Apparently the world celebrated Redhead Day this week. Not National Redhead Day, but World Redhead Day. This was a day the entire planet was supposed to take a short 24 hour break from fretting over the Novel Coronavirus to celebrate the Novel Redhead.
I trust all of you were able to set your life and death cares aside momentarily to give this day the full attention it deserves.
I only chanced to learn of this important event due to social media. I was inundated on Facebook with memes, giphs and private messages congratulating me for surviving the plight of my youth.
Thank heavens for the efforts of social media campaigns to raise public awareness about this important event, because the good folks down at Hallmark (the unofficial arbiters of all holidays) are not up to speed. There are no “Happy Redhead Day” cards in the aisles of Walgreens.
Yes, I checked.
Also, no one took me to dinner to celebrate.
And…no one bought me a gift. Not even a box of hair dye.
Yet, I am not entirely disheartened. I remain optimistic because I know, like all the great social movements, it takes some time to build public awareness and sensitivity. To be honest, I’m just relieved they aren’t burning my kind at the stake anymore.
I did a little google research when all the memes came floating across my iPad this week and found out that public sentiment towards redheads fluctuates depending on what “era” you live in. Several hundred years ago, 40,000-60,000 red headed women (a huge range, but the metrics weren’t as accurate back then) were tried and convicted as witches simply for having hair that was supposedly “kissed by Satan.”
Preposterous! I sincerely doubt these fiery ladies were witches. I can tell you from personal experience they were just a little temperamental and woefully misunderstood.
Fortunately, we are embarking on a new time whereby humanity embraces our differences. You can see glimpses of this when you watch television commercials. Madison Avenue seems to understand that we no longer desire to purchase products endorsed solely by Barbie and Ken types.
This was certainly not the atmosphere when I was growing up and my tender young self esteem was being formed. When I was a little girl, I prayed fervently every night for God to change the color (and texture) of my hair.
“Now I lay me down to sleep…
I pray the Lord my hair to keep…
Replace it with some other girl’s…
and while you’re at it, she can have my curls…”
No one was “celebrating redheads.“ I was taunted mercilessly on the school yard.
“I’d rather be dead than red on the head!”
When I played Barbies after school with my older sister and our friends, they handed me Midge, Barbie’s frizzy-headed freckle-faced cousin. It was bad enough that I had to look like Midge in real life. I merely wanted to play with Barbie for a little make-believe relief.
On television, my role models were those straight haired blondes Laurie Partridge and the 3 darling sisters from the Brady Bunch. I wasn’t exactly thrilled to run around looking like Laura Ingalls Wilder from Little House On The Prairie. It was hard to take her seriously, much less try to emulate her “look” in her calico dress, bonnet and galvanized lunch pail.
Because my offspring have been known to skim across my blog occasionally, I won’t go into too much detail, but I was blessed to marry their father, a man that found redheads (and Laura Ingalls Wilder) sexy. Perhaps he was just drawn to writers. I don’t know, but he occasionally called me “half-pint” and favored those innocent white cotton nightgowns.
I’ll leave it at that.
Of course, now that it’s a little trendy, we find that the red headed population is diminishing. We represent less than 2% of the human population. Thus, we are keenly watching my latest grandchild, eagerly holding our breath for signs of impending gingerness.
She looks like she might come through…but it’s too early to call.
If she is indeed a Ginger, then perhaps by the time she’s ready for college our government may have come up with some type of restitution in the form of scholarship money or a stimulus check to pay my people back for our centuries of suffering.
It’s the least they could do for me and my ilk. Me and girls like Midge, Raggedy Ann, and the Un-named thousands that were barbecued in the name of hair color.
Until then, we will just feed our latest wee lass Lucky Charms and keep our fingers crossed. And if I thought I could cast a spell for her to have red hair, I certainly would not be above it.
But alas, if I had any special powers up my little calico sleeve I most certainly would have used them on my own head in the 70s.
But I don’t. Because I am merely a Ginger. A little misunderstood. A little temperamental. Not my fault.
Blame the hair