Well, actually it is not difficult to do - frighteningly easy in fact - it just happens to you. Dealing with the results can be difficult. The knee and hand joints that disintegrate which I finally dealt with in the past year and a half (best decisions I ever made - waited far to long.) The new pair of glasses that I just picked up (the wear all the time kind.) The latest issue - my hair! It grows at least 1/4 inch per week so I have to touch up my white roots at least every three weeks. The white is getting whiter and the red roots are getter fewer and farther between and some areas on the sides and in my bangs are not taking the color any more. Add to that the ache in my left elbow where I broke the upper bone in five pieces and pulverized one piece (3 large plates and 21 screws.) It is getting more and more difficult to dye my hair myself and I can't afford to have someone do it every month. I have a lot of use of that arm thanks to my brilliant surgeon Dr. Alexis Falicov, but my hair is so super thick that it takes me about 45 minutes just to pin my hair up and get it ready to dye - and although it just takes one package of dye if I just use the touch up stuff - it takes two packages.
My 35 year old son has also said that it is getting weird for him to stand beside me when his hair is getting so gray (and boy, is it!) As the years go by, time is getting more and more precious and I am really starting to resent the time I have to spend dying my hair. My two oldest female cousins Rita and Chris have gorgeous, perfect white hair. The next cousin Cheryl has beautiful white and gray with a hint of the black it once was. If my hair would look like the three of theirs, I wouldn't mind as much. Now with that being said, my mind is also screaming at me, "you've always been a red head!"
Some of my earliest memories are of total strangers coming up to my mother in public and saying as they looked at me and my 18 months younger sister, "Just look at their red hair! Are they twins? Where did they get that red hair?" And my mother replying, "From the red-headed milkman." I didn't understand that response until much, much later. I mean, does anyone even ask that stupid question any more? As you can tell, a lot of people did ask it back in the 1950's and 1960's and my mom got really, really tired of it.
I going to do it. I think. Well, I did make an appointment with my hairdresser - 4:15 Wednesday, February 12th. She said that I might have to go to a brown shade before going lighter (or whiter) so it may take awhile to get there. My sister said something about it may have been easier for her when she starting going gray 23 years ago to just let it happen. She rather firmly said that she is certainly not going to go white in her 60th year. If it takes me awhile then technically, I won't either.
Here is an interesting blog article about Red hair genes directly inherited from the world’s first Redheads 70,000 years ago.
The following is from the blog (who obtained the information from scotlandsdna.com):
"Between 2% and 6% of northwestern Europeans have red hair, compared with
an average of around 0.6% of the world’s population as a whole. In the
British Isles the numbers are much higher. In Scotland around 13% of
the population have red hair, but over 30% are unknowing carriers of the
redhead gene. In Ireland about 10% have red hair, but as many as 46%
are carriers. Scottish and Irish emigration have made the USA the home
of the largest population of redheads in the world at between 6 million
and 18 million, with many millions more carrying the gene variants."
I always thought that Ireland had the most redheads - I guess, I was wrong.
The information below is from scotlandsdna.com where you can buy a test to see if you carry the gene for red hair. Unfortunately, the test is only available as an add on to their DNA tests which are out of my price range. They do an extensive historical analysis to go with the test results and it does come all the way from Scotland - which will add to the price.
The Punnett Square to the left shows the recessive inheritance of
red-head genes. In this graphic, both parents carry one copy of a
red-head variant, represented by the lowercase, red r. There is a 25%
chance that their offspring will have red hair (rr) and a 50% chance
that their offspring will also carry a red-head variant (Rr). There is
also a 25% chance that their offspring will not carry a red-head variant
(RR). For a child to have red hair, both parents must be carriers of a
red-head variant - if a red-head has children with a non-carrier, then
their offspring will only carry the
redhead variants, not be red haired. Everyone who carries one of the
variants is a direct descendant of the first person ever to have it.
Red-heads must carry two red-head variants, represented by rr. But there
are both strong (represented by a dark red r) and weak (represented by a
light red r, with a w) red-head variants. A strong variant increases
the chance of having red hair about 50-fold. In contrast a weak variant
only increases the risk of red hair by 5-fold and often results in light
or strawberry blond hair.
Here is a link to various combinations possible.
Image credits: imgur.com
Frequency of Red Hair in the US