I was three years old when I first consciously encountered the color pink. My Aunt had just bought a bottle of “Love my nails” in pale baby pink when she came for a visit. She decided to paint all ten of my fingernails in this light shade no one was ever meant to wear. I honestly don’t remember what spurred this; after all I was three years old. What I do remember is feeling like I was finally getting to do something “ladies” did.
Later I was a flower girl in this same Aunt’s wedding. I wore a dress in the same pink color my nails had been previously, and this time was temporarily given pink “clip clop” shoes to wear. To my delight, the shoes made noise. This was my primary reason for wanting to wear them because at that age, I had my heart set on growing up to become a tap dancer and make noise using my feet. My only reason for wearing any high heels, cow girl boots, and tap shoes is they all make noise. I don’t even own tap shoes or cow girl boots, but if I did that would be the utmost reason for wearing them; to drive other people nuts, but I digress. The shoes I was supposed to wear in a lady like fashion down the aisle while accompanying my cousin were too hard to resist the night before my Aunt’s wedding. My Parents were wise and hid them on top of my Grandparents’ china cabinet so I couldn’t reach them and scuff them. However, I saw the toes of the shoes peeking out over the top of the cabinet. My Parents and Grandparents even went as far as lying to me and telling me I “couldn’t” wear them, even though I knew the shoes fit my feet. Albeit that is not what they meant when they said I “couldn’t” wear, them but I was naive in my understanding of their claim of “couldn’t” and wanted to become Gregory Hines on my Grandparents’ hard wood floors in some pearly pink shoes.
The more I think about the color pink, the more I realize how much it was involved in my child hood. Quite a few of my shoes came in some form of pink, Barbies came in pink as most dolls were dressed in pink, girls toys were in pink, most dresses were in pink, everywhere I turned it was as if I was being told to be a girl you had to like this color. Somedays my favorite color changed, this was probably due to my predisposition to becoming an artist. There was no way I was going to definitively claim pink was my favorite color, especially if a marketing machine was telling me I had to like pink based on my gender.
I played with He-man toys when I was younger in addition to Barbie, why weren’t they in pink? I was a girl playing with what was predominantly seen as boys’ toys, but I probably did so because 1. He wasn’t pink. 2. He had a spinning chest plate to show damage from a battle axe, something which Barbie never had. The last time I checked Barbie wasn’t known for her prize fighting skills, in the 80’s she was still a kept woman.
As I started to grow older the fashion trend was starting toward a different kind of pink. Hot pink became the rage along with bright neon colors. I started detesting the old pastel pink, it was too girly and nothing like myself. Just to prove it, I would wear black biking shorts with a hot pink stripe down one side and a neon green stripe down the other leg with of course, pink hightop Chuck Taylor knock-offs. Suddenly I out grew pink all together. I kind of got sick of it, and then one dreary, rainy day in fifth grade I came home to find my walls were going to be wallpapered in this…
I had come home from school to find out the old fashioned flowery wall paper was going to cover my entire room rendering it like a veritable victorian garden tea party. I was perfectly fine with bare walls but that idea was unacceptable to my parents. I was a ten year old Tom-boy who didn’t have time for this flowery nonsense. As soon as the wallpaper went up, I was quick to cover it with posters of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, New Kids on the Block and anything else I could find to cover up the new walls.
As a grown woman, I feel now I have a choice with this color. I can choose not to wear it, choose not to have it in my house or apartment, but then I got married. Recently last year when I got married to my Husband I became an Aunt to three wonderful young ladies, one of whose favorite color…is pink. I guess now is the time for me to put aside any childish political issues I have with this color and embrace it with love because now anytime I see the color, I think of her and hope at some point she will get the opportunity to wear her own pink “clip clop” shoes.
What has been a color issue for you? What is one color you can not stand?