Real Men Wear Pink
Fort Wayne, Indiana (June 2, 2008) — It’s that time of year when men must wear pink. The Vera Bradley Classic. Year after year, I have slipped on a small piece of pink and gone to the celebration dinners. It’s out of sight, but technically there. Just in case. Alas, someone must have noticed. To fully appreciate my conflict, you must understand that my fashion world is founded upon one massive tectonic plate. I never wear pink…don’t touch the stuff. Let me explain.
Flashback! 7th grade. Art class. My project was to demonstrate the concept of monochromes. So, my outfit was a study of red. New red sweater vest. Shirt? Orange. Crimson socks. Red sneakers. Monochromes! Brilliant! But art diva and heartthrob Jane Bledell laughed until she fell out of her chair. And nobody but Twinky Larue would sit by me. And all that 1970’s polyester made me sweat like I was running laps. Oh no! Gym! Third period. Gotta skip. I ran the entire ten miles home—all uphill—and, when I got there, threw the clothes in the dirty clothes hamper. Since sisters aren’t good for anything else, my mom made Becky do laundry. Becky washed my clothes that night. Everything. One big batch. As I would recall later, she seemed to be happier than normal, even whistling from time to time.
In the olden days, we had to leave for school at 3 a.m. So, the next morning I dressed in the pitch dark and then trudged back up the hill. Ten long miles. Whew! The gym teacher was an ex-marine drill sergeant with a walnut-sized caveman brain that lay in the center of ten pounds of meat topped with a wire brush he called a haircut. In a voice loud enough to kindle fire, he bellowed, “What the blazes! Your underwear’s pinker’n a baby’s bee-hind!” I explained the part about my sister and laundry, but since he had not yet thought of the wheel, the idea of the spin cycle was beyond him. “What? You say they’re your sister’s?” To this day, when I come in contact with pink, I have to take Benadryl and rub ice on the rash that spreads across my neck and back. But for a future without cancer…which took the life of my sweet mum? Oh, all right, I’m in the pink.