A funny thing has happened on the way to the election. Everybody wants to discuss Julia Gillard with me. From shop keepers to café owners to members of the P&F to previously unacquainted parents in the schoolyard. There is only one reason that I can see for this. Julia and I, we have the Red Hair.
I’m beginning to feel like my sister Multiple Mum does when people point out that she has four children. Her response, ‘er yes, I know’ (whilst inwardly seething the much-less-polite answer). This conversation is usually followed up for her by a comment such as ‘haven’t you worked out how it happens yet, love’ or something similarly hilarious.
My conversations tend to start with:
Random person: “So what do you think of Julia Gillard?”
Me: “She seems very smart.”
RP: “But you must be excited…”
Me: “Um, sure, it’s good to see a woman doing so well.” (Or words to that effect.)
RP: “No, not that – the red hair! Soon you’ll be taking over the world.”
Me: “Can I have a latte please?”
To be perfectly frank, I’m a bit over the red hair thing. Yes, Julia and I are both (now ‘helped along’) red heads. Beyond that, we don’t know each other (I know, you're shocked). We have certain things in common, I have no doubt: a tendency to freckle, suppressed memories of certain hideous moments at school when being a redhead was genetic freakdom at its highest level, and I suspect she has read Anne of Green Gables* because one does when one is a redhaired girl of a certain age.
But the hair does not define me and, for me, it does not define her. I suspect it has had a part in shaping her character, because our physicality does. Would I be so much of a smart-mouth if I did not have red hair? I suspect not. I spent a lot of time defending my lily-white legs in a town full of bouncing blonde beach babes. Perhaps it is the same for her.
But seriously folks, it’s time to get past the hair and listen to what she’s saying. If she had Dolly Parton boobs and that was all people talked about, the politically correct among us would be jumping up and down and crying sexist. Well, I’m crying ‘hairist’. Are all the brown-haired men in the world excited about the possibility of Prime Minister Abbott? (There are several responses to that question, feel free to leave yours in the comments.)
Give the woman a break and please give the ‘ranga’ term a rest. My other sister Maxabella (another redhead – maybe we are actually taking over the world) is happy to reclaim that word (along with Fanta Pants and other classics) and thus take the ugly out of it. Me, not so much.
And now I’m off to brush up on my Anne of Green Gables quotes. If Ms Gillard is returned to the Lodge in a week or so, I suspect I’m going to be needing them.
Hmmm. Here's a good one for Julia: "Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"
But in the end, I must return to one of my old favourites: "You'd find it easier to be bad than good if you had red hair. People who haven't red hair don't know what trouble is."
I can't see it catching on as a campaign slogan though.
*Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery