April 3, 2014

Fire Crotch: Curse of the Red Hot Redheads

Beware the Red Headed Girl.
Beware the Little Red Headed Girl.

by Madeline Iva

Rumored to have three times the sex drive.  Scientifically proven to be more sensitive to pain.  Rare–if you’re not in Scotland. Generating their own Vitamin D. Yes, I’m talking about Red Heads and the power of red heads.

This week we’re talking about All Things Scottish to celebrate the publication of Liz Everly’s latest book LIKE HONEY.  This book takes place in Scotland on a honey farm, and captures a lot of the beauty of the land, and the appeal of the Scottish men.

I find everything about Scotland appealing in theory…except for red heads. Two highly scarring events in my teen years left me highly ambivalent towards red heads.

Distribution of haplogroup red hair in Europe
Distribution of haplogroup red hair in Europe

In eighth grade I had a friend named Dawn.  Had being the operative word. In eighth grade I also had my first massive boy crush–on a guy named Chris.  Chris was an eighth grade version of Keanu Reeves.  Not much to say for himself, but tall with black hair/black eyes and pale skin.  Did I mention he was tall? My pubescent heart went pitter pat every time he smiled. He had perfect teeth.

In my group of friends I thought Dawn was the plainest of us all.  Kinda ugly even. Thick yellowish plastic glasses, small rodent teeth, and big goggly blue-gray eyes.  Sorta short, sorta blah, she no neck really, but she had milky pale skin and YES, super long curly red hair (Gah!).

Now, I was no stunner myself at this age.  I had greasy short hair, braces, acne, and was over all rather bloated.  Still, I didn’t think that I was too repulsive.  I mean, considering the warty general population of eighth grade overall.  I had good posture.  I was also *ahem* aware of my supreme intelligence and killer charm.

Moo, you cutie, you.
Moo, you cutie, you.

Perhaps looking back I vastly underrated my own aggressive attitude and hostile demeanor.  Most of the time I looked and acted like an outraged piranha. Still, I thought I had it going on compared to Dawn.  Also I saw Chris first.

Or at least I dominating his attention in our first period biology class no matter who was watching.

They were definitely watching and disapproving. Nevertheless, I was mysteriously compelled to attempt to charm Chris, aiming my conversational skills right between his eyes.  In a bold, daring move I even got a ten dollar roll of quarters off my mother and showed up after school at the arcade Chris and his geeky buddies visited.  I’m not sure what I thought I would achieve.  It was an unconscious urge, a driving compulsion for propinquity.

Dawn somehow got wind of my arcade coup, and urged on by my friends, ah, frenemies, they descended upon me, Chris, and all his pac man playing buddies.  Over the next two hours it slowly dawned on me that this was an unspoken declaration of war.  During biology every first period after that, I would sit across from Chris and now Dawn would pop  over and sit next to me.  I would talk. Chris remained silent unless prodded to speak.  Dawn cultivated this fit of maidenly meekness which made me ill, and I got no indication at all which one of us he liked.

7 CutieThen came that horrific ritual–the eighth grade dance. Not even all the screaming hormones in my rebellious teenage body could make me submit to that barbaric rite of awkwardness.

I have no idea how things really went down at the dance between Dawn and Chris.  I was told they slow danced together and my unspoken hopes were crushed.  Let us draw a curtain over this dismal scene. I held my head high and carried on.

Come April our year books were passed out.  Dawn’s friends/my frenemies made sure to haul out Dawn’s yearbook when she was conveniently absent, just to grind my lesson in misery deep.  They pointed out where Chris had written in Dawn’s yearbook “Don’t worry about her.  I don’t like her, I like you and your long red hair.” 🙁

Foiled by a red head.

Beware the red-headed boy.
Beware the red-headed boy.

The knock to my heart and confidence was so severe, I was never quite the same. Which is probably a good thing.  Certainly I’ve toned down my piranha act a notch or two.  Dawn and Chris broke up almost immediately that summer and I went on to develop better taste in men.

