As usual, I write to you now from the cold dark of night. The sun, safely tucked away on the other side of the earth, waits patiently to mock me again tomorrow.
The sun is my enemy. I am a ginger.
Should this word offend me? It seems so derogatory. I believe it’s one of those words that society, as a whole, shouldn’t say. I can say it all I want, because I am one. But not you.
Maybe Gengro would be more appropriate?
To tell you the truth, that’s not even a word I was familiar with until about 5 years ago. I managed to live the first 35 years of my life, having never been called that.
Then this happened.
Thanks, South Park.
Yeah, that’s not offensive at all, Rojophobes.
But, I’m not writing this today as a victim. Nope. I just want to present some unbiased observations from a 40 year old redhead.
1. Its a conversation starter.
“Wow! Where’d you get the red hair? Does your dad have red hair? Your mom? The mailman? BAHAHAHAHA!”
Why is this exclusive to those of us with red hair? I can’t ever remember starting a business meeting, “OMG, where’d you get that sandy brown hair? Are you the only one? I bet you look golden bronze in the summer time! Blah, Blah, BLAH!”
One afternoon, I think it was about 1992. A friend and I went over to an apartment of this girl, whom he had taken a shine to. We’re in her living room, and he excuses himself to the restroom. And swear to God, here’s how the next 30 uncomfortable seconds went between myself, and said girl.
Her: Is it tough having red hair?
Me: It’s not too bad. I manage.
Her: I bet it’s hard for you to find a girlfriend huh?
Her: It’s just red hair and glasses just isn’t the usual combination a girl looks for.
Her: I mean, I’m not saying it’s bad. It’s just got to be hard huh?
My friend came back about that time. It’s 21 years later…I still don’t know how to respond to that. I don’t think I ever saw that girl again. I hope she married a man, tall, dark and handsome. And hopefully, his job got them transferred. To Ireland. And, maybe she had triplets. All with red hair.
One can dream.
2. Yes, we burn easily.
Neither of my parents have red hair, so forgive them for not understanding that sending a 3 year old to the pool with nothing but baby oil and a smile, quite possibly could lead to the emergency room. You could have at least removed my heart and giblets first and stuffed my neck cavity with Stove Top before you sent me out there. Thankfully, I have no memory of the doctor using sandpaper to tear away the blisters that ran the length of my back.
I do have memories of the blisters that covered my feet on a trip to Cancun at 17 years old. It seems the sunscreen doesn’t work when you leave your socks on while you apply, but take them off to go swimming.
3. You’re a minority, without the scholarship programs.
According to this article, redheads make up less than half of 1% of the world’s population. In fact, that article talks about how parents can use DNA testing to find out if they are in danger of having a child with, gasp, red hair!
There have been reports that sperm banks worldwide have rejected red haired donors. What’s next? Separate schools? Our own drinking fountains?
4. You learn to be thick skinned
Granted, its a pasty white skin covered in freckles, but it’s thick.
In elementary school, I think the go-to phrase was, “Carrot Top.” Seriously, I probably heard that an average of 38 times a day growing up. Usually, it would be from the same people. It’s as if they didn’t know I knew what color my hair was, or, they didn’t think I’d remember the last 932 times they said it. By the way, here’s a picture of a carrot.
As you can clearly see, the tops of the carrots, are green. I just blew your mind. Now, go make fun of all your green haired friends.
5. We are the white Wide Receiver of the Human Race
Have you ever watched an NFL game, and whenever a team has a receiver, who happens to be white, they immediately compare him to Wes Welker? Before that, Wes Welker was compared to Steve Largent. That’s because, all white wide receivers are the same.
The same is true for those of us with red hair. Chances are, if you meet me, and you’ve EVER seen or met someone else with red hair, in the course of our first, third, or ninth conversation, you will tell me that I’m the spitting image of that person. This also applies to any red head celebrity.
Here are two pictures of people I’ve been told I look like.
I know what you’re thinking,
“DUDE! YOU LOOK JUST LIKE THOSE GUYS!” or maybe,
“NO WAY! I THOUGHT THOSE GUYS WERE THE SAME PERSON!”
Look, I’m not saying my people have had a long history of suffering. We’ve never, to this point, been murdered or segregated because of the color of our hair. However, as the South Park clip above shows, we are open to whatever criticism you want to dish out. Seriously. It’s apparent that you are allowed to say anything you want, whenever and however.
Because, we all know how hilarious bigotry and intolerance is. Am I right?