So, being ginger is, like, a THING. I’ve never been a blonde or a brunette, but I swear being a redhead is inherently different than either of the other hair colors.
For one, you’re a spectacle. People notice you and remember you. It’s weird. It’s especially weird if you’re a natural introvert. It’s extra super weird if people just walk up and touch you. That rarely happens anymore, but as a kid random strangers would just walk up and touch my head. Don’t do that, people. Does anyone ever just run their fingers through your hair? Probably not. It’s kind of a violation. I have, however, received gifts and freebies out of pure admiration for my hair color. A vendor at a holiday show ran after my mom and I once and gave me a free ornament just because he thought my hair was so beautiful. So, you know, perks.
Your hair is almost always the go-to conversation starter when meeting strangers. Old ladies, grocery checkers, people running job interviews, and strangers at the campground all want to know the same two things. Thing 1: Is that your natural color? Thing 2: Where did you get your red hair?
I’ve been asked those two questions for my entire life, so it only just now occurred to me that it might be rude to ask about a woman’s dye-job. Isn’t the point to trick folks into thinking it’s real? Would you ask a woman if any other part of her appearance were “natural?” I’m guessing not. I’ve never dyed my hair, so I don’t know how I’d feel if I did and someone asked me about it. My advice is to stick with, “Wow, what a beautiful color you have!” Then let the person elaborate or not. Or you can just take a mental picture and try to match it with a box from the hair color aisle at Target. That’s what I’d call “doing the most,” but at least you won’t be rude! Crazy? Yes. Rude? No.
I’m assuming folks like to ask where I got my hair because they’ve never been asked where they got theirs. That’s a weird question. Where’d you get your shoes? Payless. Where’d you get your car? A dealership. Where’d you get your hair? Um, I dunno…where’d you get your hair? Mine tends to just sprout out of my follicles with little to no effort. Oh, you wanted a complete genetic history. Yeah, I just met you, so…no.
Because this is a family show, I’ll not go into all the nicknames and inappropriate inquiries that you run into as a redhead (especially in college). Google it up if you want to, but if I hear it you’d better guard your shins from my swift kick.
Aside from all that’s listed above, I like my hair. A lot. I’d never trade it. I used to forget about it or pretend like it wasn’t a thing as a kid. Now I love everything about it and recognize it as an inherent part of my identity. Red hair doesn’t define me or give me my value, but I find that it informs how I relate to the world. I like often being the only redhead in the room. I also like when you run into other redheads and have an instant bond. You’ve all had your head touched by multiple strangers and that’s a special little club.
So, welcome to Through the Ginger Window. Here you’ll get a little glimpse into the life of this ginger. I’m pulling back the curtains and letting folks in on what it’s like to be me: a girl, a Christian, a teacher, and a redhead.
P.S. I totally don’t mind talking to folks about my hair. I’ve had lots of practice. Ask away, just keep your hands to yourself. Also, for the record, I definitely do have a soul.