My next helpless crush started in ninth grade.  He was seven years older than me.  He had hair like fire and a beard like satan.  It turns out that I too, was susceptible to gingery hotness.

I eventually got over that crush as well. (Because he liked someone else better than me–Gah!)

A true red head is pretty rare–if you’re not in Scotland.  Thank goodness.

Twice burned, I’m now involuntarily shy about red heads. A little red goes a long way.  Auburn hair is a much safer bet, and I will admit to liking a bit of burning red in the soft brown hair of my one true love.

Gingery hotness.
He had hair like fire and a beard like Satan. It turns out that I too, was susceptible to gingery hotness.

What do you think, fair readers? Better red than dead? Sound off below.  And if you haven’t followed our blog, please do.

like honeyMeanwhile, get your Scotland on by checking out the soothing touch of LIKE HONEY by Liz Everly.


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  • Post authorShannon Miller

    Redheads are the best (as I am one LOL)

    Reply to Shannon Miller
    • Post authorMadeline Iva

      That’s right Shannon — stick up for your kind. Ultimately, I think down through history red heads got a lot of guff for no good reason.

      Reply to Madeline Iva
  • Post authorLiz Everly

    What a story, Madeline! So sorry that happened to you. Thanks so much for the shout-out. As for redheads, my mom is one–beautiful red hair, as well as my niece and my daughter. I am surrounded by them. My husband has an auburn cast in his hair, as well.

    Reply to Liz Everly
    • Post authorMadeline Iva

      You know I was actually born with bright red hair and my mother drove everyone crazy she was so ga-ga about it. Then one day…it all fell out! She almost died, she was so crushed. C’est la vie.

      Reply to Madeline Iva
        • Post authorMadeline Iva

          I guess it can happen with babies. When my hair grew back in it was blonde.

          Reply to Madeline Iva
  • Post authorBarbara Mikula

    Ahh, come on. What did you really think of Dawn of the red hair? LOL!!! Did you ever see her in your adult years?

    Reply to Barbara Mikula
    • Post authorMadeline Iva

      I think as I grew into a beautiful 17 year old she curled up and vanished in a thin poof of smoke. 🙂 Seriously, I think she was Catholic and went to the private Catholic school in town. I think Chris was Catholic too–another thing they had in common.

      HOWEVER, the red headed guy I had a crush on. Now that is a different story–I had an adventure with him but it was much later.

      Reply to Madeline Iva
  • Post authorElizabeth Shore

    Oh, those nasty angsty years of youth! I have had similar crushed hopes. We’ve all been there. Thanks for sharing the story!

    Reply to Elizabeth Shore
  • Post authorKel

    I had red hair as a youngling, but it also faded to blonde when I got older. It still pretends to be red under the right light, and I kept the freckles, but I deny any accusations about feeling more pain. My red wasn’t the orangy-red that most people call “red”, though… it was penny-red. My older sister grew into a deep dark ruby-red that people pay a lot of money to dye their hair, and women everywhere hate her.

    I do not have a particular fondness for or dislike of red hair, so I can’t really comment one way or another. My first in-person crush became my first boyfriend… Perhaps I’m odd in that one.

    • Post authorMadeline Iva

      Sometimes when I got photos developed my hair would come out red–maybe because my brownish hair was sorta strawberry blonde at one point?

      Red heads are fairly rare. So they’re outliers. This often means that they’re more attractive or less attractive to people than they would be otherwise. Thus more attractive to men in America–and therefore more hated by women…?

      I’ve only envied one red head her hair—My friend’s daughter has this perfect carrot orange viking hair she wears in long braids. I just love it. My friend said she had that orange carrot-flame hair too in her youth, but now her hair is just sort of sandy-ish brown. It’s so interesting that it hasn’t turned grey…and apparently it means she really was a true red head, because they don’t go grey, the color in their hair just fades…

      Reply to Madeline Iva
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