Having red hair is like being born a diamond – you’re immediately tougher, and way better looking. ~ Race Imboden
So, if you’ve read my About page, you’d realise that I have a thing for redheads. Redheaded men, to be more precise. Just by looking at my header you might be able to realise it as well. But where did this ‘obsession’ come from, and why?
A lot of my friends are a little baffled at the craze that I have. But I don’t see it’s anything to be ashamed of, or any different from someone liking blonde-haired or dark-haired men. There is a stigma about redheaded men that photographer Thomas Knights has tried to remove through his Red Hot 100 campaign and exhibition. Henceforth, I will be using images from said exhibition in this post, because they truly encompass the beauty of a redheaded man.
So, WHEN did this obsession start? I could probably give you the year. 2009!
2009 was my last year of University. It was a good year when I think about it. There were less courses I had to do, and I had a lot more freetime. Because it was the third year of my degree the subject matter had narrowed down considerably so I generally only had classes with the same group of people. Amongst these fellow students were a few studying to be surveyors. Unfortunately they were forced to do ‘unrelated’ subjects before they could do their Masters in Surveying, so there was always some grumbling from the four of them.
One of these surveyors in the making was a guy named Tim*, again, like my previous post (which is now private), name has been changed. He was a ginger, probably about 6’1, with a distinctive nose (I really liked his nose). We had to go on an integrated field studies camp and I got to know him a little bit on that trip. He was just a really genuine guy, fairly quiet but nice. I had the biggest crush on him! Nothing happened of course, he didn’t feel the same way about me. He inadvertently introduced me to the Australian progressive rock band Dead Letter Circus, though! (Always a bonus, new music!).
But inevitably, it was his gingerness that had left a mark on me. Shortly after my last Uni exams were finished, I jetted off to Queensland to see two of my best friends. All throughout that trip, I couldn’t stop looking at and searching for redheaded men… There were plenty for me to perve on, it seemed! I got my first boyfriend that year, and unfortunately he wasn’t a ginger, but I joked with him that he should dye his hair red, and I’d dye mine blue (he had a blue-haired fetish!).
My second boyfriend wasn’t a ginger either, nor was a guy I went on a date with in October 2013 (he was from Uzbekistan, it was unlikely that he would’ve been a ginger!). But in between all these things, whenever I’d see a redheaded guy, I would look. And sometimes stare. And often drool.
There was just something about them. They all seemed to have a distinctive face, particularly their nose. Some had freckles, some did not. Some were a real, bright orange, others were auburn. Some were strawberry-blonde, and some you’d just call ‘red’. Often, they were tall and thin. But always pale. Delicious, milky whiteness that I just wanted to caress with my fingers. I am light-skinned (particularly my legs, they don’t often see the sun…) but gingers were in a whole other category.
It wasn’t until recently that I had my first real taste of a ginger. That sounds really weird. But I have finally ticked that off my list – I have made out with a redheaded man. And it was brilliant. I know that his kissing ability had next to nothing to do with his hair colour, but I like to think it added an extra bit of fire. 😉 Do you see what I did there?! *ahem*
When I discovered Thomas Knights’ Red Hot 100 exhibition and campaign, I think I nearly died and went to heaven. AND I WAS NOT ALONE – every post I read on YouTube or Facebook reiterated that I was not the only person with a redhead fetish, and in a way I wanted to be the only one (I’m sure everyone else did too; there is something about the human condition that makes us desire to be different, to be unique).
And suddenly, liking redheads was freaking cool. I’m sure lots of bandwagon fans happened about his campaign, but I suppose that was the point. To show the world that redheaded men were NOT ugly, not pathetic, not weak. They were strong, attractive, intelligent, passionate, interesting, fierce. They were BAMFs (badass motherfuckers). They were something to be admired and desired.
So, I bought the book. In my brief review I state that I originally bought it for the eye-candy, I have no shame in admitting that. But I knew that short text accompanied each subject’s photograph, and I looked forward to reading what they each had to say. There was a whole range of commentary, from humorous one-liners to longer, more sombre bits of prose. Lots of learning to love their hair over time. Many jokes – one stuck out for me that made me laugh but feel sad at the same time: “Q: What did the ginger make for dinner? A: Reservations for one.”
There were some really awful things, too. A lot of these men had been bullied for their hair colour, judged on their hair colour, vilified because of their hair colour. A beautiful ballet dancer from the book said in one of his reviews he is referred to as a “pale redheaded organism”. I don’t think I’d take that as a compliment… Another said a friend’s mum told him when he was 12 that if her son had been born a redhead, she’s have dyed his hair from birth. Is being ginger really THAT bad?
Many of these guys are in the modelling profession, and some talked about how hard it is to get work sometimes. Companies won’t risk using a ginger model for their major products, because it’s something out of the ordinary, because it just isn’t done. They’d rather play it safe with a blonde, brunette or black-haired model. What is so wrong about red hair, you might be wondering?! It really is absurd. In the introduction of Red Hot 100, Jacky Colliss Harvey, a female redhead, talks about where the prejudice against redheaded men may have come from – I won’t dwell on it here.
But just look at these men in my post. They are stunning! Red hair of all brilliant shades and textures. Curly, straight, inbetween. It seems like redheads have the best hair ever. Honestly, most of the guys in this book have thick hair that flops all over the place and I desperately want to run my hands through each and every one of them! Case in point below. (Additionally, Peter Cairns admits to having a ‘solitary black pube’. I laughed out loud when I read it).
Very recently, I had to have my eyes checked at the optometrist. After the lovely lady had looked at my eyes, I had to speak with a consultant to get new lenses organised and paid for. I was served by a very handsome redhead (I’m trying not to use the Australian colloquial term ‘ranga’, which is short for orangutan. I tend to use it in an endearing manner but that’s not always the case for everyone else!) and I really, really, really hoped my face wasn’t a tomato. He had such lovely brown eyes. Turned out he shares the same first name as the ginger from work (ginger from work has brown eyes, too). Completely different shade of red hair, however! I joked with him a little bit, as you do. But that was that. You can’t exactly ask for someone’s phone number when they’re doing a job for you!
When I went back a week later to get my new lenses put in, he was working again, but sadly, I wasn’t served by him this time. Such is life! I bet you anything he is either gay or has a girlfriend. Seems to always be the case. In fact, there are several gorgeous redheads I’ve seen on my bus but when I’ve looked at their hands, all I’ve seen are wedding bands. It’s such a shame. I’ve even googled a few of the guys from Red Hot 100, just for some personal research (
totally not a stalker!) and turns out a couple of them have male partners. DAMMIT. Ha ha… Not that I had any chance in hell with them even if they were straight… 😉
I believe this now concludes my post about redheads. I think I’ve covered most bases. I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading this, and felt all flustered over the photos. The next time you spot a ginger in the street, give him a smile, and I have no doubt his grin in return will completely dazzle and win you over!
But it’s not over until it’s over, so ladies and gents, please enjoy the eye-candy below. Don’t hold your eyes back!
P.S. Here is a promotional video for Red Hot. Please watch – it will make your day, I promise 😉