Just Like Me
By Arie Rain Glorie
Photo by Lauren Dunn
Sometimes I surprise myself by doing things that I thought I would never do. I tell people that these things would be impossible, that it’s simply not in my nature, that it’s wrong – unethical even – and then suddenly WHAM! I find myself doing it.
I slept with a redhead.
That’s right. I slept with a Ginger, a Carrot-Top, a Fanta Pants, a Ranga, a Ginger Ninja, Blood Nuts, Bluey, Archie. I always said I would never sleep with a fellow “brother from another mother.” Yes, I, too, have red hair, so it’s not like I am some sort of hair racist who wants to commit gingercide. I just have a redhead complex, and this experience has left me feeling perplexed.
My whole life, my red hair has been the topic of speculation. I am the only member of my family adorned with the mane of fire, it’s the first thing my friends mention when describing me, children gossip about the potential color of my pubic hair, old ladies on public transport touch and applaud it, and people shout at me from passing vehicles.
The color of my hair has always been so present in my life I have started to develop a sort of mysticism around it.
It got to the point where being in the same room as another redhead made me anxious and silent. It was the elephant in the room, everyone was thinking it, but no one was saying it.
I was out at a bar when the impossible happened. I don’t really even remember how it happened, maybe there was a gravitational pull and our moons started orbiting one another. Before I knew it we had made our way out of the dark bar and the dark night and in to my house. As we made our way down the hallway we were making out and things were heating up. With one free hand I opened my bedroom door and flicked the light switch on.
Both of our pupils dilated in the revealing light. For a few moments nothing happened. Our moons stopped orbiting; the atmosphere was thick and still. My eyes made their way along the bridge of his freckled nose, quickly estimating the number of his spots in comparison to my own. They made their way along his golden eyebrows and up to the mass of slicked back red strands that rose from his head. My hair is irreverently chaotic and untamed where his was organized and behaved. He stared back at me with dark brown eyes too spookily similar to my own. I wondered if he too had a pile of freckles on the top of his shoulders, light chest hairs, defining frontiers of tan lines where the skin is pale and undiscovered. And what was down below? Was it going to be a horrifying truth, was I going to learn something dreadful about myself, or would I fall hopelessly in love with it and end up drowning like Narcissus when he saw his own reflection? I shivered at the thought. Our brows furrowed.
“You have red hair,” I said. He nodded.
“So do you.”
I quickly considered telling him to leave, that I had changed my mind, that I was tired, feeling ill, that I had an STI, anything to avoid the situation. But before I could say anything he kissed me.
When I woke up the ginger mister had vacated. I lay on my bed staring at the ceiling, feeling existential. On the one hand, the sex was good and I felt satisfied but on the other hand, I felt cheated, that I had been tricked in to something I didn’t want to do. It was like I had discovered a whole new side of my personality, something that I had been united with but didn’t want to be. I considered for a moment that it all had been a dream, a misinformed fantasy, but it was no use; I knew it had happened. In a way this man had taken my innocence, and I knew it could not be returned. I wondered whether this was also his first experience with a redhead, and whether that was why he had fled the scene of the crime.
I’m not entirely sure what I am trying to say here. I guess I am not trying to say anything. I have never slept with another redhead since this “incident,” and I have no idea if I ever will again. I’m curious to find out if other redheads have had the same experience. Am I the only person who finds this completely absurd? I would ask other redheads if I wasn’t so afraid to approach them.
Arie Rain Glorie is a visual artist based in Melbourne, Australia, who exhibits regularly in galleries and festivals. He is also a curator and producer of independent exhibitions and artist-run festivals.