It’s time to say goodbye and goodbyes are never easy. She lived her life hounded for years by a bunch of drunken scoundrels shouting, “We wants the redhead!” Where other women would shrink back in fear, she saw opportunity and was ready to meet the challenge. She was confident, even brazen, never a victim. She was my hero.
Though human trafficking has always existed, it has become a more prominent issue recently, and I suppose I do understand the need for a change. But, still, I will miss hearing those pirates proclaiming those wonderful words, “We wants the redhead” because, honestly, who really ‘wants the redhead’?
For all of my almost 58 years of life, I have been the beneficiary of MC1R, the notorious redhead gene. Though there is something kind of cool about being a part of only 2% of the worldwide population, it does have it’s drawbacks.
I have, I hope, heard it all.
When wearing shorts to a family picnic or anywhere else for that matter, there are stares and the inevitable, “Oh my gosh, everybody put your sunglasses on! Roxanne’s wearing shorts!” They wonder why I wore long pants all summer long. My own children would tell me I looked “naked” if I had on light-colored shorts and white sneakers.
Reaching adulthood and being asked by a childhood friend. “Were you always that white?” I replied, “No, I’ve faded over time.” Seriously?
When I sold real estate, I would sometimes wear a skirt with a pair of sandals. I was told by one of the owners of my office, “Either get a spray tan, or wear stockings.” I felt bad. I tried the spray tan. I turned orange. I thought about it and returned to the office in my skirt and sandals, white legs proudly exposed for the world to see. I went up to said owner and told them. “THIS is the way I’m showing houses!”
Maybe the redheaded temper is a real thing, but then again, I’m Italian and Irish with just enough German thrown in for good measure. Add the red hair and you have a deadly combination.
And then there’s the medical world who have their own ideas about redheads. I have heard all of the following on many different occasions.
- Redheads are fainters and bleeders.
- Redheads feel more pain.
- Redheads feel less pain.
- Redheads have veins that roll.
- Redheads are unpredictable in surgery.
- Redheads don’t do well with anesthesia.
- Redheads don’t do well with medications.
- Redheads have excessive ear wax.
And my personal favorite…
- I’m sorry. I don’t date redheads.
Okay, that last one was not said by a doctor, but still, there it is. The fact that almost all of these are true for me is mere coincidence.
Once while walking in Disney with my husband, I heard a man behind us saying, “So you see, redheads are actually genetic freaks…”
I turned around. His girlfriend elbowed him. He looked at me and apologized. That was nice! He was a biology student and was fascinated by the MC1R gene. Even better! I liked this guy! I even answered questions for him. Finally, someone with a positive outlook on the wild world of redheads.
History has not been so enamored. Redheads throughout history were thought to be untrustworthy, impure, and dangerous. Some were even burned at the stake as witches. It was thought that fat from a redheaded man could be used to make poison. Who knew?
And then there is Cyrano de Bergerac, a famous literary character in love with, are you ready for this, Roxanne. (If I had an emoji, there’d be a big fat happy face right here.) Evidently, he loved red hair. He wrote:
“A brave head covered with red hair is nothing else but the sun in the midst of his rays, yet many speak ill of it, because few have the honour to be so.”
A fitting end to my redhead rant, which is really not that big a deal.