Pheromones of the Fire Crotch

Why CC gingers have more fun

By Johanna Holbrook

It is a well-known fact that being a redhead is a 100 percent guarantee of admission to Colorado College.

Don’t believe me? Next time you’re eating brunch in Rastall, take a good look around. Chances are, a herd of red-haired people has  populated the dining vicinity in an astoundingly brief amount of time. To those unfamiliar with CC, this Ginger Phenomenon is downright uncanny.

How did so many gingers come to inhabit the CC campus? “Redheads are just smarter than the average population,” sophomore Maggie Tisch explained.

Redheaded freshman Kat Teter has a different theory. “I’ve heard redheads have a natural tendency to migrate towards each other, using special ginger pheromones,” she suggested.

Whatever the reasons for the phenomenon, coming to CC has been a blessing for many redheads who felt out of place among blondes and brunettes in high school; now, one must only stand in the pancake line to find red, flowing solidarity. “After being persecuted my whole life, I finally found a place where I fit in,” Teter admitted.

Yet for gingers who have long prided themselves on the rarity of their hair color, many feel that their uniqueness is threatened at CC. “It’s like having a nose ring,” junior Marissa* joked. “It’s just not unique anymore. At home, I was the only one of my friends who had red hair, and I loved being different. Here, I’m just one in the crowd!”

With the inordinate number of redheads has come a second phenomenon, known by many as “Ginger Pride.” Redheads here are undoubtedly proud of their hair color and are not afraid to express this seemingly intrinsic confidence. I should know, because I live with one. As a natural redhead, my roommate identifies with her Ginger-ness to an alarming extent, intently seeking out male members of her “species,” vaunting the self-imposed stripper title “Ginger Snap” with panache, and claiming none of her “people” were harmed in the making of ginger ale. Her latest repartee: “What’s the difference between a brick and a ginger? One gets laid.”

Most people assume that those with red hair are undoubtedly Irish in descent. Yet this is not always the case. Red hair can be sported by a variety of European ethnicities. Junior Alex Caspary, for example, is a striking combination of strawberry-blonde hair paired with hazel eyes and olive skin that tans well. “I’m Irish and German on my dad’s side, but my mom is Italian,” she explained. So much for the pale skin-and-freckles stereotype.

Yet with all the pride that comes with being a redhead, these rarer folk are often the target of prejudice from obvious wannabe gingers, who have developed a colorful array of derogatory nicknames over the ages: “Fire crotch, hot temper, carrot top, no soul––just to name a few,” said sophomore Andrew Rowe.

The “no soul” stereotype, stemming from medieval associations with the color red and the Devil, has long been propagated. So too has the reputation for a hot temper first instituted by red-haired Scottish Picts, who effectively terrified their enemies by displaying their naked, blue-painted bodies in battle (ginger lads—you can test this measure by streaking across the quad). But the fire-crotch myth is actually supported by some scientific evidence. German sex researcher Dr. Werner Habermehl did a study on the sex lives of German women and discovered that red-haired females enjoyed a significantly more active sex life than women of other hair shades. According to his research, redheads had more frequent sex—and partners—than their blonde or brunette counterparts.

This may largely be due to biological factors. The color red has long served as a sexual symbol in the natural world (check out a picture of female baboons in heat) and has an uncanny ability to inspire feelings of lust and passion in the opposite sex. One look at a flaming head of red hair might be enough to send a sane man over the edge with sexual desire, according to junior Brendon*, who finds himself inevitably drawn to fiery locks. “I love redheads,” he admitted. “That color is just so vibrant and beautiful. When I’m at a party and I see a redhead girl, I can’t take my eyes off her. It’s like a magnet.”

Like anything rare, red hair has come to be viewed as something precious and valuable. Freshman Shaina Gordon, who began dying her hair red last year, was shocked at the enthusiastic reaction her hair has elicited from intoxicated partygoers. “Drunk people are attracted to my hair like raccoons are attracted to shiny things,” she said. “One time I even got called Ariel.”

Because only four percent of the world’s population carries the gene for red hair, it might appear that the “Ariels” of the world are becoming scarcer and scarcer. Red hair is determined by a mutation in the melonocortin-1 receptor (MC1R), a melanin-producing gene that everyone has. This mutation causes it to produce pheomelanin, a pigment that results in red hair color. Besides being uncommon, the mutated version of MC1R is also recessive, meaning it skips a generation. Unless everyone gets “gingervitis” like Cartman from South Park and seeks to eliminate all the non-gingers, it looks like the ginger gene is doomed to die out at some point—right?

Turns out you can’t trust Internet hoaxes. Contrary to the popular theory that the red hair gene will become extinct by the year 2060, recessive genes are never in danger of vanishing entirely. Even those who don’t exhibit red hair, but have red-haired relatives, may be carriers of the gene. So unless every carrier on Earth miraculously dies out, redheads are going to be around for a long time yet.

Of course, the populous CC ginger mating pool could potentially aid in the production of more ginger-gene carriers, especially when we consider Teter’s theory of ginger-to-ginger pheromonal attraction. Years ago, freshman Reed Snyderman discovered his hormones were already taking preparatory measures to ensure the survival of his kind. “I have found through my post-pubescent life that I am exponentially more attracted to girls with red hair because I think I innately fear our race dying out,” he said.

Yet, unfortunately for Snyderman, the ginger-to-ginger attraction is not always mutual. “A lot of ginger boys are unattractive,” one student admitted. “Pasty skin and freckles is just a weird combination for a guy.” Sorry boys, but when it comes to success with the opposite sex, ginger ladies are going to have more fun.

Hence, it looks like redheads will always be the minority, a clan of soul-less, recessive gene exhibitors whose female contingent enjoys profoundly more fulfilling sex lives than the average woman. So gingers, what are you waiting for? You are a diamond in the rough, a rare ginger snap among thousands of chocolate chip and sugar cookies. The world is your cookie platter.

Pheromones of the Fire Crotch

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