There's an article in today's Irish Examiner which I have mixed feelings about. It's entitled 'Carrot Tops' Put on a Red Alert.'
Yeah, here we go, Sheena's harping on about being a redhead again, but just hover in my (today I'm wearing) flip flops for a moment. Last week, in the space of two days, I got accosted in the street. The first involved me turning off Liffey Street onto the quays and into the presence of about 6 teenagers. You know the type; hoodies, haircuts akin to the lovechild of Limahl and a possessed set of garden shears. Two of the gimps roared "EWWWWW! GINGER!", while the rest of them pointed and cackled. I mumbled something about them not getting enough attention from their mums, and the usual "ginger is actually beige, you ignorami" and scuttled off. The second scenario was exactly the same, bar the location, which had moved to outside Sandycove Dart station. These little feckers were slightly more aggressive; one disarmed me by screeching monkey noises in my face, while another joined in and near pinned me against a wall. The rest cackled, yaddah, yaddah. I considered pointing out that "orangutans don't actually make that particular ape call, although I appreciate the deviation from the normal taunts", but I opted to mumble"f***king ignorant little *****" instead, making me no better. And society wonders why "ginger" people are short tempered.
Needless to say, I arrived home after both instances in more of an agitated state than normal. So, the fellah said: "why don't you write about that redhead convention that's happening next weekend in Cork? That's bound to be a positive thing..." As it turns out, I was beaten to it - by, I'm assuming, someone of a non-titian-hued persuasion. But we'll get to that in a minute.
The piece throws up the usual redhead issues - we're all going to die of skin cancer; the gene will be extinct by 2060; even the ancient Greeks didn't trust us (they thought we were vampires) - but it also raised some additional points of interest: 40% of Ireland's population carries the redhead gene, and last year Tesco released a Christmas card stating "Santa loves all kids. Even ginger ones."
So, why assume that the article's author wasn't a russet locked goddess? Well, a redheaded person wouldn't have chosen Mick Hucknall or "iconic Irish puppet Bosco" as pictorial ambassadors. Chances are, anyone growing up in the 80s as a redhead would have had Bosco chanted at them in the playground. Just me? Super. In addition to this, the main poster girl for the piece is Paloma Faith, a bottle redhead with no backbone. Furthermore, there's a photo of two ladies outside Cronin's pub in Crosshaven. One is a redhead, the other is sporting a fetching pillar box clown wig... Both are juggling carrots and oranges...
The article states: "Organiser and proud red-head, Joleen Cronin, says the idea for the convention started when she and her red-headed brother were talking about their unusual hair: 'The Americans are big into red-head conventions and we thought it would be a laugh to do the same... it just snowballed from there' (all the way to presumably their family pub in Crosshaven...). As part of the convention there will be certificates for all red-heads in attendance, refreshments of red lemonade and ginger beer, a carrot tossing competition, as well as prizes for the best freckles per square inch and 'best red beard'. A 'Save the Red Heads' speed-dating event will also seek to nurture new red-head relationships and should dispel any claim that red-heads don't have a good sense of humour..."
What, no spinning marmalade cat? No red haired child lost in a tunnel of hairy highland cows? And there I thought it would be a load of staunch redsers huddled in a pub snug in West Cork plotting revenge... As the fellah would say "Sheena, you'll never be happy", and when it comes to how my ilk are portrayed, he'd be right.
If you'd like to go and survey the "ginger" circus while doing your bit for charity (I'm not being smart; thankfully the proceeds are being donated to the Irish Cancer Society), the "convention" takes place next Saturday, the 21st, in Cronin's pub. It runs for 9 hours, from 11am 'til 10pm.
There'll be a lot more than carrots being tossed come closing time.