Blonde Like Me
The hair dye was courtesy of a friend who was working as a product manager for Clairol at the time. He had come up in the world, having recently left Ty-D-Bol and Cincinnati. "The women will love you," he said.
Back then the hotels had floor attendants, women who were stationed on every floor of every tourist hotel. Obviously they were there to keep tabs on the guests, to make sure Soviet citizens didn't come up to the rooms, and perhaps to make sure that only approved prostitutes gained entry. My floor attendant in Moscow was a chubby woman of indeterminate age with thinning, dreadfully bleached blonde hair. The first night in the hotel I unpacked my bags and brought a package of Clairol hair color to the lady at her station.
"A gift," I said. "For you."
She looked at the box. "Blonde!" she exclaimed gleefully. "Like me!"