They’d have killed me in the Middle Ages

Damn the myth that redheads don’t go grey. I spent my youth boasting that my hair would mellow to blonde as I aged, but you should SEE my roots. Grey AS.

I can’t get to the hairdresser until next Wednesday, so I’ve bought some exorbitantly priced spray stuff to cover the worst bits up.

The Ginger Parrot is telling porkies when she says: “Ginger hair retains its natural pigment a lot longer than other shades, so there’s no need to panic about going grey. Red hair simply fades with age through a glorious spectrum of faded copper to rosy-blonde colours, then to silvery-white.”

It got me thinking – because my brain is far too active – about all the red hair myths.

For a start, the fact that I’m redheaded, greenish eyed AND left handed means I’d have been a total goner if I was living in Medieval times. They’d have burned me as a witch.

Come to think of it, it’s been a problem in modern times too. I was often teased and called a witch in primary school. Children are SO kind to each other. Oh, AND my last name is “House” … cue endless “House on fire” jokes.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

It’s not just my looks that would have condemned me in the Middle Ages. I also share a disturbing number of other characteristics with women who were put on trial for being witches. According to Huffington Post reasons for suspecting someone was a witch included them being female, middle-aged, contentious and stubborn with a turbulent reputation, being accused of crimes such as slander (mag hag) …

Tick to all those.

Mental Floss adds in: milk has spoiled in your fridge and you have had sex out of wedlock.

Erm, yes and yes.

But the crazy isn’t restricted to those dark times.

If you Google “myths about red hair” the second most popular search question that comes up is “do redheads have a soul?”

Seriously, it is.

Apparently each freckle on a redhead represents a soul that they’ve stolen because they don’t have one of their own.

The myths about red hair started way back in ancient Greece. Greek mythology states that redheads turn into vampires after death.

Even today in Corsica, the locals spit and turn around to avoid bad luck if they pass a redhead on the street.

On the upside, a recent University of Hamburg study examined the sex lives of hundreds of German women with different hair colours, and revealed that redheads are significantly more sexually active than their blonde and brunette counterparts.

And the Ginger Parrot notes that we have a superpower: “Redheads can’t absorb sufficient Vitamin D due to low concentrations of eumelanin in their body. This may sound like bad news, but this lower melanin-concentration means that gingers can cleverly produce their own Vitamin D within their body when exposed to low light conditions.”

Cool, huh?

After loathing all my freckles and those playground jokes as a kid, I’ve ended up quite liking being a redhead. I’ve been staring at my roots in the mirror and wondering if I should stop dyeing and go natural. But I can’t quite imagine myself without my titian locks. It would be weird. Much cheaper, but weird.

Song of the day: Split Enz “I see red”

4 thoughts on “They’d have killed me in the Middle Ages

  1. So your superpower is to produce Vitamin D in low light. I can see how that would be useful. Maybe if you were a miner. Or kept in an underground cell as a sex slave for a decade.

  2. Or lived in the North with all the Viking Hordes, which is probably where it comes from. I can’t absorb vit D and I can’t make my own, so I am quite envious of your super power.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s