Lane “Gingers” have others seeing red

By Kelly Mrofcza

Ginger has become something more than a household kitchen spice. It has become a noun, or a title, for the red-haired and freckled people of the world.

Red hair is rare. According to The Washington Post, approximately two to five percent of people in the United States are born with red hair. That means that between 80 and 200 red heads walk the hallways of Lane.

“When there is a ginger in the room, they’re the first thing that I notice. I just see red. It’s pretty hard to avoid a redhead,” said Phillip Truong, Div. 279.

According to the psychology of color from About.com, red is the strongest of all colors. It attracts the most attention. Red heads have this advantage, though sometimes the attention is not desirable.

“The first thing I notice about a red head is their eyebrows. They are just so weird. They’re orange,” said Brandon Givens, Div. 269.

Though fellow teenagers do not have many positive compliments on this unique color of hair, redheads admit to getting a lot of positive attention from adults, hair dressers, and the elderly.

“I always have older people coming up to me and asking me how much money I had to pay for my hair color. I have the pleasure of saying it is all natural,” said Hope Basil, Div. 354.

Besides their hair, redheads also get attention for their skin. It is typically rather pale and doesn’t tan easily, which makes them especially sensitive to the sun. Georgia Tankard, Div. 354, said that her family has an “intense sun protecting paste” called zinc oxide. Her family takes occasional vacations to exotic countries. On one particular trip to New Zealand, Tankard reports that the strength of the sun was “really intense.” The zinc oxide came in handy.

Like many characteristics that are considered different, redheads face plenty of stereotypes.

“When I meet a new person, the first thing they say to me is ‘You must be Irish,’” said Catherine Walsh, Div. 265.

Generally, people think red hair is linked with Irish ancestry.

“I go to Ireland twice a year, and never see anyone with red hair. It’s a huge stereotype that is actually more a part of the Scottish culture. It doesn’t bother me that people think of Ireland or someone being Irish when they see someone with red hair. It’s just a misconception,” said Kayla Ryan, Div. 161.

Irish and Scottish cultures are fairly similar. But redhead, Tomasz Chmurd, Div. 445, is neither. Chmurd is 100 percent Polish.

“I have always thought of faking an Irish accent just for fun,” Chmurd said.

Popular culture has recently developed a joke that redheads are “soul-less.” This joking impression began after a 2005 episode of South Park entitled “Ginger Kids,” where redheaded children were regarded as “tools of the devil, marked with the color of their master.” This is completely fictitious, and for comedic effect. Nevertheless, according to Redheads: Myths, Legends, and Famous Red Hair, Russian traditions posit that red heads have a fiery disposition, and a temper as hot as their hair. The book also tells of a Russian proverb that reads, “there was never a saint with red hair.”

“I don’t usually get many mean comments. Occasionally I get the whole ‘no soul’ thing, which I don’t think is completely right,” said Chmurd.

The jokes are endless.

“I feel like whenever I get a ginger angry, their hair will combust into flames,” joked Artur Glowinski, Div. 356.

Hair combustion is biologically unlikely, but a ginger will leave a definite impression. Being different has always garnered attention, and “gingers” are no exception.