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The Bizarre Journey of Ginger Self-Acceptance

Happily being ginger in the land of gingers, Ireland.

Since I was a wee bab I’ve been a redhead, a ranga, firecrotch, carrot top, kissed by fire – ginger. I’ve heard all of these nicknames and more. The interesting thing is that people are ALWAYS so proud of themselves when they throw out a nickname associated with gingers as an insult. Like in my 23 years of having a giant quiff of ginger hair plopped on my skull that no one else I’ve EVER encountered has said it before them in that precise moment of time.

I love being ginger. To me, there’s nothing more fun than having hair that makes me look like the main character of an anime. My natural hair colour makes me look like a kickass duelist in Yu-Gi-Oh. But I wouldn’t throw the five Exodia cards off of a ship because I’m not a dick like Weevil Underwood.

A ginger legend in the making.

As a kid, was it rough? Extremely. High school isn’t easy for a ginger kid that:

1)  is shorter than average

2) has a very high voice that doesn’t break for a GOOD while

3) isn’t the most masculine person on the planet

4) carries a few extra pounds

5) has hair that is literally the colour of Wotsits

I fucking hated high school. Kids would torment me for having red hair, from the minute I started school until the minute I left it. I totally got over by the end and couldn’t care less what ‘insults’ were thrown at me, insults that were largely facts coming from people who’s names nor faces I can no longer remember. It isn’t insulting to shout ‘ginger’ at someone, though it is rather embarrassing when you just wanna get to chemistry.

At one point when I was in year 10 or so, some of the idiots in my year (a school year with more than its fair share of arseholes) decided to drag literally every single ginger kid in school into one place and then just…laugh. I remember being stood there with my friend Amy and the two of us just sorta questioning this actually fucking happening to us at that moment in time. It was sorta surreal and left a mark on me as to how I felt people saw me after that.

THIS was what high school David looked like. Hair for days.

Also, in school people would outwardly ask me about the colour of my real life actual pubic hair. They asked these questions in public, yes I know teenage boys are gross and have a lot of shit going on but that still doesn’t make it okay to ask anything about someone’s pubes. I can’t believe you guys made me write pubes on my blog, on my blog that I send to potential employers, so thanks for that awkward as all hell question the best part of a decade ago and thanks for making me discuss this on my online portfolio. Ya dirtbags.

It was a very strange time for me, I always felt like I was immediately less attractive being ginger like it was a point against me in whatever attraction score system people are using in their heads. But the real damage came in when a friend, a close friend, said to me once ‘You’re really attractive, like, for a ginger guy.’

Could have ended that sentence halfway through my man, you really coulda done.

I had this real breakthrough moment as a teenager, I became obsessed with the manga and anime series Bleach, it’s sorta one of the most iconic series of the early-mid 00’s, sadly the quality kinda declined and it fell out of popularity with all but about three people, including myself – I’m getting sidetracked.

Ichigo Kurosaki, my teenage ginger hero

The main character is a ginger teenage boy named Ichigo Kurosaki, that’s just like me apart from my name being ‘Ichigo’ and being the main character, I’m not even sure I’m the main character in my own life but we’ll open that can of worms another time.

Early in the manga, I mean early, like volume 2 or 3 out of 70 or so in total, Ichigo references that he doesn’t care what people think of him, he doesn’t care how people see him, and if he did, he would have dyed his hair long ago. I remember reading that and just thinking he was the fucking coolest person ever, his own act of confidence and rebellion was just being himself. He then, of course, defeats the souls of the dead which have become trapped as monsters in a sort of purgatory state- the first few story arcs of Bleach are absolutely amazing, you’re missing out if you haven’t read them.

Groundbreaking to the guy who hated his hair colour and was struggling internally with his own sexuality too, whether he really knew that or not.

I carried that with me from then on, I had the biggest ginger fringe for a while and since then I’ve had the biggest ginger quiff and a ginger beard that comes and go when I get the settings wrong on my beard trimmer. The self-consciousness I felt with my hair was slowly replaced with true ginge pride.

At an photography exhibition of gingers in an airport?

As an adult, hey things are fucking great. I’m an adult man with orange hair and an orange beard and it makes me feel 10x more attractive because it’s so freaking cool that I have naturally orange hair. Plus it means I stand out in a crowd and people can find me more easily, though it does mean I have to wear a cap if I don’t want to be spotted, i.e. going into my old place of work to buy a pick’n’mix. (Update: I went into my old place of work wearing a cap for a pick’n’mix as I craved one after writing this, and they’ve gotten rid of the pick’n’mix section)

There are a few fun things about the ginger-man-with-facial-hair experience though, the most common is going to any public gathering and wondering how long it will take to hear ‘omg it’s Ed Sheeran’ or ‘You have a Prince Harry look about you’, no my friends, the only things we have in common are the colour of our hair and the fact we’re pasty men with a bit of face fuzz. Our face structure, all around looks and bank accounts could not be more different if they tried to be.

22 year old David being ginger and loving life with gin. Get it????

People always whip out that fact about anaesthetic and gingers, but it always contradicts. Am I more tolerant to pain? Do I need more anaesthetic? What do you give to a ginger who doesn’t know what to do with his Instagram? An Aesthetic. I made that one up on the spot, I’m a comedy genius.

This was one of those stream of consciousness posts, no real beginning, middle or end, just a bunch of anecdotes that some (I’m referring to me on a Friday night after a few gins) may enjoy reading. I think it’s enough to get me featured in the next Red Hot calendar, no?

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