Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Life as a Redhead.

Some of you will be shocked to realize that I have red hair. Yes, I know, you would have never guessed. But you would probably be surprised that I have more than a healthy share of red hair which is not only very thick and heavy but quite long.

As in the southern neighborhoods, where the butts live.

Now many people don't really have any appreciation of what being a redhead really means, so I thought today that I would talk about this.

Being a redhead means that:

People think it is completely okay to touch you without permission.....nothing worse than being in a store and having someone grab you by your hair is really scary, especially since my long hair is really adequate to controlling my range of movement. No really, people actually do this.

Apparently all the rules about discussion of color and race are out the window when you have red hair....and anyone can comment on your color and thereby race. It is not unusual for a homeless, drunk black man on the street to call me Red, but I am quite sure that if I called him Blackie that I would not be given the chance to explain between the blows about my head and shoulders of racial retribution. I have on occasion successfully used this technique in the past when an older gentleman with gray hair found himself called Whitey every time he dubbed me Red. After apparently much confusion over why I was doing this, I had to explain. The Red stopped immediately. My rule is that anyone that comes up with a color nickname I ain't heard can use it. Mostly I tell people in my best I-will-hurt-you voice, "Don't call me that." As neutral as I can, and immediate. Most people are set back by this, as if I should not be bothered by this. Riiiiggghhhttt!

Redheads are always a minority. Always. Even in a room full of Irish, Norwegian, Swedish, the number of redheads will be far exceeded by the blonds, brunettes and raven-haired. Try living that way for a day and see how you like it.

People dick with redheads. I swear that when I go out that people mess with me to see if I have a temper. Okay, yes I do, and you don't want to see it. Believe me. It's not pretty.

Men in particular think it's funny to ask me either if I am a real redhead, or "Is is true what they say about redheads?" (Yes of course it's true. All of it. Even the stuff that I have never heard at all.) but I don't tell them that. I get all wide-eyed and pretend that I have not a clue what they say about redheads. So the conversation goes something like this:

"Is it true what they say about redheads?"
-"I don't know, what do they say about redheads?"
"Well you know..."
-"No I don't know, what do they say?"
"I can't believe that you don't know. YOu have to know..."
-"Would you please tell me what they say. I would like to know." At this point, I usually have to wheedle a bit.

And right about here is where the man gets really flustered and changes the subject in a decidely unmasculine conversational maneuver, which is extremely satisfying, since there is nothing I love more than watching someone dig themselves in deeper and deeper and deeper. See they thought that they were being cute, but then they realized that they really should not be asking a stranger the following:

Are you good in bed?
Do you have freckles down there?
What color is down there?
Do you have a temper?
Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera. Not a one is a question for polite conversation.

Redheads never get away with anything. Ever. When redheads are kids, you get blamed for everything. The neighbors always say that it was the redhead, even when the blond or brunette was the one holding the baseball bat when the ball broke their window. But you see, they can't readily identify someone as the 'blonde' and have that be a unique identification, because all the kids on the block are blonds or brunettes. But 'the redhead' is uniquely identifying. So you take the blame. And when you are 16, the cops pull you over because you are different, and everyone knows that redheads are sinners, lawbreakers and hellions all (everyone knows that, but none so well as the Puritans and Baptists), so you must have been speeding, even though 15 cars passed you right in front of the cop.

After the 15th time of having someone comment on your haircolor during your 45 minute shopping trip, you feel like strangling someone. Now I am not ungrateful, but the constant statement of the obvious fact of the appeal, rarity, tone, hue, brightness and health of my hair gets a little tiresome. Could someone please tell me that I have beautiful eyes, or lovely skin, or they love my handknit sweater, please? You know. Something I have not heard. Don't get me wrong, I realize that someone commenting has only just seen it, but that was the 13th time today. For those women in the audience, think about the days when you were hugely pregnant and everyone was telling you how big you were. You know, because you were not looking in the mirror or taking your chances with your clothes every morning. Okay now, consider getting that every day for the rest of your life. There ya go!

People always ask redheads where their hair comes from. Okay, this is easy. Once and for all, redhair comes from the same place that everyone else's comes from. They're called hair follicles. If that answer is insufficient, here are the other answers: the hair salon, DNA, my father, my mother, my sister's grandmother, Granny Mabel three greats back, the red markers in my colored pen set, you name it. Let's be honest, it's kind of a stupid question.

Let's go back to the whole name thing.....I mean come on. Red is kind of obvious, but carrottops are green not red, ginger is white with either bright red or white flowers, an ex-lover once called me Cadmium as in cadmium red which was kind of cool. But let's be honest, my parents gave me a name that works just fine, and it is probably the best way to get my attention, since I cannot guarantee that the response that you receive with those other monikers will be entirely...erm.....satisfactory.

The whole clothing and makeup thing. Honestly, there are people in the world that don't wear brown, brown-black or black mascara, eyeliner, or brow pencils. I have no visible eyebrows and using one of those colors in brow pencil makes me look like a Western extra, you know warpaint!
Neither can I or do I desire to wear bright red, beige, camel, burgundy, eggplant etc. Could we have some REAL clothing choices please?

So the next time you tell your salon to make it Red. Consider carefully what you are in for. Red hair is not for the weak of heart. Only the Bold can wear Red.


Kim said...

LOL...loved this post. I was a red head for a while. I loved my read hair but the grey overpowered it and I was spending too much time and $$ at the salon :-(

I did get a lot of the stupid questions you mentioned along with the famous "do drapes match the rug"?

AuntyNin said...

Very well said! It's amazing how thoughtless people can be when speaking to strangers.