Red hair evokes so many emotions. As a child I really thought Anne of Green Gables was written about me, and hated being called carrots. After all, my hair was auburn in color! Couldn’t that horrid Billy Jenks see that? I knew I was a rare thing, sort of like a unicorn, but I secretly longed for beautiful blonde hair. Always be careful what you wish for!
I had no idea my hair color came from a genetic mutation. What?!! Called MC1R, I understand this rare pigment endows just 1-2% of the population with red locks, be they strawberry blonde or carroty orange or auburn. According to Erin LaRosa in The Big Redhead Book, we are the “unicorns of the human world.” Far be it from me to argue with this sage tenet!
Now I feel better about being a redhead…just a few years too late. My once auburn locks lightened over the years, and so much white now mixes into the mix, that my granddaughter doesn’t even think of me as being a redhead! What’s with that? Shopping at HyVee last month, a gentleman stepped back to grant me passage down a crowded aisle and said, “There you go, Blondie! Slip right through there.” Nooooo! I don’t want blonde hair. I want to be a unicorn!
Ultimately I am left with a deep philosophical question: Does my hair make me unique…or is it my personality? I showed my oldest son this favorite picture of how I wish to be seen when I reach old age, and he quickly stated, “Mom. You’re already there!” So proud to be an old unicorn, lol. Fortunately, K will never go through the negative angst associated with being a redhead. She already loves her red hair and is delighted to be a sweet young unicorn. I have done something right. (Not to claim full credit, but some should be due.) Unicorns unite!