Having red hair is like walking around with a giant flashing arrow over your head. It’s statistically unique, so people look. They comment. They get really weird.
What they don’t do is reflect on the fact that none of us natural redheads chose this attention-grabbing hair color, and it is no more strange to us than having fingers and toes. I mean, y’all are the ones who look goofy, what with your non-neon locks and healthy skin tones.
In the spirit of living up to my birth-assigned reputation as a dour Titian maiden, here is a list of things I — and many other gingers, I’m sure — would love to stop hearing from complete strangers.
1. You Look Just Like My Cousin/Friend/Ex-Wife
Nine times out of ten, we really, really don’t. We know this because in the age of cell phones people will often bring up a picture so we can see for ourselves.
What we’re thinking when you show us these unsolicited photos is: “Your cousin/friend/ex wife is cross-eyed and weighs 400 pounds. And has a harelip.” We no more resemble her than a plate of spaghetti topped with marinara sauce, which is also red and white.
But because most of us have manners — and souls, despite what you may have heard — we reply, “We could be twins.”
2. I Bet You Wish Your Kids Had Been Born Redheads
Obviously, this only applies to those of us gingers with non-ginger children, but it always gets my ire. For one thing, people usually say this in front of my kids, which is just a recipe for making them feel like crap because they have an unaltered version of the Melanocortin 1 receptor protein. I mean, geez.
Would a ginger brood have made for cute Christmas cards? I guess. But I’m just grateful to have two wonderful, relatively healthy children who can tan.
My response to this question is always, “They were both born with red hair.” (Because they were.) “But it changed into this beautiful blond color, which I think suits them perfectly. Don’t you agree?” Passive-aggressiveness for the win.
3. I Heard that All Redheads _______. Is That True?
I dunno. Do I look like a search engine to you? As for being able to withstand pain, I can very confidently say that is B.S., unless I happen to be the only redhead without this particular superpower. I gave birth to two kids and trust me, it hurt like a b-tch.
And if you launch into a tutorial about recessive and dominant genes, I will cut you.
4. Does the Carpet Match The…?
The ellipsis indicates you would never get to the end of this question because my foot would be implanted so swiftly and firmly in your rear you would be coughing up my shoelaces.
5. You Must Have a Temper!
6. It’s a Shame Redheaded Men Aren’t Attractive
Are you kidding me? For one thing, don’t assume I’m gonna respond in the affirmative just to maintain a level of camaraderie with someone who just dissed my tribe. Ginger4Life, people.
Furthermore, SERIOUSLY, ARE YOU KIDDING ME? There are scores of gorgeous redheaded men out there. Eric Stolz? Damian Lewis? Dale freaking EarnHOT Jr.? These men are stone-cold foxes, although I have no idea if they are impervious to pain.
7. Do Not Imply We Are Related to Satan
You would think this one would be obvious. Sadly, it’s not. From a shrill man in front of the Food Lion who called me his mistress, to a wild-eyed street preacher in Scotland who called me his daughter, I have many times been linked to this most fallen of angels.
This superstition is wildly unfair, as I don’t even like the guy. I would best describe my religious tendencies as Jedi, with an emphasis on the light side of the Force. So to be associated with someone who embodies all that is perverse and evil is really just the pits.
I am no one’s mistress, I am happily married. My father is a lawyer, which technically is as close you can get to being Satan without the requisite change of address, but still. Please, people. Give us a break.