Another Lady of the Night KSR
Red hair is the rarest natural color in humans. Maybe that is why I so desired having it. As a teenager I once knelt on our kitchen floor washing my hair in a bucket filled with chamomile tea because someone said it would make my hair turn red. Alas, no such happening occurred as I emerged with the same natural mouse shade that I went in with.
In various times and cultures, red hair has been prized, feared, and ridiculed. A common belief about redheads is that they have fiery tempers and sharp tongues. I have a cousin and a daughter who have red hair and neither fits that description. Although an aunt, who was a redhead, once said of my daughter that “She doesn’t have that red hair for nothing!” My husband had several cousins who had red hair and they were all perfectly presentable in polite company.
Another belief is that redheads are more highly sexed and mischievous than the rest, which is also untrue. Many painters including myself, have exhibited a fascination with red hair. The Renaissance and pre-Raphaelite artists were notable for their redheads. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story “The Red-Headed League” involves a mysterious group of red-headed people.
Queen Elizabeth I of England was a redhead, and during the Elizabethan era in England, red hair was fashionable for women. In modern times, red hair is subject to fashion trends, and depending which current actor or actress is currently popular it can boost sales of red hair dye. To name a few, Robert Redford, Nicole Kidman, Red Skelton or Lucille Ball come to mind.
In Britain, any dislike of red hair may derive from the sentiment that people of Irish or Celtic background, with a greater prevalence of red hair were ethnically inferior. In America, film and TV programs often portray school bullies as having red hair. The nicknames “ginger” or “red” distinguishes the recipient as being someone separate from the rest. Medieval beliefs included moral degeneration, witchcraft and vampirism.
The color red itself, signifies danger, stop, look out for roadblocks. Redheadday is the name of a Dutch festival that takes place each September in the city of Breda, the Netherlands. It is a gathering of people with natural red hair, but is also focused on art related to the color red.
All of which continues to endear myself to red hair. Maybe because it denotes a spirit, or a certain “spit-in-your-eye or “don’t tread on me” attitude that is so appealing.