for his immaturity, they had every chance of being a good couple, since both were university professionals and came from families with fairly similar moral bases. If she had noticed him, Paca thought, it was because Ramiro had great virtues and authentic ethical values, except, unfortunately, his fixation on blond women, and the image of a man of the world that he believed that gave.
“Well …, Paca kept thinking, let him continue on that trail and he will surely regret it one day, since he can meet a very attractive woman -let’s say, blonde- but with no brains and who will make his life bitter. It is his decision! I will take another path”.
When Ramiro’s and Paca’s group gathered in a restaurant, her unexpected change of hair color took them by surprise again, but after some minutes they started speaking about the long journey to Scandinavia.
This trip had begun with the same itinerary: Madrid, Paris, Cologne and, from there, they headed North . . . to Hamburg, Germany, a huge port city in the Elbe River and the gateway to the Northern countries. After some days in Copenhagen and then in Stockholm, they went to Oslo, and started, little by little, heading up to North Cape, the spot where the European Continent finishes and the site where it is possible to see one of the most beautiful things in this world -the midnight sun running horizontally in the skyline. This means they enjoyed 24 hours of sun light, because they were almost in the crowning point of the planet !
After reaching the northernmost point of their trip, they went back South in the same way, though different stops, staying 2 more days in Stockholm, the most populous urban area in the Nordic countries, and a jewel of urban hydraulic engineering.
For couples, a good break is often a very healthy medicine to think about their true feelings. During the autumn months, Ramiro was a very good friend to Paca, asking her to go with him to diverse social gatherings, including his family celebrations. Near Christmas, again, he told her: “I would really like you to be my girlfriend again. I must admit your hair color is not important. I just miss your lovely character, your intelligence, your very clear ideas, and your self-respect”.
She was surprised. Was this true? What had happened? Had Ramiro overcome his fixation or compulsion for blond women? Had he realized LOVE has to see inside first?
Paca wanted to be sure of his feelings, so they gave each other a time to go on and see how things adjusted. This time Ramiro really showed he was in love with Paca, as their conversations changed drastically. No more frivolous comments about looks; rather, they now focused more on their characters, good and bad aspects, traits, what could cause friction between them, and how to cope with their differences in the effort of trying to be happy.
Now Paca began to see the man she had sensed. Ramiro belonged to a home where there was love and respect between his parents, and whose children -an older sister and Ramiro- had been raised with a lot of devotion, but with a sense of responsibility and inclination to personal effort and work well done, virtues that Paca saw from the beginning. She also had a family based on affection and respect among its members. Paca was horrified by the possibility of having a couple with a dysfunctional home, full of problems, tensions and resentments. That’s why she had fallen in love with Ramiro, because she considered him a good person, and it was a very unpleasant surprise, the obsession for the exterior appearance that he manifested.
Once Paca was sure about his and her feelings, she went to a hairdresser and became again the attractive blond young lady Ramiro wanted, but this time not for the same reason she did it the first time. Now that Ramiro didn’t mind her hair color, she wanted to be a blond woman just to please him, the same attitude he had when being very gentle to her. After all, LOVE is kindness.
The following year, they married at the very beginning of July at a small wedding with only their closest relatives, and flew to Moscow, Russia, to have 15 days of honeymoon. They remained in this big, beautiful city for a week. From there, they went to Saint Petersburg by train and stayed another week to enjoy the white nights of this marvelous metropolis by the Neva River banks, seeing bridges open in half to allow ships to pass from and to the Baltic Sea, and many other wonders in culture and History. After going back to Moscow, finally they flew to Madrid.
The rest of their holiday was in Benicasim to enjoy the blue, warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
During this time at the beach, Paca sometimes thought, seated in the balcony of her family apartment, overlooking the sea, that if it had not been for her clear ideas about LOVE, her relationship with Ramiro wouldn’t have survived long, and they wouldn’t be so happy now.
Life is evolution, unfolding, easy and difficult moments, learning and patience, and nobody knows the future, but at least they now had a good base to walk forward.