This is the day I understood what it meant to be 1 in a million.
A few years ago, I moved from England to Spain to help my aunt with her new pub. I figured I would bounce back to England when the season was up. But, it didn’t work out that way. I ended up staying.. and it all has to do with my red hair.
When I arrived in Spain, I was out of my comfort zone. I had never worked in the bar industry and I didn’t know a soul apart from my aunt and cousin. But, I’ve always been a believer of jumping in at the deep end..
One day as I was serving customers, a woman looked at me and shook her head slowly while half closing her eyes in a disapproving kind-of-way. It threw me off so I asked her what was wrong. She said, “I haven’t seen such lily white skin in all my life but don’t worry, this is the perfect place to get rid of it.”
I couldn’t believe what she’d just said.
I just stood there sort of waiting for the right response to come to my mind. Instead of getting upset or annoyed, I showed her my pale white tummy saying, “Get a load of this!”
I told her I was sad my arms were starting to get tanned (which in redhead terms means: a ton of freckles joining together). Her response was priceless! She opened her mouth in amazement.
She then went on to tell me all about her grandson who was like me.
I thought, Like me?
She meant a person with red hair, I guess. She then told me he’s been living in Spain for many years and has a beautiful tan.
I replied, “How lovely”.
It was a very odd conversation. I wanted to laugh at how awkward I was making her feel, but the customer is always right, right?
What I learnt that day was not only are redheads super rare (even more so in Spain than in England) but also, the average Joe has absolutely no clue about what it means to be a redhead.
I feel like it’s my job to educate the human race about the fact that redheads don’t tan. We burn. We get freckles and then go back to being pale as soon as the burn fades.
I know only one other redhead in my neighborhood which means redheads are pretty much like celebrities in Spain.
And, this is why I am still in Spain. I could have returned back to England where red hair is more common, but I’d prefer to be in a place where people stare at me… constantly! If I got a euro for every person who held their gaze a little too long, I’d be loaded. And, I’m happy to show people that being different is awesome. Embrace it.