Being Ginger and the Actor

I waste a lot of time looking at Twitter. Well…it’s not really wasted time. I usually look at it when I’m in waiting rooms or when the television show I’m watching stops being interesting. In any event, there are a lot of sardonic jokesters on that social network, from all over the world. I’ve noticed this somewhat disturbing trend of “ginger” jokes. The one that caught my eye yesterday said simply, “I want to be a ginger.” The user’s name was “Shit Nobody Says.” It isn’t the first derogatory comment about people with red hair that I’ve read, I usually see one or two a day. And of course there was the famous episode of South Park that featured a bit revolving around “Kick a Ginger Day” which apparently inspired school kids all over the country to start kicking fellow students with red hair. (I suspect a lot of people miss the satirical elements of their favorite cartoon shows, even when the show is entirely satirical.) It’s odd. It’s as if this politically correct era has a left a lot of former racists with no groups of people for their generalized derogatory comments. I guess because red heads aren’t a “race” that makes it all okay. And sure, if you have some kind of clever comment, okay. But most of what I read are old racist comments where the slang terms for formerly belittled minorities are replaced with the word “ginger.” I mean, whatever. If you need that sort of thing, I guess. It could be a lot worse. In fact, I feel kind of silly pointing this out…but it’s there.

All this…prejudice, I guess you could call it…gets me to wondering. When I was a kid I got beat up a lot in school. I could never figure why. I was a bit nerdy, but I wasn’t a super nerd. I wasn’t rude and I didn’t make fun of people, so I was never asking for it. As I got older, I started to think that maybe it was simply because I have red hair. Now that I see derogatory comments about red heads every day, that theory seems to carry even more weight. I don’t know how bad women with red hair have it really, I know a lot of people who think that red hair on a woman is sexy, and I know a lot of women who don’t have red hair but color it to look that way. Men never color their hair so people will think their hair is red. (And sorry everyone, but if the rug doesn’t match the curtains then it just doesn’t count.) I found out recently that a large number of sperm banks around the world no longer accept sperm from red-heads. Nobody wants red-headed children. That makes me feel bad for my kid.

This all leads me to my castability. I had an audition for a television drama a couple of weeks ago that required I be very emotional about my character’s recently murdered wife. I did a very good job, but then they gave me the adjustment of breaking down and sobbing as opposed to holding it in (the scene took place in a courtroom while my character was on the stand, and full-on sobbing seemed a bit much to me.) I did what they asked and broke down, which is something I can do, but I don’t care to do it unless I’m actually working because it leaves me feeling sad and exhausted all day even though I know it’s all not real. I thought I would get the part, but then they called to say that they were giving it to someone who lived closer to where they shot the show. Now, maybe it was just about saving money on airfare and hotels, but all this shit about “gingers” has got me wondering…does my red-head make me less castable? I am not the ugliest fellow, in fact I’m pretty good looking…not to be immodest, I know I’m not all hot like Ryan Gosling or whoever, but still. My looks shouldn’t be off-putting. But maybe the simple fact that I have a pretty unique head of hair makes me just that? Some kind of horror show?

I don’t know. It is so strange to turn forty and realize that maybe the whole damn time my lack of popularity comes down to being saddled with a certain color hair? Well, if that’s true…then fuck you. I like my hair. It’s curly and red. And if that freaks you out…you’re kind of an idiot.

Anyway, I’ve decided to keep my hair. If that’s the element of me that keeps you at arm’s length, that’s just fine. You will never know the magic of the red-headed man. You will never know the magic of me. And you will always have a certain amount of emptiness inside. Keep making your jokes if you want. But there are some, perhaps a select few, who know just how amazing red-heads are.

And they win.


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