11 Things You Didn’t Know About Redheads

Life
Do redheads come from another planet? Do they have super powers? These aren’t uncommon questions thrown around at the ginger community, so I decided to read up on our flame-haired friends and let you in on a few scientific secrets about these mysterious people. I have never considered myself a proper redhead because my sister Sarah’s locks are undoubtably redder than mine (her friends fondly call her Red — but not in like, an Orange is the New Black kind of way). That being said, people who know me and not my sister consider me to be pure ginger. And either way, I am aware of a certain amount of discrimination against us, which makes my mind boggle just as equally as any other discrimination.

According to the Facebook event page for National Hug A Ginger Day:

“In 2008, a Facebook group was made in Canada entitled ‘Kick a Ginger Day.’ The inspiration for the group came from an episode in South Park called ‘Ginger Kids.’ Thousands of redheads were kicked, hundreds of arrests were made. A brave redhead took over the group, and changed the name to ‘National Hug a Ginger Day.’ There is talk of ‘gingerism’ being the latest form of accepted discrimination. On February 22nd, hug a ginger. Stop the discrimination. Be happy… and eat good food.”

There are several projects such as this one in existence at the moment. In Breda in The Netherlands they celebrate Redhead Day, with more than 5000 gingers taking over the city for a two-day festival. Other projects surrounding redheaded-ness cause me to furrow my brow somewhat, but here you can find a list of great things that redheads have achieved in the world and why they are awesome. I get a bit uncomfortable if someone starts to explain why people with one physical trait are better than others. However, there are some scientifically proven things that our red-haired buddies have that we don’t. So I’ve collected a few interesting facts for you:

1. Redheads Don’t Turn Into Vampires When They Die

I know, I know. We all thought this one was true for sure, because how else can you explain redheads’ extreme aversion of the sun? Deathly pale skin and blood red hair coloring? Most of you will have heard this scientific theory on South Park, but the initial idea came from Ancient Greece.

2. They Haven’t Had It Easy

Redheads have also been accused of being evil gods, devils and witches. The list of haters includes Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks, Aristotle, Hitler, the media — and it goes on and on. I’m not sure where this comes from, but I’m guessing it’s a minority thing? So be nice next time you’re talking to a redhead; maybe even give them a hug. That would make the world a better place, considering hugs are the best.

3. Technically They Are Mutants

The gene that causes red hair (which is recessive) comes from the MC1R — which is a genetic mutation. Movies have lead me to believe that this also means that redheads have hidden mutant super powers, right?

4. Mutant Superpower No. 2: Left Handedness

Mutant genes apparently like to hang out together, so if you have red hair you are more likely to be left handed. My sister is left handed and has red hair — double mutant! (I wonder if she has any special powers?)

5. Redheads Are More Sensitive To Temperature

Now I have the perfect answer next time one of my colleagues asks me why I still have my coat on two hours after arriving at work. It’s because of my hair color, obviously! I can’t stand the cold — it kills me — and I go to great lengths to keep myself protected from the cold. I can also confirm problems with the other end of the temperature scale, because I can’t handle being too warm. No cosy spooning in front of the fireplace for me!

6. They Never Go Grey (Just A Weird Yellow Color)

Red hair color can fade to blonde or white but it will never turn grey. I’m so curious about this one, but I have to admit I have noticed a few stranded greys of my own. I’ll check with my sister in 50 years time and let you know.

7. Everything Hurts Them More Than It Hurts You

Redheads need on average 20 percent more anesthetic than dark-haired people, so think twice next time you brush off a seemingly tiny redhead injury. We’re not just being dramatic; it really does hurt more!

8. Scotland And Ireland Are Winning The Competition

About 13 percent of the population in Scotland is redheaded, and in Ireland this figure is around 10 percent. These stats are way above the world average, hovering at one or two percent. A possible reason for this higher concentration is due to the location (in cloudy climates there is less need for protection from the sun).

9. Redheads Have Less Hair On Their Heads

So I haven’t actually counted (and I would consider myself to have really thick hair), but my sister (the proper redhead) indeed has really thin hair. Apparently fire balls are better able to absorb sun through their heads, because they [usually] live in a cloudy climate, remember? More about the sun thing coming right up:

10. They Are Better At Generating Vitamin D

If Ireland and Scotland are famous for one thing, it is for their beautiful green fields. As I always say to people who compliment me on my ancestors’ grass: “It’s green because it always rains.” The cloudy and rainy weather in that part of the world means that not much sunlight gets through, and we need outdoor sun exposure to avoid a Vitamin D deficiency (which can lead to weak bones or even osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease). The redheads in cloudy, grey climates are better at absorbing sun to product Vitamin D than people with dark hair — which means we are at less risk of osteoporosis but (and I bet you saw this coming) more risk of skin cancer.

11. They Are Not Going Extinct

This rumor has done the rounds a few times and I am happy to tell you it is not true. Even though redheads only make up about one or two percent of the world’s population, people carrying the red-haired gene are far more in number. So as long as Irish people keep emigrating to all ends of the world, the survival of the redheads is ensured.

