Shades of Red

Posted on November 26, 2012


A boss of mine once told me I had ruddy skin and this particular supervisor wasn’t giving me a compliment.

I was anchoring four (4) thirty minute newscast, two hours of live television every weekday and appearances, in this case my skin, was of great import.

IMHO, this person, a supervisor who later fired me (full disclosure, I’m currently suing the company for wrongful termination and breach of contract as a result) – was trying to disparage, not offer advice and it worked quite well, its an insult that several years later – still stings.

I’ll never hear the word ruddy without recalling those words, “You need to do a better job of covering your scars, your skin is just TOO ruddy”, said the boss.

I thought about that critique once again yesterday after hearing a sports announcer refer to a player as ‘ruddy complected’.

What the heck does ruddy mean anyway?


Ruddy (also called florid) is a reddish-rosy crimson color, closer to red than to rose.

A brownish shade of ruddy called ruddy brown is often referred to simply as ruddy when referring to animals.

A pinkish tone of ruddy called ruddy pink is often referred to simply as ruddy when describing the color of the cheeks of some Caucasians.

I thought it was an insult but turns out, ruddy is just another word for red.

And why does red have so many synonyms any dang way?

Crimson, scarlet, cerise, cherry to name just a few.

I think red is overused. 

If you’re a lusty, hearty and passionate person you may be labeled RED-Blooded.

Someone spot you with your hand in the cookie jar? Ya got caught RED-Handed.

Find something suspicious? Musta threw up a RED Flag.

What do you call a sale to end all sales, a super-discount event? RED-Tag.

After rolling it around the old brain pan, letting ruddy percolate in my cranial coffee pot, I recalled something from eons ago.

Well, the 1970’s anyway.

One of my distant relatives was an alcoholic and I think I can remember my maternal grandmother referring to the poor old rum-pot as ‘ruddy’.

Although my love for adult libations is legendary I was brought up by teetotalers, Kathleen Sliger rued the day they repealed prohibition and the consumption of alcohol was a major sin, worthy of an eternity in hellfire and brimstone in my grandmother’s eyes.

It may be a case of false memory but I don’t think so…

Anyway, ruddy – it’s just a color, I’ll try very hard to remember that.

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