Forgiving pink

Fifteen year old me said something like this: “Pink stinks.” I got extra marks in university for brevity from an exhausted professor probably worn down reading 300 term papers replete with rosy language hiding empty thoughts. Pink as a colour struck me this way. Pointless, pathetic fluff.


Spring at the Dominion Arboretum – Ottawa

The strawberry wine I guzzled at 14 before a school dance and vomited on the shag carpet in my bedroom may also have contributed to my aversion. Theย  acrylic and nylon fibres abundantly soaked with the pink contents of my stomach held the stench for days afterwards. Strawberry vomit: pink smelled like that to me.

Pink was not me. At least not in my mind. I was the headless roses in Morticia Adams’ bouquets – all stems and thorns. Pink was dead to me.

You don’t live with an alcoholic and learn the world is pink. The world blurs and tilts and spins. Colour is indeterminate. One day dad is sober and all smiles working in the garden like a regular dad mowing the lawn and filling the air with the dewy breath of fresh cut grass. The next he’s in the basement throwing a hammer at the wall and emptying jars of nails on the floor so no one will go downstairs and take his bottle away when he passes out inches away from the chain saw.

Phony pink. Stupid pink. Lying pink. Asshole pink.

Ironic that my dainty wedding bouquet was filled with daisies and pink rosebuds. Here’s how I rationalized it: I can’t wear a red dress and what is pink but a red derivative? Pink is red flying under the radar. Or maybe I let pink into my life again because it seemed possible in a new family.

Nevertheless, I passed on pink for decades. Then in the last few years pink crept back into my life. I attribute this to wine – “White” Zinfandel , or,ย  if you’re the same vintage as me, Cracklin’ Rosie (“you’re a store bought woman”). Yes, I’m aware of the awkward irony of alcohol bringing pink back into my life but I admire the way it transforms an ordinary wine glass into a tulip.


Back 10 Cellars Rose

Last year I bought a pink tunic – hot pink. No cowering, cringing shade that disappears into white,ย  but a living out loud colour. Next came pink shoes and last week pink hair. I grant you the hair has a cotton candy quality though, at 60, it reminds me that life is still a carnival. I’m ready to accept that pink, like life and people, can be forgiving – and forgiven.


Cotton candy me.




40 thoughts on “Forgiving pink

  1. Much love for you and your pink head. ๐Ÿ™‚ Even though, just like you, I’ve always considered pink rather unnecessary. You make it matter. “I admire the way it transforms an ordinary wine glass into a tulip” is my favourite sentence and I’ll say it to every glass of red I have with my meals.


      • Uh, oh. I wear pink with red. And orange. And I have red hair, which they say should never wear pink. Or orange. Now, yellow. I can’t do yellow. Though if it’s mixed in with lots of red, orange and pink . . . . ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. your pink hair is an inspiration to me!
    when I was a little lesbian growing up in rural Texas, my poor mother kept telling me pink was my color – she bought me pink clothes for emphasis – but I hated pink….anything pink. she so wanted a regular little girl who loved to wear pink.
    And now seven decades later, I am finally happy to wear pink – maybe because Pretty likes it!
    Go on with your bad self, Susanne.


  3. Your previous aversion to pink is based on justifiable reasons, but you are totally rocking the pink hair!
    Personally, I really like pink and I always have. Embrace the pink!! – oh wait, you already have! ๐Ÿ™‚

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        • I’ve always been OK with pink, though I didn’t want a pink bedroom. Shared with my sister and that’s what we had for several years. Compromise. And now that I’m over 60 I love the pink in my world. It’s mostly in my garden and on the crab trees around here. Can’t deny they are awfully pretty. A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to be in DC during the cherry blossoms and they were stunning in pink too. I’m glad you’ve settled into the pink that works for you. I’d hate any color to be left out of my world, and I bet you’re feeling similar.

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  4. I’m still pretty much anti-pink–it says princess Disney-girls, too precious, too fluffy, too girly –to me. Having said that, there is *nothing* girly or precious about your hair–it is awesome! And the look on your face . . .


    • At one time two of our daughters shared a bedroom and it was painted in hot pink and purple – really princessy. And I used to do entire loads of laundry in shades of pink and purple when they were little. Now they’re wearing somber shades and I’m wearing pink. It is to laugh. Yes, the look on my face kind of captures the essence of my feelings. Did I really do this? I can’t believe I really did this!


  5. You look incredibly gorgeous in pink hair!!! Wow! I was turned off pink for a reason so mundane compared with your tragic story. My mother never bought me much of anything, but out of the blue (pun intended) came home with a chiffon HOT pink dress for a jr. high dance for me. I HATED it. I persuaded her it didn’t fit right and traded it for a yellow and white gingham culotte dress instead. My own negativity and cruelty in changing the dress made me sick to my stomach–hence pink made me sick. Until as an adult I discovered CORAL.

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    • I don’t think you were behaving negatively – simply voicing your preferences. Why must we daughters always please our mothers?! But pink. Who knew it caused such strong feelings?

      I love coral, too, but my favourite coral t-shirt looks awful with my hair. I didn’t think thru the wardrobe implications of colouring my hair pink. All my red things look absolutely hideous on me right now. Thankfully the pink will wash out in about a month and I’ll be back to neutral silver.

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      • I know you’re right about pleasing mom, but I really feel that I was a little shit for not just thanking her. Instead, what did I do? I’m pretty sure I cried hysterically. Even for my own benefit, it was counter-productive. Why not make her feel good about doing something for me haha?
        I hear you about the color of your hair. When my hair was blonder there was so much that I couldn’t wear and it bugged me. Now I have it more light brown than truly blonde, and it’s more serviceable. But I do love your pink. Have fun with it!

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  6. How extraordinary! This excellent essay reminds me of my own life (same kind of father) and relationship with the colour pink. Except it was my daughters love of the colour that shaped my changing relationship to it. Such a great selfie of a sassy woman sporting her pink hair!!


    • Unfortunately, the alcoholic parent is too common an occurrence. Pink is kind of subversive don’t you think, Pauline? The way it sneaks back into our lives and makes us love it?


      • When I was young I’m afraid I sneered rather derisively at pink – and hydrangeas – they were things that belonged to ‘old ladies’. Now I am an ‘old lady’ I quite like both ๐Ÿ™‚ Didn’t see that coming ๐Ÿ˜€


        • Oh that is so funny, Pauline because 2 summers ago I planted a hydrangea in the back yard although it’s an interesting light lime green – like a Margarita.

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