According to scientists, I am a mutant. However the only super power this mutation gives is the ability to be teased by non-mutants for the colour of my hair. My hair is red. Not fire engine red, or even red at all. It’s orange, but orange hair is known as red hair for whatever reason.
I’m not a typical Ginger. I bet all Gingers say that. I was told that my hair was pink fuzz when I was baby which embarrassed my mother. No idea what my raven-haired father thought about it. He did at some point suggest I wasn’t his, but I look exactly like him so screw that theory. My parents had many delusional concepts about their genetic ancestry, I didn’t inherit those, however I did inherit the genes which cause red hair, and those have to come from both parents to cause the mutant hue.
Over the years my hair has grown darker. Nowadays it is Auburn. Which is a relief, not because I’ve ever been ashamed of my hair, but because of the attention the brighter shades attract. Being shy and having a shocking shade of hair really do not go well together.
When I was very small my parents went to Japan and took me with them. It was before the wild fashion trends took hold. I don’t recall very much about the trip, but I do have this vivid memory of hiding and being angry a lot because the locals kept taking pictures of me. I was considered lucky. The sort of lucky which needs to be captured. They also thought I was a boy because my mother kept my hair very short due to the pink thing. It wasn’t pink by that time, it was Ginger, but she thought that change was due to her constantly cutting it, so she continued doing it like a ritual just in case it reverted. My parents and their Japanese friends did not tell the luck catchers that I wasn’t a boy, they also did not stop them from taking pictures. I felt like a traveling tourist attraction, a one child freak show. These days I suppose I would have felt like a celebrity hounded by paparazzi.
Gingers get the sort of attention which is considered dubious. I recently read an article which suggested adding colour of hair to the national census, just to figure out where all the redheads live. It was for questionable scientific purposes, but it sounded a bit like we were being tagged, perhaps to be rounded up at a later date. Catherine Tate did a very funny sketch about Ginger Phobia.
Ginger hair safe house – Catherine Tate – BBC
Compared to other Gingers, not many people have bothered me about my hair colour. I had a very good friend whose hair was much more copper than mine and she put up with more awkward questions and teasing than I did. I suppose partly that’s because I mastered a ‘look that could kill’ very early in my life. Bullies and other pains in the ass have always tended to give me a wide berth. Although I have sometimes sought them out, especially if they were bothering a friend of mine.
I have been asked if the carpet matches my curtains. Those people wished they’d never asked that sort of a question of a fiery redhead.
I’ve been told that I would have been burned at the stake for being a witch and the spawn of the devil, by my history teacher who was also a Ginger.
I have been followed on Twitter just because my avi showed my hair colour. Which is why I now use a black and white pic. Although it does show my freckles, but people don’t react to freckles the way that they do to red hair. Once a man spent about half an hour staring at me, then finally approached just to tell me that a woman without freckles is like a night sky without stars.
I’ve been blonde, brunette, and black haired. Those were short lived experiments. Hair grows quickly and keeping up appearances which are not natural to you takes a lot of dedicated and repetitive effort. My patience is limited. And ultimately my hair colour suits me, even if it has in the past made me very uncomfortable to be so physically noticeable. I’ve grown into it.
In nature colour is often used as a warning, especially bright colours such as red. The colour red often warns of poison or some other potentially lethal danger. Some creatures who are not dangerous or poisonous to other creatures use red as a mimicked protective device.
I quite like that take on having red hair. As a warning to others. Not sure if it applies to all redheads, but I only need it to apply to this one. It’s just a pity that so many people have lost touch with nature’s language and seem oblivious to obvious warnings.
I’m very docile until poked, then my hair turns to flames and the poker gets singed. My hair colour did warn you, but you thought it was an invitation to say something you’re now regretting and blaming me for your own stupidity. Did you not read up on the stereotype before you decided to mess with a Ginger!
So after many years of not liking my colour, my hue, I am now very glad that I’m orange.