Thursday, 27 August 2015

Are you rooting for Redheads?

Redhead King and Queen 2015

(Photo courtesy of Redhead Convention website)

As a fun loving, grown up redhead, I was fascinated this week to read about the Redhead Convention. ‘A wacky festival of ginger loving madness’, Crosshaven, County Cork, Ireland.  It’s a relatively new Convention created initially to celebrate the joys of being redheaded. It began as a creative and fun way to celebrate the birthday of … you’ve guessed it … a redhead! 

Over the years redheads have had a tough time due to their hair colouring. Somehow the colour attracted wisecrack comments and occasionally thoughtless and insensitive comments, ‘Ginger’, ‘Rusty’ and ‘Carrot top’, to mention a few.  Of course, as a child such names were unwelcome and uncool.

As a teenager, I hated red hair.  I simply wanted to blend in with the brunettes and the blondes.  I didn’t want to be different.   Thankfully my red head was less carrot colour and more auburn hue. My cousin painfully endured a bright, curly mop of carrot coloured hair, much to his dismay.  It just wasn’t cool in the 70s even when perms became the fashion.  Blondes may have had more fun … but redheads didn’t.  Invariably redheads were easily identified when bunking off school! Redheads were so much easier to spot and identify especially when up to no good.

I’d moan about red hair.  I recall my poor grandmother trying to comfort me by saying that when I grew up I would enjoy and appreciate my beautiful, long flowing locks of red. She recounted tales about the wonderful Maureen O'Hara (of The Quiet Man with John Wayne fame) and how her beautiful mane of red hair caught the attention of the Hollywood screen.  But I was no Maureen O'Hara despite my love of theatre and Irish dancing.

As the years passed I did grow to like my red hair … the long flowing locks are shorter and easier to manage now.  I’ve learned to embrace the ‘redhead difference’ and what it brings.  I’ve read that Maureen O'Hara celebrated her 95th birthday this month.  She continues to sport a mop of red hair.  I wonder if she knows about the Redhead Convention? 

It might be fun to get together and attend next year’s Redhead Convention in Co Cork, Ireland.  If you’re a redhead, note the date in your diary - August 2016. Sounds like a great opportunity for us redheads to get together and celebrate.  Perhaps we’ll see you there?

Maire Rua