The Redhead Survival Guide
Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone! I was thinking about this lovely holiday which gives us an excuse to wear green, pinch people, and drink whisky (the Irish are so charming). And I thought, what could I write about in regard to this day? Oh, right, I live with two redheads. Those of you who don't have a lot of experience with the mystical ginger 2% of the population may think "oh lord, like the color of your hair makes you so special." But, I'm sorry to tell you, you're clearly not well versed in this field and since I am married to a redhead, and have actually created one myself (learned that trick in Advanced Baby Making 402), I'm going to deem myself an expert on this topic and share all my secrets with you now. Secrets of survival if you will.
Here we go.
Tip #1: Redheads are just MORE!
They are more. "More what?" you may say. They are more everything. Erik calls this the ginger multiplier effect. He brought this up to me when I told him people with red hair are the most beautiful. He said sometimes that is true, the red hair multiplies a pretty person into a downright gorgeous person. But he claims the same goes for if a person is NOT pretty, it makes them seem EXTRA not pretty (hahaha this sounds so much more horrible and superficial when I write it out but I don't even care). Think Emma Stone and Carrot Top. Emma Stone is pretty, but the red hair makes her extra wow gorgeous... Carrot Top's red hair makes him extra wow scary (sorry Carrot Top, but I'm guessing that's kind of what you're going for)!
Also, haven't you ever noticed how loud redheads tend to be? Sorry, gingers, but this stereotype exists for a reason!
But I think this goes far beyond the physical. Which leads me to...
Tip #2: Redheads feel everything more than you do
Like, literally they require more anesthesia than everybody else on the planet. I thought this was a joke until Erik had his wisdom teeth removed and the dentist was explaining their special redhead brew to me and how he'd be extra loopy and fun to deal with after the procedure. Even over the counter cold medicine will hit Erik like a hammer and make him totally loopy.
They're also more sensitive to temperature. When I put my cold hands or feet on Erik, he will shudder and tell me it's actually painful. (Don't worry, ladies, he doesn't get a free pass, he is still required to warm my frosty limbs. Pretty sure that's in the bylines of every wedding agreement.)
You have not experienced "HANGRY" until you have experienced a redhead's NEED FOOD NOW hunger anger. I swear Erik transforms into another human being when he is hungry. And if Willow is up a lot at night, even though I'm the one getting up and taking care of her, it's Erik who drags the next day because he FEELS EVERYTHING, and that hour of sleep he lost always affects him more than me.
This also applies to Willow, who is the sweetest baby 99% of the time (because I am a professional redhead tamer I guess), but if you've kept her up 20 minutes past bedtime or if I try to do anything but feed her when that's the next step in her routine, she will unleash a beastly fury that you really can't comprehend when you see her normal sweet face. It is 0 to 60 in a flash with that one.
Of course, beyond the literal physical aspects, this plays into their emotions...
Tip #3: Redheads wear their hearts on their sleeves
So, while I am 100% certain that redheads feel everything more, this is amplified by the fact that they are such transparent people, you can literally SEE them feeling everything. When Erik is angry, you know it. When he is delighted, you know it. Willow is the same way, and granted, she's a baby... I'm pretty sure most babies aren't playing it cool and hiding their feelings. But Willow definitely does have STRONG feelings about everything. She knows what she wants when she wants it, just like her daddy. No ambivalence there. When she decides you've held her long enough, YOU HAVE HELD HER LONG ENOUGH and she will tolerate no dilly dallying while you remedy the situation!
Tip #4: Always have sunscreen because duh
I mean, this is just a good life tip for gingers and their loved ones everywhere. And don't worry about too much sunscreen blocking out the Vitamin D absorption (I know that's what you were thinking) because redheads have evolved to create their own. Years of avoiding the sun have taught them well. Clever little shade dwellers.
Tip #5: Prepare to live in the shadows
This sounds gloomy. But as a very introverted person, I am always happy when someone else takes the spotlight. Redheads will always take the spotlight. I'm not sure if it's their loudness, their unique appearance, or just a magnetic personality thing. But people ALWAYS remember Erik before me. Our mechanic is a great example. Erik has gone to this mechanic a few times. I've gone at least double the number of times he has, but this man can never remember who I am. He always ask my name and when I tell him he says "OH HEIDENTHAL! How is Erik doing!?" because everyone remembers that charming bastard. It's fine, really. I laugh. And I love that strangers always compliment Willow's beautiful red hair. But if you aren't prepared to be noticed second, I would advise not marrying a redhead!
Tip #6: Always hug a redhead
I can't tell you how many people have told Erik or me that he is an excellent hugger. He truly is the greatest hugger I've ever met. A title I don't hand out lightly ;) But it's not just him. People have told me they've never seen a baby hug like Willow does, clearly she is also an inherently awesome hugger. I always complimented our redheaded midwife's hugs because there was so much feeling in them! My mom, not 100% redhead but red enough, and a stellar hugger. So what I'm saying here is, don't miss out. Get those 100% certified redhead hugs.
And that's it! You may have read this list and thought "hm this sounds more like an Erik survival guide" and this may be true. Maybe, just maybe, you can't boil down 2% of the population into a simple formula. But I think these tips will serve you well when dealing with the wonderful redheads in your life. I'm quite a fan of them personally and highly recommend everyone having at least one and taking some extra time to appreciate to appreciate your redhead in all their glory!
PS, it never hurts to boost a redhead's ego ;)