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.
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. The 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, 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.
Last year I bought a pink tunic – hot pink. No cowering, cringing shade that disappears into white, 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.