I WITNESSED something absolutely gobsmacking this week. I was strolling through town with a female friend and stopped to look in a shop window. In those few seconds a man stepped forward, spoke a few words to her and then casually walked on down the road.

When I asked what he wanted, I couldn’t believe my ears. Not only had he rudely asked why her hair was the colour it was, but he’d also said how disgusting it looked.

So, purple, lime green, turquoise — what colour was her hair?

No, none of these, she is in fact a natural redhead and has never added any colour — despite the advice of complete tossers like this.

Having been a redhead all her life she says she’s used to it and has long been aware of the ‘Marmite’ factor. Surely this shouldn’t be the case?

Now, I’m no fan of ridiculous PC nonsense, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with a bit of harmless mickey taking, but surely it’s not right that an attractive woman, sporting the hair colour she was born with, which is, incidentally a beautiful auburn, should have to be subjected to this sort of uncalled-for abuse?

I’ve only been racially-abused once, though I did get a lot of flack at school about the size of my ears. But, by comparison, and all joking aside, I clearly have no concept of the sort of abuse suffered by my friend.

Previously I had no idea of the discrimination faced by redheaded people on a daily basis. I don’t suppose I will, overnight, become a completely caring person, but it has made me consider the feelings of others a little more.

What do you think? Is mickey taking of ginger haired people akin to racial abuse? Have you ever been picked on for some characteristic such as hair, ears or nose? Add your comments below and vote in our poll.