5 Confessions of a Real Live Ginger


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?

Rojo American?

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?

Me: ……………………

Her: It’s just red hair and glasses just isn’t the usual combination a girl looks for. 

Me: …………………..

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.

Ginger Cadillac

Yes. This is actually me, circa, 1990

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.

Jake Busey

Courtney Gaines

I know what you’re thinking,



Shut up.

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?


13 thoughts on “5 Confessions of a Real Live Ginger

  1. Nancy Clark

    The first time I had heard the term “gingers” was in this: http://www.thatvideosite.com/v/3386

    I hate to tell you that I push this video on everyone I can. You might wonder, “Why?” Well, as you mentioned the topic in your post, I try to make everyone aware of the chances of a sunburn resulting in melanoma.

    My husband is white blond with fair skin and lots of freckles as a kid that turned into moles as an adult. As a child less than a year old, his parents took him for a 3 hour ride one hot summer day, and his face and shoulders were blistered when they got where they were going in their convertible. He was secured in his baby carrier; there were no car seats 55 years ago.(I didn’t imply they were smart. I have to wonder why they never thought an infant might get too much sun or air without some sort of protection.)

    Hopefully you will never have to worry about the “monster” coming back. We have made it a little over 11 years cancer free, but walking your older daughter down the aisle two days after having a plug 1 1/4 inch deep and the size of a quarter cut out leaving a 7 inch scar was terrifying in more ways than I can possibly explain.

    I hope you will consider this. If you can use that unusual red hair as a conversation starter that might somehow prevent someone from making a mistake that may threaten their lives years from now, please do.

    • Thanks for the response Nancy. Yes, I’ve been told for years that I’m susceptible to different skin diseases. I am keeping a close eye on it. I also appreciate your aggressive stance on the subject. That’s admirable.

  2. Ginger (yes, my real name!)

    I, too, have only recently heard the term “gingers”…I’m also 40, and of all things, my NAME is Ginger, AND I have red hair! (Although hormones of 2 pregnancies pretty much dulled it down). I married a 100% Italian; our first son has dark hair and olive skin….second one: red RED hair and pasty white like his momma. And people look at him (standing next to me) and ask “wow, where’d he get that red hair?!” Um…..duh!

    I just wanted to say I enjoy your posts. I started following you after the Moore tornado teacher thank you post you wrote. Perhaps you’ve inspired me to start my own blog (had to sign up to comment) to record some of the crazy things my boys do (ages 4 & 8).

    By the way – my little guy gets a swim shirt AND lots of sunscreen when in the sun 🙂

  3. My mom had red hair and I’ve been sad that neither of my girls inherited the beautiful mane, though Mac MAY have red hair any given day any given time.

  4. dee

    Bo, I love your blog and your Dad and I were completely stupid and incompetent parents, at 21 yrs old how was I supposed to know my child couldn’t be out in the sun for 4 hrs without protection? Live and learn huh? but I am sorry, and I do remember the sandpaper as if it was yesterday!!!
    I am the very proud mother of 2 red headed beautiful boys

  5. jsap26989

    “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.”

    Actually there has been a long history of us “Gingers” being murdered, victims of hate crimes, quote un quote segregated, etc. Dates back for centuries. We were even considered vampires, werewolves, or witches in some cultures.

    I’m beyond proud to be a Red head with freckles and to come from a line of them and to have a son born with that same beautiful head of hair. Most people don’t realize as well that in order to have a child with red hair both parents have to have the red hair gene. We are defiantly a minority but a proud one. Some kids at my son’s school had made try to feel bad about his freckles and he is not ashamed but proud and told them I’m sorry I help make up 1% of the world and why would I want to be like everyone else. Needless to say he has had no problems since.

  6. Can’t help it – this made me smile… not because I’m bigoted and intolerant, but because I’m a milkman! Well, I’m really not, but it sounds like maybe milkmen have a great… job. I have no claim to red hair, but pasty white and freckled fits me. Does that count?

  7. april mason

    Dear Bo, i totally enjoyed your blog!You are soo funny and a talented writer!! LOVED IT! LOVE FROM YOUR AUNT APRIL MASON(Donna’s sista)he! he!

  8. Rosaline

    Bo, Married a “ginger”. He was my high school love and the love of my life…even with his ‘red haired temper”. We have five children. My two oldest are ‘bleached ginger’ or ‘dirty ginger’. Three of the four nieces are ginger and three of the cousins (all husbands side) are ginger. We have a ginger cat and the two new puppies would be considered ‘ginger’ in the human world. Love my gingers. We buy sunscreen and sunglasses by the case. In our family the ‘darkies’ are the minority. I”m the odd mom out as is my sister in law. What I’ve noticed about ‘gingers’….their freckles give them a powerful shield to go into this world and fight negativity and narrow minds. They are determined to do things their way, will put up with a lot, but when you tick them off you had better run.

    • Ginger

      Rosaline, I’m a ginger (and also named Ginger!), and my 100% Italian husband and I have 2 boys, 8 & 4. Our older one has his dad’s features – dark brown hair & beautiful olive/super tanned skin, but with hazel eyes instead of chocolate brown. Our younger is a red-head (even more than I ever was), and he is pretty pale, although he does have a slight bit more of color to his skin than me. He, too, has hazel eyes, and his freckles are starting to develop. Your phrase “…but when you tick them off you had better run” TRULY applies to him — not only is he a red-head, but he is also 50% ITALIAN!! (and that has proven to be a hot mess of a mix when he gets mad!!)

      And, jsap26989, my husband is most definitely 100% Italian through and through…not sure I’ve ever seen a red-headed Italian, but our son is still a red-head. I’m not sure how (genetically) that happened, but it did! Rather than saying “it must have been the milkman” my husband, in true Italian style, always says it must have been the pizza guy….. (he thinks he so funny…!)

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