Name: Mark Shields
Nationality: British
Sex: Male
Age: 23
Location: Aberdeen
Hair colour: Gingerish

I am, unfortunately, kind of ginger. Not red headed, but of the “strawberry blonde” type that people mistake for brown, red, blonde and mousey and to be fair, it’s never been an afflication because unlike some of the ginger brethren I know I’ve never had any stick from it. Though recently I have grown a beard, and by gum it’s came through ginger.

People opinions on ginger hair vary greatly – I actually find it, on a lady, very attractive. I would date Nicola from Girls Aloud, I think she is very pretty. The colour of my hair is not the important point though, it’s the problems that it stirs in me…

Like for example, my inability to withstand sunlight for periods of time. I burn, and when I brun, its bad. I’m not an idiot – the reason I don’t sit out in the sun is because I know it’s bad for me, but especially bad for my skin as it comes out in red marks and hot-to-the-touch pain that can debilitate me in seconds.

This doesn’t mean I don’t like it – in fact, sitting on a hill, sipping some cool juice, maybe listening to a summery band on the MP3 player or hanging out with some friends is amazing, made even better when it’s not railing down sharp shards of shimmering rain, but instead in the glorious sunshine and just feeling the heat of our mother ship, the great nuclear fission reaction in the expanse of space is a much more appealing concept.

The advantage I have is that whilst for some this is a terrible diagnosis, in fact I am at home in warm and cold countries alike, because my skin colour makes me prefer to sit in a café or bar, chat to my friends and maybe drink a cold beer. It means I want to go and see stuff, go and do swimming in the sea, or go on a boat, see a city, actually go and visit the place where I am visiting – if I am to sit still for hours in the heat, beside a pool, I need to be regularly fed beer, books and, if available, pretty girls. But the Scottish concept of “gettin’ a tan” on holiday is a perception that will probably cause our nation’s futures to have horrible levels of skin cancers. And it’s probably not getting any better.

And when I do get some sun, it does tan. It does! The several periods of sunburn I’ve had a child have made me extra wary though. My ginger hair means I can take the high ground. I may be wearing factor 30 suncream and a long sleeved t-shirt, and most probably be pink, but at least I’ll be safe. And I’l have pretty girls too, ginger ones. And maybe the smarter ones who stay out the sun, too. :)