What makes me see red | Because I Said So

HELLO BLUEY: Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images
HELLO BLUEY: Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

AS I turned the gas back on this morning to fire up the heater, I noted that we still have a month of summer left.

As a fair skinned red head the season change cannot come soon enough. Sure I love going to the beach, but I prefer it to be overcast so I can spend more than 10 minutes in the sun.

Only two per cent of the world’s population has red hair, and most of them live in the northern hemisphere.

This may explain a few things about how people react to red heads in the southern hemisphere, I like to call it ‘the red head effect’.

Red heads seem to have an effect on the perceptions of those around them, and we can find examples of this throughout history.

In Ancient Greek literature, the philosopher Xenophanes spoke of the blue eyes and red hair of the Thracians.

Roman historians described Boudica, the Celtic queen of Iceni, as tall and terrifying with a mass of red hair over her shoulders.

Even Homer wrote about red haired mythical characters in the poem The Iliad.

It is thought that Judas Iscariot may have been a red head, and is always portrayed as one.

If you had red hair during the time of the Spanish inquisition you were accused of having stolen the fires of hell, and you were burned as a witch. Geez, do we get a bad wrap much? Being a red head myself I’ve noticed people respond to you differently, especially if things get a little testy.

Recently I was reminded of this on a road trip, when I stopped to get drive through lunch.

There was a hold up in the line, so the driver behind me decided to start shouting at us.

I rolled down my window and politely asked if he kissed his mother with that foul mouth, to which he responded “don’t stick your red head out the window…” and I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

I wonder though, had I been a brunette would he have said don’t stick your brunette head out the window? Doesn’t roll off the tongue so easily though. Blondes, I know cop it as well, but red heads seem to make people mad.

Why is that? I know they recently proved that the colour red doesn’t make a bull charge, it is just the act of shaking something in their face. Is that it? We’re in your face? Julia Gillard is probably our best example of the red head effect, she was often referred to as the ranga that is ruining the country.

Our nation just wasn’t ready for a female ginger to sit in the big chair.

I won’t lie to you, I like having red hair.

Belonging to a group that there is only a small percentage of in the world is kind of cool.

I won’t go grey, ok I will go white, but I get to go through a gradual lightening of my red first.

Sure a childhood (and adulthood) of living under the biggest of big hats and inch thick sunscreen, was/is not much fun but I can say that at least I do truly feel unique.

Although sometimes nervous, having been followed around parts of China by locals taking pictures of my hair, and my moon tan.

So as I awoke on this brisk Goulburn morning, I heard a faint sound on the wind, as every other red head in town breathed a sigh of relief.

Soon the clouds will come and once again we can go outside, and if the stories are true, to steal souls and perform witchcraft.

Bring on Autumn!


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