It's a Redhead!

by Joe Lavin


	After I was born, the first thing the doctor said was "It's a redhead," 
	and so my mother sat there for several seconds not knowing 
	whether I was a boy or a girl. After some persistent questioning, 
	she finally found out that I was in fact a redheaded boy. Like it or 
	not, ever since, I have been defined by my hair color. 

	To be honest, I never really minded this -- that is, until my friend 
	showed me the web site for Redheads International 
	(www.redheadclub.com). There, several redheads have created 
	what is essentially an online support group for those with red hair. 
	It may be an admirable idea, but I have just one problem with it. For 
	my 28 years as a redhead, I have never felt that I needed a support 
	group because of my hair. 
	
	I am sure I may need a support group for many other things, but 
	being a redhead is just not one of them. Honestly, it never seemed 
	that horrible to me, but apparently others feel differently. For 
	example, as I explored Redheads International, I came across this 
	depressing fact: "According to researchers at the University of 
	Northern Iowa, redheads are seen as less attractive and desirable 
	than blondes or brunettes, and red-haired men rate below all types 
	and ethnicities in attractiveness." Oh, well, I suppose it could be 
	worse. At least, I'm not a researcher at the University of Northern 
	Iowa. 
	
	"Hey, Vern, what do you want to do today?"
	
	"I dunno. Let's do a study about redheads and then later we'll go 
	out and watch some corn. Okay?"
	
	(I imagine that right now there's probably a support group forming 
	for researchers at the University of Northern Iowa who have been 
	insulted by redheads.)
	
	On the message boards at the web site, various redheads 
	complained about those who mocked them in grade school. Most 
	had come to terms with their hair ("Now I would be no other way!"), 
	but every message contained a hint of past suffering. And this 
	confused me. Perhaps I'm just an odd redhead, but most people 
	seem to like my hair color. As a kid, I was mocked for many 
	things, of course, but not usually for my hair. Whenever another 
	child would laugh at my hair, I would just look confused, and that 
	would be the end of it. So what if I had red hair?
	
	Admittedly, I didn't always love my hair. As a shy kid, I would have 
	liked to blend in more, and I never understood why older people had 
	to yell out, "Hey red" when they saw me. I could recognize their 
	hair or lack thereof; it didn't mean I felt compelled to yell, "Hey 
	whitey" or "Hey baldy" to them. And there were other drawbacks 
	too. Even now, I'm still annoyed that I can practically get sunburn 
	from a light bulb. Once, I even managed to get sunburn on the top 
	of my feet. But all this doesn't mean I need a support group. 
	
	As for the web site, I shouldn't complain too much. It was mostly 
	uplifting and helpful. The people there all seemed to love their hair 
	now, and many were looking to date other redheads. (There was 
	even a link for a redheaded dating service.) The site was also full of 
	useful advice, though it was the trivia that was most interesting. For 
	example, I learned that according to one British superstition, "It is 
	held that red-haired people never can make good butter. The butter 
	always has a slight tang about it." Well, who would have known? I 
	suppose it makes sense that my butter would be bad, considering 
	that on some days I can't even make good toast. 
	
	There was more to the site than this, but somehow I couldn't make 
	myself spend the $20 membership fee to discover it. I have the 
	hair. It didn't seem fair to make me shell out $20 to join. Perhaps if 
	someone wants to create a Cheap Redheads International club 
	with no cover, I'll think about joining. 
	
	Then again, I probably won't. I still chafe at the idea of a club for 
	redheads. Must we form a support group for everything? I guess I 
	just don't want to be special for my hair color. My hair color, after 
	all, is not an accomplishment; it is merely a relatively obscure 
	genetic trait with which I was born. 
	
	I don't need my own club. Just pass me some 45 sun block, and I'll 
	be fine. 
	
	




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