Jordan Santos is “fired up” about the red stuff on top of his head.
The story of my red hair is one that my mother religiously tells everyone who asks where my hair came from. People tend to wonder how I ended up with fiery red hair when my mom is a blonde and my dad is a brunette.
The story goes that my mother’s Aunt Margaret predicted I would have red hair. Aunt Margaret was one of the few redheads on my mother’s side along with her brother and mother. It was more than just a prediction, though, my Auntie Margaret truly believed it with all of her heart that I would have the same hair color as her. It got to the point that my mother didn’t know if her aunt was crazy or if she just really wanted another redhead in the family.
Low and behold, I came into this world on October 11, 1991, at 9:33 p.m. with strawberry blonde hair. Aunt Margaret was in the delivery room and declared to my mother, “I told you so!”
Although my great Aunt passed away before I got a chance to really know her, I will forever hold a special place in my heart for her because she is the one who told the world that I would be special like her. She is the reason why I believe in guardian angels.
And, even though the story of my red hair is something out of a movie, being a redhead has many advantages and disadvantages.
It is a blessing in that you are unique and different from all of the same old brunettes and blondes of the world. You will forever feel a special connection with your ginger brethren.
There are a few disadvantages as well that come with being a “Ginger.”
First off, everyone is going to call you some sort of derogatory nickname. Whether it be “fire crotch,” “ketchup head,” or “day walker,” none of these nicknames are particularly complimentary.
Here Are My Top Five Most Hated Ginger Nicknames:
- Fire Crotch – please don’t bring my private parts into the equation.
- Ketchup Head – I hate this nickname, but I do love ketchup.
- Chuckie – thanks for comparing me to one of the most disturbing characters in cinematic history.
- Ging – only other gingers or close friends can call a redhead this.
- Irish Leprechaun –Do you see a pot of gold anywhere?
However, the constant name calling makes redheaded folks more thickskinned and patient with what life throws at them.I was teased and bullied as a kid for having red hair. Thankfully, I rarely took the teasing too seriously and always made the best of it with humor… most of the time.
But there were plenty of times when I had wished that I was not a redhead.
Most notably, when the “Ginger Kids” episode of South Park was released on November 9, 2005, while I was in eighth grade. Looking back on it, that episode of South Park is absolutely hilarious and if you haven’t watched it, go do yourself a favor and laugh your butt off! Although, I wasn’t really fond of the episode when I was still in junior high and was constantly being called a “day walker.” The worst part of the episode is it suggests that redheads don’t have souls and are part vampire, which I now admit is pretty funny! At the time, I was not really in the mood to constantly defend myself.
To this day, I have had people who I don’t even know well ask me if I have a soul or not. When you are a redhead, you learn to laugh at yourself and pick your battles. Although sometimes it is necessary to stand up for yourself and let people know that the stereotype of redheads being feisty is not just a myth.
The ridicule from my classmates got so bad that at one point I decided to dye my hair a light shade of brown. I realized immediately after I had made a mistake and I have never dyed my hair since. Dying your red hair is not only an act of treason, but it just isn’t meant to be! Red hair is the most difficult color to dye because its pigment holds more tightly than other colors. Since the awkward days of junior high and high school, I have learned to be proud of my hair color.
Still, there are so many reasons to be proud to be a ginger!
Here Are Just a Few Characteristics All Redheads Share.
• Ginger folks have much less hair on their head than brunettes and blondes; are less likely to go gray; and generate their own source of vitamin D.
• Redheads have much thicker hair than blondes and brunettes but have around 50,000 less strands of hair than blondes.
• Redheads have been persecuted for thousands of years as well, but we continue to thrive today!
• Hitler actually banned Gingers from marrying each other!
• The ancient Greeks believed that they would turn into vampires after they died!
• Ginger women were identified as witches and were killed during the European witchhunts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
• It’s safe to say that redheads are definitely an oppressed group, but we just get less sympathy than other oppressed groups.
• Think about it, you know how easy it would be to spot a redhead in the wild thousands of years ago?
• Evolutionarily speaking, all redheads are the heirs of natural born survivors and fighters. So how does one even become a ginger anyhow? Good question! Only one to two percent of humans have red hair.
Red hair is a recessive gene. Specifically, red hair is a mutation of the MC1R gene. Early redheaded humans were able to produce more vitamin D for the body, which was important for those who lived far away from the equator.
Where Did Redheads Come From?
The answer to that question is still unclear.
One legend states that the first redhead was Prince Idon of Mu. As Prince Idon was sailing for Atlantis, he noticed the gorgeous red colors that radiated the skies and he desired to have a head full of that color. Miraculously, his hair turned red and the rest of his descendants donned his fiery red hair.
I would much rather believe that all redheads are descendants of royalty than it just being a coincidence!
As of now, Scotland is the true mecca for redheads. Scotland has the largest proportion of redheads in their population at thirteen percent. Despite this fact, everyone who notices your red hair will assume that you are from Ireland. Just go along with it and perfect your fake Irish accent.
One of America’s greatest writers, Mark Twain, had a fascination with red hair. Probably because he himself was a redhead. “Why, man, red is the natural color of beauty!” Twain said. “What is there that is beautiful or grand in nature or art, that is not tinted with this primordial color?” Twain also famously stated, “While the rest of the human race are descended from monkeys, redheads derive from cats.”
There are countless other famous redheads besides Twain.
Here is My List of Some Famous Redheads in History:
- Queen Elizabeth I – former queen of England
- Napoleon Bonaparte – legendary military general
- Galileo Galilei – astronomer
- WilliamShakespeare – author of Romeo and Juliet
- Vincent Van Gogh – artist
- George Washington – first president of the United States
- J.K. Rowling – author of the Harry Potter series
- Conan O’Brien – comedian
- Ron Howard – actor/director
- Willie Nelson – musician
- Shaun White – snowboarder/skateboarder & Olympic gold medalist
- Prince Henry – prince of England
If you are a fellow redhead, we are already friends. If you are being teased or ridiculed for your red hair, I encourage you to not get upset or angry. Doing this only makes the person teasing you feel like they are getting to you.
Simply accept and love the color of your hair. I promise you that there are people who love your red hair and are jealous that they are just another blonde or brunette.
Photos: Courtesy of Author