ginger discrimination

The other day my chatty chiropractor told me he thought I’d be a great match for Prince Harry.

When I asked him why, he gave two reasons:  first, I’m worthy of being a princess and second, we’re both gingers. I can argue with neither point.

But I felt I must tell him I’ve never been particularly drawn to ginger men. (Nor am I drawn to ginger women, for that matter, aside from that pretty character in Pitch Perfect.) He agreed that red-haired (more accurately orange-haired) men are often not the most appealing, but then opined that Harry is an exception. I agree; never mind the blue blood or age difference…

This conversation sparked further discussion on a topic I’ve been thinking about lately. Why waste my time thinking about such superficial things like hair color or complexion? Well…it seems ginger men often find me attractive. And their feelings of attraction toward me are rarely reciprocated. When one recently found my online dating profile, he seemed ecstatic — and he seemed to think my response would be equally jubilant.

My first reaction? “Ew.”

People like to point out that my anti-ginger bias seems contradictory. After all, I am a redhead. And my own father is a ginger — with the pale skin, every inch of that which has been exposed to the sun covered in freckles…and I am fond of my father. As I age, I also find that my skin is more sensitive and likely to burn in the sun.

Still, I don’t identify as part of this particular group of people with certain hair and skin pigmentation in any way that endears them to me particularly, at least not any more than I suspect dishwater blondes feel camaraderie toward one another based on hair color. In fact (perhaps as a result of several years of childhood torment), I am quick to point out these distinctions:  my hair is auburn, my eyes are dark and my skin tans with exposure to sunlight. I am covered in “angel kisses,” not freckles (and, no, they are not the same thing). I can see no reason for joining in any sort of ginger convention — I tend to choose my tribe based on other like characteristics. The enormous crush I had on the son of my father’s best friend when I was 13 years old notwithstanding, I am simply not attracted to ginger men.

But I’ve often heard that I should keep an open mind and, further, I’ve learned first-hand that some people are just not as photogenic as others. So out with him I went, determined not to make lifetime happiness decisions based on such superficial criteria.

And here’s what I found:  despite his relative financial success, despite his spontaneity, despite his sense of humor, he proved overeager (edging toward stalkerish) and further creeped me out with intimations that I reminded him of female relatives. (After all, I’ve seen my father in his skivvies, and that makes it less — not more — appealing to think of seeing another ginger in the flesh.) In summary:  not attracted.

If all of this reveals me as a sort of superficial bigot, so be it. Perhaps I am.