The Return of the Bleach Blonde Guy

Getty Images. Blonde isn't always betterJames Franco is doing what he does best: Getting people to talk about him. But this time, it's not for directing porn documentaries or lip syncing to Justin Bieber songs—it's for his hairdo. At the Thursday premiere of "Oz the Great and Powerful" Franco stepped out with a head full of blonde hair.

He's not the only male celeb to catch blonde fever. "Game of Thrones" actor Alfie Allen and Ethan Hawke pulled a Billy Idol and "The Bachelor" a reality show that boasts a long history of brown-haired leads featured a flaxen romeo named Sean this season.

Are blonde men suddenly in style?  

It hasn't always been that way. The gene for yellow hair evolved between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago to provide an biological edge in the dating game—for women. Having noticeable tresses helped set them apart from the pack so they could more easily catch the eye of a potential suitor and signified youth and fertility. According to scientists, men didn't experience the same type of pressure to find a mate, which may explain why it was less common for blonde guys to roam the earth.

Fast-forward to the 80s where pale males exploded onto the pop culture scene. They were villains (Think William Zabka as character Johnny Lawrence, the school bully in "The Karate Kid" and James Spader as Steff, the snobby jerk in "Pretty in Pink"). In the 90s they were heroes—Kevin Costner as the title role in "Robin Hood", Brad Pitt as Tristan Ludlow in "Legends of the Fall", and Fabio on the cover of anything. In the early 2000's, they whined on bended knee and ran their fingers through their frosted tips as boy band frontmen; see Nick Carter in The Backstreet Boys and Justin Timberlake in N'Sync.

But over recent years, bleached blonde men have inexplicably gone into hiding. On-air personality Ryan Seacrest, "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush, and "Extra" co-host Mark McGrath have all darkened their hair to a respectable shade of "Television journalist brown." And tween heartthrobs like Justin Bieber and Zac Efron have followed suit. Even men who are natural blondes like Mark Paul Gosselaar and James van der Beek went dark.

So why the comeback? It could be because the weather is warming and people tend to brighten their tresses in the spring and summer months. It could be an old-fashioned mid-life crisis. Or maybe blondes really do have more fun and guys are just figuring that out.

Whatever the reason, let's hope dudes can handle a good blonde joke.