Hair Care

By Rebecca Goldberg

I don’t work in black and white. I lose my identity. I am, and always will be, the girl with the red hair. Sometimes, I’m the tall girl with the red hair. But most times, it’s just one simple key word that makes me stick out in a crowd – red.

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Here I am at three years old. My color was more of an auburn then. Now, I’m more of a blonde-redhead. Yet, whatever the hue, I can’t imagine being any other way. My whole life I’ve always felt a little bit different – a little outside. I’ll go out on a limb here and assume that this is a universal feeling. My hair personified that for me. It was teenage angst, rebellion and a fashion accessory all in one.

I suppose that I was born lucky then – to be red-headed AND American. We are not so revered in some parts of the world, after all. The British would call me ginger-headed. Several hundred years ago, I may have been killed on sight, as redheads were allegedly the devil’s cohorts.

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Some of BN’s Favorite Red Heads

As a woman, I find that my hair has advantages as it makes me more memorable. Not in a gimmicky way, I hope. It’s more on par with remembering someone for an incredible ring, or scent. When I travel for business, I am immediately recognized. Sure, they glance down at my name badge, but I can tell that they remember me. Hey, minor details. When I go to a bar, I often here whispers that include the following: “check it out, Molly Ringwald is here.” If you’re taking notes, this is the fastest way to send me in the other direction. I don’t put my lipstick in my bra, and this won’t be the first time that I’ll try it.

That is one of the downsides of being a redhead – constant comparisons to Claire in The Breakfast Club and other cliché redhead characters. By the way, I had no idea that so many men have see, and remember, that movie so vividly.

Truth be told, I am at odds with my best asset. I’ve often thought of dyeing it to see if I would be recognized. I wondered how a change in hair color would change my wardrobe – my outlook on life.

I just don’t know that I have the balls.

So, I’m staying as is and just playing with the length from time to time. I’m currently short because I want my red to look more professional. I’ll let it grow again soon, and there will be more of it to capture the eye. Just don’t call me orange, or ginger-headed. It’s red or dead. Don’t you forget it.

Originally published January 2008
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