It's no secret that modern dating is complicated. We occasionally hit the town, hoping to meet someone in real life. This then proves too hard and we turn to online platforms in the hunt for a date. The rapid rate of technological innovation means often our phones are in a more stable relationship with the phone of the person we are dating than we are with them. Rings true, right?
So you can imagine how hard it is for a poor 'soulless' copper top to venture onto a dating app, expecting to get a significant number of left swipes and comments such as: "Do you have a soul?" This can perpetuate the negative stereotyping surrounding gingers and make their dating lives that much harder.
I was in Year 4 when I first noticed I was treated differently. People in my grade would point out that I was different. They would not want to be my partner and they would talk about me behind my back. I would get called red nut and ginger. As the years went on, the names turned into Ranga, Rubes, Blood Nut and a personal one of my own: Renanga (a genius portmanteau of Renee and ranga).
In primary school, boys would not want to date me because I had red hair. They would often go for your standard blonde or brunette, so by 15 I chose to join the norm (or at least try) and dye my hair black. This, of course, meant colouring my eyebrows in, too. It was a unique look; a pale, wannabe brunette with gothic eyebrows.
The hair-dying phase, which is a phase far too common in the world of a ginger, is often encouraged by the nasty passing comments we all hear on a regular basis. It isn't uncommon to hear a young or middle-aged man shout: "Do you the curtains match the drapes?" Maybe it's because people like to 'out' the different. The negative stigma surrounding gingers and redheads has, in the past, meant that we got picked last in the dating scene, until more recently, when everything seemed to take a turn...
After high school, attitudes started to change. I eventually dyed my hair back to red (after lots of bleaching). Then, rather than mothers commenting on how 'stand out' the red hair was, people who were my age and interested in dating me seemed to love the uniqueness of my red hair. My hair and complexion were actually something that drew them in. People no longer cared about the stereotype of rangas being different and having no souls; they wanted to be with a ranga because we were different.
I think I can safely speak for most gingers when I say we are now not the only ones embracing our unique look. I rarely get negative comments from people anymore and I believe people love that others are different.
In fact, over the past few years, the majority of attention I've got in the dating scene has been positive. When I do get extra attention or comments, I always feel great. I feel thankful that I am a ginger and love that I am a little more unique. Being ginger is different, but it also gives you an edge over others. There has been such a swing in modern dating life for gingers that some people specifically seek gingers and redheads as their dating preference. Perhaps we have the likes of famous redheads such as Emma Stone, Amy Adams, Michael Fassbender and Ed Sheeran to thank for raising our profile.
So, do I like being a ginger in the current dating scene? I can actually answer YES! Has it always been easy? Heck no! But my advice to younger redheads and gingers is to stick it out. The time will come when you'll not only accept your unique features but embrace them.
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