Saturday, March 11, 2006

Ginger, and other American stories

No game this Saturday and the Boy was off on a biking trip, so I went over the nearby gym hall to watch my club's two men's teams play. I love watching proper volleyball and when you watch the first men's team, that's what you get. The second? Well... they try.

During the second game, I sat next to the scorer, a guy I knew, generally being a nuisance and chatting. The girlfriend of one the players joined us. The three of us, while trying to watch the game and keep accurate score, had been discussing the fact that the head referee had red hair. I hadn't realised it until he grew a beard and I could see it.

Necessary tangent: Americans love red hair. Redheaded people are always thought of as feisty, sassy, hot-blooded and fiery -- for some reason, all good traits. Redheads are a necessary component to any TV female foursome (think Sex in the City, Desperate Housewives). Television viewers in the US appreciate what the redhead brings to whitey-white show about white people's issues: diversity.

Now here's the thing about red hair here: it is not well thought of. What! you cry. What about Ginger Spice from the Spice Girls? She was a great redhead from Britain. Well... notice the use of 'was'. Plus British people didn't take the Spice Girls nearly as seriously as Americans. Ginger is what British people call redheads, as you might know. Now why, as the ginger root is yellowish, I don't know. It can be considered an insult to call someone ginger, or ginge.

The thing is is that I can't figure out what the discrimination is all about. You might think that it is the Scottish insulting the Irish, but it isn't really. Scotland's got its fair share of redheads and they take the piss out of them just the same. People who discriminate against minority cultures usually have their mixed and irrational reasons for doing so. There is honestly no reason that I can ascertain for picking on redheads. They've just done it for so long here -- it's what you do.

So now I'll drop you in the conversation between me, the Girlfriend, and Scoring Guy. As we left it, we were discussing the redheadness of the referee:

    Scoring Guy: Well, you know we all have one in the family.

    Me: I don't.

    SG: Ok, yeh, well... you're not included.

    Me: You know, there are some redheaded Black people.

    Girlfriend: Really?

    Me: Yeh, my sister used to date a black guy with red hair.

    Both of them: Hmm.

    Me: And... and... hmm... (trying to think of other Blacks with red hair) you know Malcolm X, he was ginger. (looking at the Girlfriend.) You know who Malcolm X is, right?

    Girlfriend: Yeh, I've heard of him.

    Me: Well... he was redheaded.

    Girlfriend: Well, I've only heard of him. I don't really know who he is.

    Me: How have you heard of him?

    Girlfriend: 'Your mama's so black, when she wears a Malcolm X shirt, a helicopter tries to land on her.'

At this point, I start laughing hysterically in shock, amazement and a wee bit of horror. People, do you not realise what you have done? We spread the name of one of America's most famous Black men across the world, tell of his achievements, THROUGH THE DOZENS. Not good.

****

Scoring Guy told me this story about when he visited the States four years ago.

He was travelling with some Scottish friends to visit some other Scottish pals in Chicago. While there, they decided to go bowling. They booked a place at the bowling alley earlier that day. When they showed up, they told the person working at till about their booking.


    "What name is it under, sir?" she asked.

    "Hay," he replied. (A Scottish name)

    She says, "Hello to you too, sir. Now what name is the booking under?"

Apparently, this went on for two more minutes.

****

In the Metro newspaper (the free paper that you can get on the bus or train), they have a "gossip"-type column called 'The Green Room'. Last Thursday, they printed this. See if you can figure what makes this report full of shit:

    Christina Aguilera has spilled the beans on Tony Blair, with whom she appeared on Parkinson (a TV-chat show, somewhat in the vein of Barbara Walters) 'He is really sexy in an authoritarian type of way,' she said. 'He's very full on.'
Ok, ignoring the fact that you might think that Christina Aguilera wouldn't even know the word 'authoritarian', what's the give-away that this is all made up?

'Full on'? C'mon. What American uses that phrase? That is typically British.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Amah said...

So now that I've got the hang of of the comment thing--what's "full on" or shouldn't I ask because of my "puritanical" :-} demeanor?? Did you think to volunteer to be a scorekeeper for the men's games or is that a no-no?? Love--

Monday, 13 March 2006 at 23:33:00 GMT  
Blogger Autumn said...

To be honest, I'm not sure if 'full on' was meant to be sexual or not. But even if it was, would some American chick say that? Wouldn't she just say he was hot, or sexy?

As for the scorekeeping, I had kept score in the previous game and it was the turn of the other team to do it. I was helping out by flipping the numbers, but not recording the score on paper.

Tuesday, 14 March 2006 at 23:05:00 GMT  

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