A few facts on life as a redhead

One half of the Martinko family of redheads!

This probably should have been the first post, given the name of the blog and all!

1. Many people tell me that my “species” is dying out.  It seems that everyone has recently read or heard it somewhere.  I can almost always finish their sentence for them, once I see that look come into their eyes.  They’re dying to reveal that salacious detail about redheads, but they’re not quite sure how I’ll handle the terrible truth.  I guess I let them down; I’ve already been notified countless times of my pending extinction!

2. Many people give me voluntary genetics lessons.  Recessive genes are tricky things, it seems, since everyone’s version of how they work is different.   One person said that only women can pass it on!

3. Many people must tell me their family history of redheads – who is and who isn’t.  I feel sorry for the poor kids and grandkids who “should have been” redheads but were not!  Are they told that, I wonder, or is it a family secret that gets shared only with redheads when the mood strikes?

4. Fake redheads generally don’t like me.

5. Some hair stylists always ask me if I want to dye my hair.  Others say they wouldn’t do it if I asked.

6. Old ladies in the grocery store joke about wanting to trade their white globular perms for my red hair.

7. Old ladies in the grocery often tell me that they used to have hair like mine!

8. I’ve been asked more than once to participate in Anne of Green Gables lookalike competitions (yes, such a thing exists!).

9. It’s assumed that I love Anne Shirley (yes!) and Pippi Longstocking (no!).  Queen Elizabeth I, Galileo, Napoleon, Thomas Jefferson, and Vincent Van Gogh are a few famous others.

10. Redheads are generally not attracted to redheads, yet I ended up marrying one.  That must have something to do with why the gene is dying out.  Now, with our two kids, we’re a smaller version of the Weasleys (from Harry Potter).

All the redheads together!

11. Hair colour becomes the defining feature that people latch onto.  “Red,” “capelli rossi,” “ruiva,” “ginger,” and “carrot-top” are all names I’ve answered to over the years.

12. Did you know that redheads are harder to sedate (why do I find that especially amusing?!) and require 20-30% more anesthesia during surgery? (based on a recent study done by the University of Louisville)

13. In ancient Egypt, redheads were considered so unlucky that they were burned alive.  In Greek myths, they turn into vampires upon death.  In medieval Europe, red hair and green eyes were the marks of a witch.

14. All the redhead stereotypes are true, at least in my case!

One of the funniest experiences I’ve had, thanks to my hair, was on a ferry crossing from Cape Breton Island to Newfoundland.  I was watching a fiddle show from the back of a large room when suddenly I got summoned to the front.  “Hey, you look like you should know how to step dance!  Get up here and show us something!” the leader hollered.  Now, I don’t have a drop of East Coast blood in my body and I’ve never step danced in my life, but I do love to fiddle.  I told him that I was from Ontario but I’d be happy to play a medley or two.  Before I knew it, I was jamming away with a fabulous group of musicians as we sailed across the Cabot Strait.


13 thoughts on “A few facts on life as a redhead

  1. When I was in Ireland this summer they were having a Viking Festival and one of the things they were promoting was “celebrating the people who gave us our red hair”. I’d never thought about that before. Is that why redheads have the stereotype of having flaming tempers. Now you could say to your kids “stop being such a Viking!”

  2. I’ll give it try and see if it works! I do know, though, that we didn’t want to name either kid Eric because of the Viking connection – Eric the Red, you know 🙂 That would just be too unfair!

  3. “I laughed, I cried, I lost fifteen pounds – I cannot recommend this [blog] highly enough.” – Jason Martinko, paraphrasing Stephen Colbert

  4. That’s so funny – I had never given any consideration to Vikings in Ireland before that. Despite Eric the Red, I’d never really thought about where that red came from.Loved the post. Well, actually, I’ve been enjoying all of the posts.

  5. I just remembered a little boy who was in kindergarten with Hugh who had hair just the same colour as yours. His parents were alarmed when on vacation, some Japanese tourists were excitedly photographing their 6 year old. When they asked why, the tourists said they wanted to photograph the boy with his head on fire.

  6. Enjoy your red hair and try not to fall into dyeing it when you grow older. Put it off. It’s chemicals after all.

    From a black haired 53+ yr. who has not dyed her hair yet. (Cycling does help keep me mentally young.)

    Did you know that there are different type of black hair of which some natural black hair has natural red highlights? Mine has a small amount…that’s why my black hair doesn’t look jet black, it’s a softer shade of natural black.

    Look at the Asian hair varieties…particularily young children who will not have dyed hair.

  7. Your hair is amazing btw! I swear that with my hair scraped back and no make-up I really am a dead ringer for Elizabeth I. My parents were both redheads, just like you and your husband and they went on to have four little redheaded girls – I used to hate going anywhere as a family as we looked like some kind of naff variety act!
    Now my boys sit at the dinner table and say, “Isn’t it a shame for daddy? He’s the only one in the family without ginger hair”. 🙂

  8. As I am a redhead myself, I enjoyed reading this amusing post! 🙂

    A couple of years ago, a girl stopped me in the street and gushed “Oh my gosh, I’ve been looking for that color for ages. Which brand of dye do you use?” She was very disappointed to learn that it’s my natural color!

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