I am embroiled in a battle regarding the pros and cons of being a readhead. Strange actually because I'm not . . . at least not last time I looked and whilst I had a tinge of auburn as a girl, I have no idea what colour my hair is these days. That then qualifies me to be unbiased and sit on the fence in judgement of the 'bluey', 'ginger' , 'red-head' and 'carrot top' . . . I have red-headed friends, I also have friends who are in love with red-heads, friends who would like to be in love with red-heads and even friends who hate red-heads. Love 'em or hate 'em everyone has an opinion. Apparently, if you love redheads, you're in luck because red hair is the new black . If you're not so keen, you probably need to move to the southern hemisphere or Asia where there are fewer about.
Redheads do have some special attributes. It’s true . . . redheads feel pain more acutely but respond to morphine more readily, are less likely to tan and more likely to burn, have fair eyebrows and eyelashes and low tolerance for sunlight. They also age more slowly due to lack of exposure to sun. They have the highest risk of skin cancer and the chance of being deficient in vitamin D. They are also said to be 'hot tempered' although if you're a readhead who's been brought up teased and bullied, no wonder you've got a temper! They are also generally regarded as having a high libido so that's a good thing surely?
What brought on this polarisation over redheads escapes me. Red hair was very popular with the Elizabethans. Reubens would have been lost without his swooning Gingers and Botticelli's Birth of Venus a disaster. Tori Amos wouldn’t be famous and Julie Anne Moore wouldn’t look so good in green. Hell our own Nicole Kidman is a redhead beneath. I have had difficulty coming up with handsome redheaded males hough, unless Mick Hucknall counts - I dunno - Malcolm McLaren isn't my idea of a hot date any more than Robin Cook is and Rupert Grint is a little too young to work out quite what he's going to look like.
So how did they get red hair?Red hair follows what geneticists call an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. Each parent carries a recessive 'red' gene. The same MC1R gene responsible for red hair in humans crops up in other red creatures: red setters, chestnut horses, highland cattle and red squirrels. It is estimated that versions of the MC1R gene that cause red hair have been around for 20,000 to 40,000 years with the highest proportion being in Scotland, and 35% of Irish citizens carrying the gene,10% in England. All united by their Celtic past.
And if you believe the latest internet hoax about red heads dying out, don’t. It’s just a rehash of a similar article published about blondes. The genes will still exist regardless of where the people go. It only takes two carriers to find each other attractive for there to be a chance of a new redhead being born.
Oh and remember to eat your vegies. Poor nutrition can result in hair turning red. This is seen in third world countries particularly where severe malnutrition affects the pigmentation of hair that is normally dark brown.
So next time you’re tempted to harass someone whilst circling them on your BMX bike shouting 'Ginger! Ginger! Ginger!' The redhead can comfort themselves knowing that their harrassers could quite easily be carriers of the ginger gene . . . and remember the words of the Boss "you have not lived 'til you have had your tyres rotated by a red headed woman". Make of that what you will.