First published on Bustle Feb 2015

Images: Fotolia; Giphy

13 Fashion Problems That Only Extremely Sensitive People Will Understand

Life
We have all dealt with uncomfortable items of clothes from time to time, sometimes we make that choice before going out the door. You know, the heels that are a couple of inches too high, the shapewear that renders you unable to sit? We’ve all been there. For other people, even their everyday clothes are uncomfortable and going out into the world is a constant struggle with everything all around them all the time. Sounds dramatic right, but I guess a few of you know what I mean. I’ve not been diagnosed or anything but I have been aware for most of my life that I am more sensitive than the average person when it comes to sensations. However, reading about Highly Sensitive People on Wikipedia for this article makes me feel like I should get my ass down to the doctor to get checked out! Apparently being Highly Sensitive is something that affects 1 in 5 people so it’s a lot more common than I thought it would be. I guess everyone just tries to get on with life and may not realise it is a real thing. I hope by listing the things that bother me the most I can help others (and myself) to address and avoid these uncomfortable fashion situations.

1. THE DOWNWARD CREEPING CROTCH

OK that maybe sounds worse than it is, but this drives me crazy. I wear dresses A LOT, and I love colours, so that means that I wear tights almost every day. I have yet to find the perfect solution for this issue. The problem is that gravity seems to love the crotch of my tights, and so instead of just staying where it should be, it tends to like to hang out half way down my thigh. I cannot function until I pull everything back up, which involves collecting the excess starting at the ankles and pulling it up to my knees, then getting it back up to where it should be by doing a special wiggle dance. When everything is back in the right place, it feels SO GOOD. My boyfriend says that he never sees other women pulling at their tights the whole time so I’m guessing either other ladies have tights that don’t fall down, or it doesn’t bother them. I’ve been told to wear knickers over my tights but than the knickers go down with the tights and then it is doubly annoying.

2. DROPPING BRA-STRAPS

I’m guessing every bra-wearing-person goes though this, but maybe it bothers me more than the average person. I feel like I’m in a straight jacket if my bra straps slip down over my shoulder to dangle annoyingly towards my elbows.

3. SLEEVE RESTRICTIONS BASED ON POSSIBLE BRA-STRAP SIMILARITY

I can’t wear cap sleeves because I go mad thinking my bra strap is hanging down all day.

4. TAKING YOUR SHOE OFF SEVERAL TIMES A DAY

I have to stop what I am doing a couple of times a day to take off my shoes and fix the seam of my socks because it is bothering my toe. Why can’t socks be made without a seam? The seam of tights is worse, because it is on the end of the toe it always ends up under my toes and then I have to take my shoes off and fix it. If I try to ignore these things I start to feel very uncomfortable and panicked. Needless to say, I avoid walking in sand, the thought of it getting between my toes even makes me shiver right now in the sand-less safety of my sofa.

5. SUNGLASSES ARE A BASIC SURVIVAL ACCESSORY

My eyes cannot handle sun, I wear sunglasses for most of the year. My blinds are always closed at work. If it is too bright I cannot concentrate, my forehead does the frowny thing so bad that I get a pain in my face.

6. BEING AWARE THAT A HAIR JUST FLOATED DOWN AND LANDED ON YOU

While typing this I had to stop to pick up a stray hair that had fallen om my arm, that sensation bothers me so much, when I am sure other people wouldn’t even notice if there was a hair on their arm.

7. REDOING YOUR HAIRSTYLE OVER AND OVER BECAUSE ONE HAIR IS PULLING TOO TIGHT

So I can spend ages creating the most fabulous up-do you can even imagine and end up tearing it down and throwing hair-pins at the wall two seconds later because one single hair was pulling too tight.

8. TOO MUCH NOISE CAUSES YOUR BRAIN TO SHUT DOWN

If the television or radio is a bit too loud it’s like my brain can’t function anymore. I can’t read or write or do anything until I go turn it down, and then other people complain that they can’t hear it anymore.

9. FEELING VERY EMOTIONAL ABOUT BEING TOO COLD

So you may already have noticed that I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to cold weather. Why else would anyone go to the effort of writing a whole article about how to keep warm! Cold weather makes me want to say bad words.

10. FEELING VERY EMOTIONAL ABOUT BEING TOO HOT

I tend to put on many many layers of clothes before leaving the house, that often means that by the time I get where ever I am going that I am overheating. This makes me feel claustrophobic, hyper and leads to me tearing off my clothes upon getting home.

11. NOT BEING ABLE TO IGNORE SMALL ANNOYING THINGS

I cannot count the times per day I have to have to liberate underwear that has crawled between the cheeks, thongs are not for me! I can’t imagine that the shape of my bottom is so unique that I am the only person who suffers from this. So probably the average person

12. CUTTING OFF ALL THE LABELS

It doesn’t matter how expensive something was, or how special the brand, the first thing I do when I get an item of clothes home from the shop is to cut off all the labels. Suffering all day because of an itchy label is just not something I can tolerate.

13. I CAN’T CARRY A CLUTCH (OR ANYTHING)

I adore tiny handbags as much as the next guy but no matter how many of them I buy, I still can’t seem to master the skill of constantly having something in my hands. I can only handle handbags with a long diagonal over-the-shoulder strap, anything else drives me potty. I need to have my hands free at all times, which means I LOVE pockets!

First published on Bustle March 2015

Images: Asos, giphy, Flickr:annajuliesh