JL Merrow and Ginger

Is it Because I is Ginger?

Red, auburn, ginger, strawberry blonde… call it what you will, it’s a colour of hair I’m rather partial to. Red hair runs in my family—although sadly, when it saw me, it ran the other way. I have a ginger character in Hard Tail—actually, two, if you count Wolverine, the cat. And okay, Adam’s main purpose is to complicate Tim’s life and provide comic relief—but he’s still dear to my heart, with his gangling limbs and indecipherable speech.

Why is it that guys with ginger hair are so often treated like, well, a red-headed step-child? What does the world have against red hair?

How can some people look at this:

And see this:

It seems the prejudice against people with red hair is deep-seated. Apparently in medieval times, red-heads were seen as having “a beastly sexual desire and moral degeneration”—sounds to me like they might be fun guys to get to know!

It’s good to see, though, that there’s been something of a backlash in popular culture against this insidious gingerism of late:

The Doctor: Am I…ginger?
Rose: No, you’re just sort of…brown.
The Doctor: [disappointed] Aw, I wanted to be ginger! I’ve never been ginger!
 Doctor Who, 2.1

Nanny Ogg’s (newly human) cat Greebo [taking a ginger cat mask]: Aaalwaaays waanted to bee ginger.
Butler (nervously): On you it looks good, sir!
 Witches Abroad, Terry Pratchett

And if ginger looks like this, who could possibly say it’s a bad thing?

Defence rests, m’lud.


What do you think? Have you ever been bullied for being ginger, or known someone who has? Have you ever experimented with hair dye to bring out a fierier side of your personality? Were you surprised by people’s reactions?


JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour.

Find JL Merrow online at: http://www.jlmerrow.com

All commenters will be entered into a draw for winner’s choice of an e-book from my backlist, PLUS a gift certificate for $25 from Amazon (or the e-book retailer of your choice). The more blog tour posts you comment on, the more chances you get! See my website here for full itinerary. Contest ends Weds May 23rd. The winner will be picked around noon, GMT.

Finding love can be a bumpy ride.

His job: downsized out of existence. His marriage: dead in the water. It doesn’t take a lot of arm twisting for Tim Knight to agree to get out of London and take over his injured brother’s mountain bike shop for a while. A few weeks in Southampton is a welcome break from the wreck his life has become, even though he feels like a fish out of water in this brave new world of outdoor sports and unfamiliar technical jargon.

The young man who falls—literally—through the door of the shop brings everything into sharp, unexpected focus. Tim barely accepts he’s even in the closet until his attraction to Matt Berridge pulls him close enough to touch the doorknob.

There’s only one problem with the loveable klutz: his bullying boyfriend. Tim is convinced Steve is the cause of the bruises that Matt blows off as part of his risky sport. But rising to the defense of the man he’s beginning to love means coming to terms with who he is—in public—in a battle not even his black belt prepared him to fight. Until now.

Product Warnings: Contains an out-and-proud klutz, a closeted, karate-loving accountant—and a cat who thinks it’s all about him. Watch for a cameo appearance from the Pricks and Pragmatism lovers. May inspire yearnings for fresh air, exercise, and a fit, tanned bike mechanic of your very own.

Hard Tail is available from Samhain Publishing at a reduced price for a limited time only.

Links: my website: http://www.jlmerrow.com/
Blog tour itinerary: http://www.jlmerrow.com/index.html
Hard Tail: http://store.samhainpublishing.com/hard-tail-p-6805.html


  1. Pingback: 2012 year in blogging | Top 2 Bottom Reviews

  2. I have always loved red hair, my best friend growing up has orange hair (no joke it is orange not red) but I have dark brown hair. So in high school I used to dye my hair an auburn brown. Basically it was brown with dark red “tones”. I loved it but my friends thought it was obviously dyed. Whatever, I kept it like that for almost two years! I have no chance of having red headed children even if I marry a red head, my whole family on both sides has dark brown hair for four generations. 😦


  3. Pingback: Hard Tail is out today! | JL Merrow

  4. I love redheads! Always wanted to be one, and used to henna my hair for many years. I was thrilled when my daughter turned out to be a redhead. It’s not so obvious now she’s older, but as a toddler she was definitely ginger.

    Was recently discussing this with a couple of friends though, and they both assured me that they never fancied redheaded men. I showed one of them the cover of Pole Star in B&W on my Kindle. She said “he’s cute” – I said “he’s a redhead” and she said, “oh, I don’t fancy him now.” Gah!


  5. Well I’m a redhead so I think redheads are great! 🙂 I was really lucky because I wasn’t bullied in school, which is surprising because there was only 3 redheads in my grade school of about 250 kids. The only person that really made fun of me was my friend’s dad! (In a joking way of course- he loved to call me Rusty and Copper Top.)


