Thursday, November 15, 2007

Red Headed Babies

National Blog Posting Month Day 15

When I was in high school I took a class in philosophy with a hippie 60s relic teacher. He liked to be cool and hip and rap with his students. In class I set next to the girlfriend of a guy on the math team with me. We’ll call her Tina. Tina was a gorgeous redhead and way out of my league. Her boyfriend was a shadetree mechanic that drove to school a dune buggy that he had built himself. He was not a guy I would cross if I even wanted to.

At least weekly Mr. Hippie would make some crack about me and Tina getting together and making “redheaded babies.” See, he knew that since red hair is a recessive trait, two redheads will have redheaded kids. It got to be really uncomfortable and made me self-conscious of being a redhead. A skinny geeky freckled kid has enough trouble without being inadvertently harassed by a teacher about his hair color. Somewhere along the line, being a redhead became cool, but not soon enough to help my social life.

Somehow a thread about the sex lives of celebrities on the Achenblog turned to famous redheads (which is as close to staying on-topic as the Boodle gets). Names thrown out included Nicole Kidman, Susan Sarandon, Bette Midler, Frances Conroy, Kirsten Dunst, Ann-Margret, Shirley MacLaine, Lindsay Lohan, Marilu Henner. Julianne Moore, the great Maureen O'Hara. Meg Ryan, Annette O'Toole, Annette Bening, Reba McEntire, Debra Messing, Anne Robinson, Cate Blanchett, Courtney Love, Elizabeth I of England, Florence Nightingale, Geena Davis, Geri Halliwell, Katharine Hepburn, Marcia Cross, Mary McAleese, Mary Robinson, Nicola Roberts, Patsy Palmer, Rene Russo, and Sarah Ferguson.

Us guys have it rougher in coming up with equally sexy male redheads. Most people will immediately name Robert Redford, but he is more a strawberry blonde, emphasis on the blonde. Famous guy redheads include Ron Howard, David Caruso, and the eponymous Carrot Top. Not a stellar bunch.

Being curious I went and Googled “real redheads” (which is incidentally a very bad search to do in a public location with SafeSearch off) and found this canonical list of natural redheads on film. The requirement was that they be a movie actress, a natural redhead and not dead or old.

No sooner was his list published than his readers were commenting that not all the women were “natural”.

Everytime I hear the phrase “natural redhead,” I think of the Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins. That book has a list of famous redheads:

The Twelve Most Famous Redheads
  1. Lucille Ball, comedienne
  2. Gen. George Custer, military maverick
  3. Lizzie Borden, hatchetwoman
  4. Thomas Jefferson, revolutionary
  5. Red Skelton, comic
  6. George Bernard Shaw, playwright
  7. Judas Iscariot, informer
  8. Mark Twain, humorist
  9. Woody Allen, humorist
  10. Margaret Sanger, feminist
  11. Scarlet O’Hara, bitch
  12. Bernard Mickey Wrangle, bomber

In the book, Bernard is a radical bomber nicknamed the Woodpecker that has come to Hawaii and has been detained by Princess Leigh-Cheri. Bernard suspects that Leigh-Cheri has a crush on him. This leads to the most tender romantic moment between two redheads ever written.
Leigh-Cheri held a strand of her hair to her eyes. As if in comparison, she reached across the table of where Bernard sat opposite her and examined one of his unruly ringlets. The hair of most so-called redheads actually is orange, but it was red, first color in the spectrum and the last seen by the eyes of the dying, it was true-blue red that clanged like fire bells about the domes of Bernard Mickey Wrangle and Princess Leigh-Cheri.

There followed an embarrassed silence, tense and awkward, broken finally with a snap by the Woodpecker’s abrupt plunging of his hand into his jeans. Patterning his gesture after the successful Jack Horner, he pulled out a single hair and held it aloft. It glowed like a copper filament. “Can you match that?” he challenged.

Okay buster. Okay okay okay okay okay okay.

Beneath the table, beneath a map of Hawaii with extraneous atolls, she submarined a hand into the depths of her skirt. And slid it along the flat of her thigh. It winnowed into her panties. She yanked. Ouch! Damn it! She yanked again. And presto, there it was, curly and stiff, and as red as a thread from a socialist banner.

“What do you thing of that?” she asked brightly. Then she noticed that from the tip of the hair there hung, like a tadpole’s ballon, a tiny telltale bead of fishy moisture. O sweet Jesus, no! She released her grip on the crumpled toilet paper. It fluttered to the deck like a stricken dove. Her face heated as crimson as the hair, and then some. She could have died.

“What do I think of that?” The Woodpecker’s voice was very gentle. “I think it could make the world a better place.”
Now there is a couple destined to have red-headed babies.

BlatantCommentWhoring™: Who is your favorite redhead?


The Mistress of the Dark said...

Hey, you forgot Danny Elfman!

You know I don't think I know of any redheaded couples :(

yellojkt said...

I don't think there are many. Having people constantly coo about what cute kids you would have is a big cock block.

Anonymous said...

How could you forget Jessica Rabbit?

How could anyone?


Read/Think/Live said...

Tom Robbins loves redheads and I love his writing:

I used to be prejudiced against blondes and even more against redheads. I didn't become conscious of my bias until I was about 23 years old and developed a crush on a guy who had a very pale complexion and light strawberry blond hair. In the process of examining my feelings I realized I had always thought of light-complexioned people as being less trustworthy and possibly less intelligent than brunets. I'm sure it's just a result of the fact that everyone in my extended family has dark hair, so blonds are "not our kind." Once I became aware of the prejudice it became much less potent, but I never made the leap to thinking red hair is particularly attractive. When women dye their hair red, I just assume they are looking for extra attention and enjoy being in the social spotlight. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

TBG said...

When my (blonde) cousin and her (brunet) husband had their first child, the doctor declared as he was pulling the boy out, "Someone in someone's family better have red hair!"

Fortunately for my cousin, her mother is a true redhead. It wasn't just that first baby, either; both of my cousins kids have bright red hair.

yellojkt said...

Those pictures were just what happened to be on my hard drive (I had to hunt down Ron Howard for gender equality). I used to have some pictures of Jessica Rabbit being drawn very, very, naughtily, but I lost them in an unfortunate hard drive crash.

The Tom Robbins link is great. Here it is in clickable form. Thanks.

My son has very dark hair and there are going to be some awkward questions a few generations down the line.

The Pup said...

Still Life with Woodpecker-- I just realized a few more extra allusions jokes in "Going Postal" by Terry Pratchett. Pratchett is a Tom Robbins fan?

Thanks. I think.

Impetua said...

My favorite redhead? My daughter, and of course myself. :) My whole family has red hair.

My redheaded blue-eyed brother and his dishwater-blonde brown-eyed wife have three sons.

No. 1 son: dark auburn hair, hazel eyes.
No. 2 son: dishwater blonde hair, brown eyes.
No. 3 son: red hair (the orange end of the spectrum), blue eyes.

Isn't genetics fun?

Sue T. said...

I read somewhere a few weeks ago that redheads (called "gingers" in the U.K.) are very discriminated against in England. Be glad you don't live there!

Anonymous said...

I am not sure about you all, but as a redheaded woman, I find the idea of dating a redheaded man downright incestuous. I do love Still Life with Woodpecker, though