It ain’t easy being a redhead. You’re pale, you’re freckly, your hair is a weird colour and people make fun of it.
So it fills my heart with joy when I see photos of Roodharigendag, a yearly festival in the Netherlands for people with naturally red hair. Held last weekend in Breda, more than 5000 redheads from 80 countries attended, with the latest gathering breaking its own Guinness Book of Records entry for the photo featuring the most redheads in one spot – 1,672 people.
I have no idea why I was so thrilled when my daughter was born with red fuzz on her head. I didn’t think, poor little thing, you’ll blister in the sun, you’ll be called a ranga, you’ll curse your tresses. I was totally besotted with my little mini-me.
(NB If you’re wondering what’s smeared all over her mouth in the photo above, it’s sand. Sand was her favourite food as a baby.)
My eldest’s red hair grew like grass, straight up in the air. It was quite the talking point. When gravity finally took hold, it fell into a perfect, silky bob (with a little help from the hairdresser). It never needed combing, it was streaked with gold and glorious.
She has never mentioned any ranga teasing in the playground. It probably helps that she has honeyed skin, not ghostly white; she’s generally freckle free, aside from a cute little sprinkle on her nose; and she has dark lashes and brows, not invisible ones.