Yesterday, I talked about the red hair fetish and how a lot of people find redheads, especially women, really sexy. When I posted this on Twitter, one of my lovely followers (Rolland of Militant Ginger) pointed me to his blog which chronicles his experience as a redhead. It’s a very different experience from mine. He allowed me to share a few excerpts with you here:
Two words that make my skin crawl, even today.
I’ve listened to them often enough. Without exaggeration, I can claim to have heard the roar of ‘Oi, Ginger’ at least once a day for the majority of my adult life.
Mostly it was from strangers in pubs, or while walking down the street after kicking out time. Occasionally it out of the blue – mid morning while waiting for a bus; a couple of builders might yell it out across the road before dissolving in smug sniggers.
Those two words were possibly the most defining of my life – manifesting themselves in an intense desire to leave the country that wouldn’t leave me alone.
Non-redheads often think I’m being ridiculous when I complain. They certainly did at school; teachers would pat me patronizingly on the arm and say: “Kids make fun of anything different. If it wasn’t your hair, it would be your glasses…”
Perhaps that’s true, but the difference is that it continued long after school ended. Fifteen years later, when I was striding across the car park in the three-piece suit, I’d still get an occasional chorus of ‘Oi, Ginger!’ from the lads on the scaffolding.
This wasn’t schoolyard stuff any longer. This was something different.
That is so sad to read, but the saddest part was definitely about how his gingerness manifested in his love life:
No Love for Ginger
But the worst was romance.
I’m a likable enough guy, so there was never any problem getting women intrigued. It was taking it to that next step that presented a problem.No self-respecting British girl wants to date a ‘ginger.’
My first girlfriend insisted we keep our relationship a secret from her friends – she couldn’t bear the embarrassment. When she described her new boyfriend to her parents on the phone, she claimed my hair was ‘auburn,’ or ‘chestnut’ or just about every euphemism imaginable except the truth: Ginger.
My second girlfriend presented me to her friends one evening and they, in turn, presented me with tributes: A bottle of ginger ale. A can of ginger beer. A packet of ginger nut biscuits. Fortunately, by that time, I’d developed a very convincing self-deprecating laugh.
Poor guy. I think part of our very different experiences have to do with the fact that I’m a woman, I’m a darker haired ginger (so not quite the stereotypical ginger in a lot of ways) and I’m in French Canada as opposed to England. I didn’t really get mocked as a kid for my hair and the looks I get about my hair now are more in a positive way than anything. Gingerphobia is more or less a non-issue here, but in England/the UK it seems to be a really big deal. There have even been reports of violence against redheads.
It’s all just ridiculous. Whether it’s racism, homophobia or gingerphobia, no one should be treated poorly because of the way they are. So go out and hug a ginger today! Oh, and make sure to visit Rolland’s insightful blog on the subject – Militant Ginger!