What do you get when you cross a brown-headed man whose beard grows out red with a lovely lady who has auburn highlights in her hair? ME!!
For as long as I can remember, my hair has defined me. It has led to nicknames, name-calling, hurt feelings, and compliments. All because of the color.
Calling Me Names
First of all- I am not a step-child. (Not there is anything wrong with that.)
Words have power. Here are some that have been spoken over me in my lifetime:
“Oh my goodness!! Her hair is ORANGE!!”~ My Granny Sarah upon seeing me in the hospital nursery. Mind you, my dad had told her that I was a redhead, but she had imagined the strawberry-blonde color that many newborns possess before their hair gets lighter or darker over the first year of life.
“I would rather be dead than red on the head.“~ A local baseball coach who taught the “young marrieds” Sunday School class I attended at the first church Andy served ON the first Sunday I attended. Thanks a lot for sharing the love of Jesus, dude.
“Albino.”~ A rather insecure boy who was one year older than me at VBS one summer when he saw my lily white, yet freckled legs in shorts that summer. (Insert emoji with tongue sticking out).
“Hey Little Red, I like your moon tan.“~ Inebriated man on the beach in Destin as my family and I walked by minding our own business.
“I love your hair.” or “Your hair is beautiful.” ~ Many kind people over the years. I do try to answer that with “Thank you. I had nothing to do with it. God did it!”.
“Red.” ~ my dad and grandather
“You are my favorite redhead.” ~ Andy Murry
Now when I was growing up, the term “Ginger” was not in use. I was just a redhead or a “carrot top”. I was in the minority, so I stood out. This was a good thing and a bad thing. People noticed me. However, the eyes of teachers readily found me in the class because the color of my head. I ALWAYS felt like the teacher was looking at me more than the other students.
Andy will often comment that other women stare at me/my hair as I walk by them in public places. I don’t really notice it because I think most women check out other women and try to size them up. However, he says that it happens way too often and thinks it is because of the color of my mane.
Ron Weasley ushered in the “Ginger Era”, I believe. I don’t recall hearing that term until we saw all those redheaded Weasley kids in the Harry Potter movies. Now, from what I have read, “Ginger” means “an unattractive redhead” and “one with no soul”. No thanks- who would wanna be called that? However, I have also seen more positive uses of the word, too. “Ginger Awareness” and “Hug a Ginger” days are a little nicer.
I have always felt a bond with those who were of the same coloring as I am. Some of my favorite redheads of all time have left an impact. There were lovely adult ladies who taught me in school like Susan G. or in church like Judy R. I had redheaded friends in high school like Anna Kathryn and Angie. In college, I met Melinda. Lisa was my redheaded friend in Mississippi. Katie and Abbie, who were little ladies at the time, stole pieces of my heart. In Alabama, Mary Grace, Abbie, Jane, Courtney , Julie, Jennifer, and Callie were some of my favorites.
Come to think of it, I haven’t met many redheads here in Kansas! Where are my people?
Of course, one of my favorite reds of all time is Anne of Green Gables. You know it.
Of course, Ariel is my favorite Disney princess. I believe that she was the first redheaded heroine. All previous Disney redheads (besides Peter Pan) were VILLAINS! Seriously??
Now, my hair looks more like Merida’s:
Big, bushy, and outta control. Curly hair deserves its own blog post.
I have been told I look like Bette Midler or Cyndi Lauper. Never Nicole Kidman- dang it. It has often been suggested that I be Pippi Longstocking at Halloween. When I was in 5th and 6th grade choir, I wore a red, curly wig and a red dress and stood out in front of the group while moving my arms in wide sweeping motions as we all sang, “Tomorrow”.
One of my redheaded friends in elementary/high school was Anna Kathryn. She was once asked by a lady if she used Clairol, after the woman commented on her beautiful hair. AK did use some Clairol shampoo, so she replied that she did. The lady then asked her what “number” she was. Honey, that color doesn’t come from a bottle.
Growing up, Greg and I had an Irish Setter named Colonel. When you put my hair next to his fur, we matched.
(Insert shameless cute dog pics.)
Yes, we are technically mutants. The GINGER STRUGGLE is real. But, we are very interesting:
**Compared to brunettes or blondes, REDHEADS have less hair. On an average, brunettes have 140,000 strands of hair, blondes have 110,000, and redheads have about 90,000. However, a strand of natural red hair is much thicker than any other shade. **Andy often complains about how my hair strands get suck in his sweaters/clothes in the washing machine. They are hard to break. I am certain that there are birds’ nests all throughout the southeast that are made up of strands of my hair because it is so durable.
**Red hair never turns gray! It simply fades with age from red to blonde to silvery white. HMMM.
**According to some studies, REDHEADS are often more sensitive to hot and cold pain. In surgeries too, it’s been suggested that some redheads require 20 percent more anesthesia than the average patient. GIVE ME THE DRUGS!!
**Redheads were considered vampires by the ancient Greeks. Between 1483 and 1784, it’s been suggested that up to 45,000 women with natural red hair were killed for alleged witchcraft in Europe. DANG!
**Less than 2 percent of the world’s population — which comes to around 140 million people — are redheads. With 13 percent, Scotland has the highest percentage of natural redheads, followed by Ireland (10 percent). (I really do hope to visit Scotland and Ireland one day and walk around with people who look like me- my people.)
**Reportedly, Adolf Hitler was against the marriage of redheads because he wanted to prevent ‘deviant offspring.’ WHAT A NAZI! (Well, Roger the Redhead, a friend from college, and I always joked that we could never get married because our kids would NEVER have a chance at getting a tan. I get it).
**Aristotle himself is reported as once saying “The reddish are of bad character.” HE NEVER MET MY REDHEADED FRIENDS!
GET YOURSELF ONE
Do you have a redhead in your life? YOU DO? Good for you! Everyone needs a redhead to love.
YOU DON’T? Better go out and find one. Really. They can change your life.
*I am cracking up that some of my non-red friends have birthed red-headed babies. They don’t quite know what to think about it. We are a mixed bag, I tell ya’. Bet they wouldn’t trade those babies in for anything, though.
I think it is a myth that redheads have a quick, fiery temper. Then again, I think my Granny and Grandaddy were laughing at how mad I got for no good reason…
Every day is HUG A REDHEAD Day as far as I am concerned. Hug me when you see me.