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I'm a redhead and my sperm is just as good as yours

By Christian Lander, Special to CNN
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Wed September 21, 2011
Christian Lander says parents who won't buy sperm-bank sperm from redheaded donors haven't considered the advantages.
Christian Lander says parents who won't buy sperm-bank sperm from redheaded donors haven't considered the advantages.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Christian Lander: Sperm bank reportedly has more sperm from red-haired donors than it needs
  • He says it's odd that people turn down this sperm on basis of hair color, disregarding other virtues
  • Parents fear redheaded boys will be bullied, but it develops wit, character, he says
  • Lander: At the very least, a red-haired child would have the individuality parents prize

Editor's note: Christian Lander is a writer living in Los Angeles. His first book, "Stuff White People Like," is published by Random House. His new book is "Whiter Shades of Pale: The Stuff White People Like, Coast to Coast, from Seattle's Sweaters to Maine's Microbrews. " He blogs at Stuff WhitePeopleLike.

(CNN) -- It came out in news reports this week that Cryos, the world's largest sperm bank, has started to turn down donations from redheads because there is so little demand. As a redheaded man myself, I was concerned at this news -- though it really is no surprise to me. Using the unscientific method of trying to hit on girls during my years in high school and college, I was able to determine that demand for sperm from redheaded men was low.

Still, it seems strange that people would completely disregard all of the good qualities of a potential sperm donor based solely on the color of his hair. This is even more confusing because almost everyone seems to love redheaded women. And it seems that nonredheaded women want to become redheads. I have had countless women over the years tell me how much money they've spent trying to get their hair to my particular color.

And look at all the famous redheads the world loves: Nicole Kidman, Ann Margret, and Christina Hendricks are just a few of the actresses who have inspired thousands of women to dye their hair to try to capture some of the glamour and sex appeal of the redheaded woman. It also seems that it's impossible to run a detective agency without running into at least one double-crossing red-haired woman.

Of course, the same is not true of redheaded men. Our list of sex symbols includes Conan O'Brien, Carrot Top, Shaun White, Louis C.K., and Seth Green. Seen any of these on People Magazine's sexiest man alive lists?

The unavoidable conclusion: It's not the fear of having a redheaded girl that has decimated the demand for ginger sperm, it's the idea of having a redheaded boy.

But why are parents so afraid? It's not that they believe that the child would turn out like some sort of evil little menace, like in the movie "Problem Child" -- a boy who was a redhead, but that's irrelevant. No, it's that they fear their child will be the victim of intense bullying.

Sadly, they're right.

Years of playground torment have only been made worse by a particularly hilarious "South Park" episode where Cartman, tricked into believing he is a ginger, assembles an unholy army of the night to exact revenge on all the non-gingers. Well, yes, the show was actually about gingers rising up as unstoppable force, but we know the message most people took away from it: Gingers are creepy and not to be trusted.

Additionally, when I went to Australia I found out that they call people with red hair "rangers" (prounced like "hangers"), which I was hoping was a term of endearment. Turns out, it's short for orangutan.

So yes, even if you move somewhere else in the world, it remains a near certainty that if you have a redheaded boy, he will be a victim of some sort of bullying at some point.

But wait! This is a drag, but also an opportunity for a kid -- maybe a kid that you, prospective parent, could produce using the sperm-bank-purchased sperm of a red-haired man -- to develop a valuable character trait. When faced with the challenge of a bully, more often than not a redheaded child is forced to develop a wicked and biting sense of humor. Look back at the list of ginger sex symbols: Aside from Shaun White and Carrot Top, they are all brilliant comedians.

Eventually, being a redhead on the playground becomes something like being a batter who knows what the pitcher is going to throw. We see it coming: "Hey carrot top!" "What's happening, fire crotch?" or the new classic "You don't have a soul." We've heard them, we see them coming, and we become experts at batting them away -- counterpunching with brilliant insults of our own.

Think about the skills your child would need for a long and happy life. Having red hair almost guarantees many of them will be in there: the ability to deal with criticism, a sense of humor, a constant awareness of the ill effects of sun exposure. Also, for some reason, redheaded men are the only people who can be described as having a "shock" of hair. Not really sure if that adds much, but if your child does grow up to be a legendary fisherman or hunter, this might come in handy.

If none of this has swayed you to appreciate the benefit of ordering sperm to have your very own redheaded child, then perhaps I can encourage you to have one for selfish reasons. It's no secret that parents today are obsessed with making their children unique. It's how we've ended up with children named Apple. So why not secure that individuality you crave for your child -- the boy with a shock of red hair? After all, there are more people in the United States with a Ph.D. or professional degree (3%) than naturally occurring red hair (2%).

Have a redheaded child! Who knows, you might give the world the next Louis C.K. -- or, at worst, the next flash-in-the-pan blogger.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Christian Lander.

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