No One Loves a Red Haired Baby
Hey peeps. Tonight I’d like to talk about how hideously disfigured I am. No, this is not a digging-for-compliments exercise or even a self-indulgent entry focusing on the fascinating subject of how insecure I am about the way I look – I’m way too old for all that jazz. No, I actually am hideously disfigured, and do you know how I know? Why, because the good ladies over at the Handbag.com forums told me so, of course. Repeatedly.
Actually, let’s be fair: they weren’t talking about me in particular, and I’m sure if they were to meet me they’d all be quick to assure me that, of course, my hair is perfectly lovely, and not at all the shade of red – sorry, “ginger” – that so offends their eyes. Yes, folks, we’re talking about hair, here. Specifically, red hair – or “ginger” hair as they like to call it. Why, hair just like mine in fact! Isn’t it awful? Don’t you just pray that your children, should you have them, are never cursed with this particular disfigurement? Lots of people do (pray, that is), and who can blame them?
The discussion I’m talking about was actually pretty tame compared to some of the ones I’ve seen, and some of the comments I’ve heard. Comments like, “Oh, don’t worry, she might grow out if it! It might turn blonde!” (Said to my mother when I was a babe in arms) and, “Tell me, Amber, do you ever worry that your children might inherit It?” (No, do you ever worry yours will inherit your complete lack of intellect?)
The thread in question starts off with … well, with a question. A “very serious” and deeply distressing question. Our protagonist is worried that she might one day have a red haired baby. I know! I mean, aren’t we all! She’s been lucky so far: neither she nor her partner have the dreaded Curse, but – and here’s the kicker – his mum (who hopefully never reads Handbag.com) does, and so did her gran. I mean, you can see their dilemma, can’t you? They could have a redhaired baby! In fact, no, let’s not mince our words here, let’s say what we mean: their child could be an ugly-ass ginger!
Now, personally I’d just get sterilised and adopt, no question. That’s certainly what I’m going to do, because, God, I’m ginger, and so was my gran! And my Great-Gran! I mean, any child of mine would surely be doomed, and I may as well be honest: when I tell people I don’t want children, what I actually mean is “I couldn’t be so cruel as to bring another redhead into the world.
(Y’all get that I’m being sarcastic here, don’t you? OK, just checking…)
It gets worse, though. Rather than simply suggesting sterliistaion, the women on the handbag forums set about very earnestly working out what the odds might be of this poor girl having “a ginger”. They come to the conclusion that it’s probably around 4:1. The original poster decides she can live with that. What she would have done had the odds been higher is anyone’s guess.
It doesn’t end there, though. Once everyone has shared their relief that our protagonist probably isn’t at as much risk as she might have thought, someone comes up with the idea – and this is a stroke of pure genius, people – that in order to avoid having a baby with red hair, you could first of all have GENETIC TESTING to determine whether you carry the mutant gene. If you do, then presumably your way is clear – you don’t breed.
God, I wish someone had come up with this sooner. OK, I wouldn’t be here, but on the bright side, neither would any of the other “ginger mingers”. We could have a world totally absent of redheads! Oooh! Oooh! I know what we could do! We could make it so that only people who have the type of colouring we deem to be “attractive” – people with blue eyes and blonde hair, say – were allowed to breed, so we had a whole society of aesthetically pleasing people! Now, I know I’ve heard something like that before… Where was it? Never mind, I’m sure it’ll come to me…
(Right after this point was made, by the way? Someone else – someone who actually has red hair herself – posted asking if this type of testing can actually happen, because, and I quote: “I’d never forgive myself if I passed my red hair onto one of my kids.” I swear I’m not making this up.)
Now, I’m not a scientist. (I’ll wait while you stop reeling in shock at that one, shall I?), so I have no idea whether it’s possible for the miracle that is modern science to identify the “redhead gene” and thus rid the world of redheads. (We will be sure to slam the door on the way out.) The fact that supposedly intelligent women are even discussing this kind of idiocy on a public forum, though, leaves me gasping in horror at the depths of stupidity that some people will plumb.
The truly sad thing about all of this? This is about the fifth or sixth time I’ve seen this type of thread come up on a discussion forum, or even, as I’ve said, in normal conversation. Something I learned from a very early age is that people really don’t like redheads, and they’re not ashamed to say so, in the way that most people would probably think twice about voicing the same sentiment about any other sector of society.
For the record, I love my red hair, and always have – yes, even when people at school called me “traffic lights”. I wouldn’t change it, not even when it brings out the very worst, most prejudiced part of some people. And, you know, as a wise man once said: I can dye my oh-so-ugly red hair. These people will always be stupid.
I think I’m going to start up a new clothing line. It will consist mainly of t-shirts, and they’ll all say “RED AND PROUD”, or maybe “I’D RATHER BE RED THAN
dead A F*****G MORON”. Stop me and buy one.
Pass the message on, people: the redheads will inherit the earth. And they’re angry.