A Redhead Goes Smooth-Shaved; Life Improves

(Photo: Comstock)

A reader named Mark Curry, who describes himself as a “cement truck driver trapped in the body of someone who does accounting-related work,” wrote to us about a brief passage in Freakonomics concerning our analysis of online-dating data:

The part about men with curly and/or red hair being a downer? “Downer” may be something of an understatement. As a young man I had red, curly, and sometimes, frizzy hair. My dad told me at age 13 or 14 that if I didn’t do something with it, I would never find out what sex is. I was devastated by his meanness. I consider myself very lucky to have found a woman who will tolerate my red hair. Now, married almost 18 years, a couple months ago I started shaving my head smooth, baby-ass, bald; does it feel good. Now, when I walk into an office, the bank, pick someplace, I don’t exactly have to ask people to stop undressing, but their receptiveness to me is noticeable. Although my wife and daughters are still getting used to my shaven head, at least a dozen ladies (that’s 10 women and two men) think my shaven head looks good on me.

I wonder if Telly Savalas was a redhead?


A before and after picture would be nice!


I love my boyfriend's red hair. I was a little disappointed when he tried dying it brown. Apparently, he too has felt the stigma.


baldness is caused by testosterone... maybe because you shaved your head the ladies are taking it as a biological cue. :)




My impression is that this is some bizarre anglo-american cultural artifact. Living in Germany, I'd never once witnessed or heard about someone being shunned, bullied or even made fun of for red hair until a few years ago when a British acqaintance jokingly called me a "stealth ginger" for a slightly reddish tint in my hair - and had to provide an equally puzzled explanation what the hell she was talking about.


Red hair CAN be really beautiful! Especially if it goes with green eyes. *swoons*

I grew up in rural Ireland with a fair few redheads around. I don't think they were particularly picked on though I know that folk superstition had it that if you meet a woman with red hair at the start of a journey, turn back to avoid bad luck. Oh, and there was one redhaired boy in my class who was occasionally called "Copper Knob" by my peers!

Anyway this is an issue that's definitely looking for more Freakonomics treatment!

Joshua Northey

I found red hair a huge detriment with the ladies (and socially generally) until I was about 15 or so.

Since then I think it has been a net benefit? Hard to say though. I certainly didn't stop me from having many attractive and desirable girlfriends, and a really spectacular wife. Mine isn't curly though, and I agree that I like straight red hair much better than curly.

Anyway, the hair isn't so much as problem as the increased skin cancer/sunburn risk from lacking adequate skin pigment. That is the biggest downer.

Lerynne Verster

There's a young photographer in South Africa, Anthea Pokroy, who also focuses on redheads / gingers to bring attention to discrimination issues. She's now photographing as many as she can find for an art exhibition. Her idea and the story behind it is on www.icollectgingers.co.za