  6. No gingers in my extended lineage, sadly. We’re a dark-haired, light-eyed brood. And despite my green eyes, I’m fairly certain there’s no way I could pull off red hair. But I contemplate it from time to time. There may be some scarlet streaks in my future.


  7. Ah, I’ve always been super-proud to be a redhead in a whole family of redheads – not something any of us can ever be in the closet about at all! In fact I love it so much that I do tend to put redheads in my novels and short stories whenever possible.

    The revolution is coming, and we redheaded gods and goddesses of the world will soon be taking our rightful place, don’t you know (cue evil laughter and image of me stroking a glorious ginger cat …)




    • LOL! Oh, fantastic image there! You and Wolverine, poised to take over the world! I can see Loki applauding! 😉
      Do you find it makes it harder to find a good cover model, though, if your heroes are redheads? Or is Photoshop your friend, here?
      I believe I’ve written more red-headed women than men, but I haven’t done a count.


  8. You know, I hadn’t realised Nicole Kidman wasn’t a natural redhead. I see Deborah Ann Woll (Jess in True Blood) is a natural blonde, too. I guess if you’re working in an industry where there are a LOT of beautiful women, you want to find a way to stand out from the crowd.
    And yes, I’d agree re LiLo! 😉


  9. A few years back, many women celebrities were dyeing their hair a reddish color; e.g. Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, etc. Personally, I’ve always thought true red haired people looked unique and interesting since so few people have this recessive gene. There are such a variety of color too. IMO, Lindsey Lohan looks much better with her natural color.


  10. Well I am about the reddest of redheads with crazy curly hair to top it off. I sat through more than enough little orphan Annie jokes in my childhood years than I could possibly stand. But I love being a redhead – always unique, easy to find in a crowd, and I can blame bad behavior on a firey redheaded personality!

    I didn’t used to have a thing for the ginger boys (maybe looked too much like me?) but now I love them. Long live the redheads! 🙂


  11. I come from a family of redheads and biased I may be, but I think red hair’s lovely (I only got the red highlights). However, I do understand the redheaded step-child thing a bit – my nephew inherited the fiery, screaming red along with ADHD. Ooh boy. Ten minutes in his childhood company and you wanted to overdose on something! We loved him, but his teachers, sometimes strangers, treated him horribly (he just wore them out). But he’s grown now and mellowed and is a great person and wonderful father (ha! 2 redheaded girls of his own….bwahaha. Revenge is sweet.).

    So yes, I love to see redheaded MC’s. Looking forward to reading Hard Tail.


  12. Then again, what form of prejudice DOES make sense?

    “Though hanging isn’t bad enough and flaying would be fair
    For the nameless and abominable colour of his hair.” – AE Houseman

    Kevin McKidd… oh, yes! Thingy from Rome! Oh, I’d forgotten him. Yes, definitely another one to add to the red-headed roll call of fame. 🙂


  13. I really don’t understand why someone would judge a person based on the color of their hair. Makes no sense to me. I have reddish hair and can remember a few remarks thrown my way when I was younger. It bothered me back then, but now I could care less. In fact, a few years ago I added red highlights to my hair. My husband actually liked it.

    I was watching Grey’s Anatomy the other night and was thinking how sexy Kevin McKidd is. Eric Stoltz, Damian Lewis, and Seth Green are all hot. Just look at them! 😀


  14. I have always been in love with red or ginger hair. Case in point , the character Dyson, a wolf shifter on the fabulous Lost Girl series. Hair the color of flame….be still my heart. My grandmother had red hair and I always felt I got shafted with chestnut hair. I can’t wait to read Hard Tail. Great cover too!


  15. Not ginger here, though I have red-headed ancestors, and I have something of a red-head’s skin tones. So I can take the red – see here:http://www.flickr.com/photos/aunty_marion/755072051/ – I went Weasley-by-bottle for Sectus in 2007. I quite enjoyed it, but (because of the *ahem* huge amount of underlying grey) it took too much upkeep to keep going.

    I’ve always had a bit of a thing about red-heads, though. Fell heavily for Loki, Robin Hood, Richard Lionheart (yes, I know he was reputedly as gay as a three pound note, but I didn’t know that at the age of 8!), Odysseus… Red hair is, of course, recessive to black, which is why I allow such people as Snape and Spock into my ‘Christmas Stocking’ of redheads!


  16. Maybe it’s just me, but there’s something about 70’s fashions and red hair that just seems to go together! But not necessarily in a good way… 😉
    Actually, I’m not sure 70’s fashions go with anything in a good way!


  17. Pingback: Is it because I is Ginger? Hard Tail blog tour continues | JL Merrow

  18. I’m not ginger but my first high school crush (way back at the end of the 70’s!) was ginger – tall (a must for me at 5’11), with high waist flares, shirt collars that could take off and stacked heel shoes – oh, those 70’s fashions! We did go on one date but I can’t even remember now why there were no more!


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