DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — The Power Of Red Hair

You’d never guess it now, but at one time I had bright red hair. Until I started school, my parents called me “Punkie” (i.e., pumpkin head).

Thank god the nickname didn’t stick.

The red color was passed down by my maternal grandfather, and I was the only one of my siblings or cousins on that side of the family to be so blessed.

Blessed? Yes and no.

That seems to be the opinion of Marion Roach, who in 2005 wrote a book, “The Roots of Desire: The Myth, Meaning, andSexual Power of Red Hair.” I bought it the other day for $2.99 at one of the used bookstores I frequent in the Twin Cities.


  • Red hair is a genetic mutation that emerged about 50,000 years ago in Africa.
  • Lilith, the lascivious she-demon, and Judas, Christ’s betrayer, are both commonly depicted with red hair.
  • Aristotle thought that redheads were emotionally unhousebroken.
  • Four hundred years ago, the fat of a red-headed man was a key ingredient in deadly poisons.
  • While less than 4 percent of the world’s population is naturally red-haired, the most popular color of at-home hair dye is red.
  • A 1912 study based on phrenology revealed redheads make the best waitresses.
  • Redheads are harder to sedate than people of other hair color, requiring 20 percent more anesthesia.
  • The perception of the color red enhances the viewer’s metabolism and increases both heart rate and respiration.
  • Untrustworthy, fiery, unstable, hot-tempered, highly sexed, evil, deceitful, beautiful, dangerous — all this and more has been said of redheads.

Who knew?

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