once upon a time*, i was afraid of the color pink. now, i don't mean i would hide when Pink Panther cartoons came on or would cringe from strawberry milkshakes; i mean that at some point i drank the kool-aid that makes kids believe that certain colors are "girls' colors" (which include, but are not limited to, yellow, purple and anything in the pastel family) and certain colors are "boys' colors" (blues, red, brown, green and black). pink is the king (or queen, as it were) of all the girls' colors, and it was well known that for a boy to wear pink was social suicide because it meant all sorts of gender confusion issues that kids are not equipped to deal with. Barbie wore pink. Roses were pink. Bubblegum was pink. Frenchie's hair was pink. if a boy liked pink, he didn't let anyone know, because boys don't like pink.
anyway, by the time i reached HS i'd pretty much stuck to the prescribed boys' colors and made sure that the clothes i didn't pick out myself fit the same criteria. school was easy: the Xaverian uniform only came with three different choices for pants and shirts all of which mixed and matched well and maintained stalwart maleness, and after school i was usually found in blue jeans and a sweatshirt or t-shirt. everything was going well until my Sophomore year, when mom decided to break the rules and bought me the most gorgeous (in an early '90's hideous sorta way) sweater, with the smallest spots of pink threaded throughout (pink that i didn't notice because, well, i'm friggin' colorblind and tend not to notices small threads of light pink on a field of beige and white reminiscent of a Cameo cookie). i made the mistake of wearing this new sweater to school one day and everything was fine; everyone seemed to as oblivious to the pink as i was (or just didn't say anything) until the gym teacher spotted me in the cafeteria and pointed out the...pink elephant...in the room: "Nice sweater; what're you, some kinda faggot"?
well, we all know the answer to that question, now don't we? but, despite the fact that i'd been occasionally sucking cock for the last 2 years, there was no way i was gonna pull a Melissa Etheridge and say Yes, I Am. not in Brooklyn, not in an all boy Catholic High School; hell no. i promptly took the sweater off and never wore it to school again, because only fags wear pink. oh and the other new sweater mom had gotten me? the solid, baby pink, cable knit one? Right back to Caesar's Bay Bazaar with that, mom. no, i will not explain. exchange it for turquoise blue one, please. see, the word blue is in the color's name.
for years, i wouldn't even think of wearing a stitch of pink; even after i had come out to everyone i could think of, so ingrained in my brain was my aversion to the color. "i don't look good in light colors" i would say. or "i'm more of blue person", i'd retort. pink was still an admission that yes indeedy i was a quiche eatin, Cosmo sippin', Bette Davis quotin' 'mo. Cruising the men's room at Sears was one thing, but a pink tie or shirt (no matter how gorgeous) was tantamount to having a pride flag tattooed on your forehead.
this worked very well for a long time until pink became "the new black". straight men were wearing it, gay men were wearing it; everyone was wearing it. it was everywhere, it was hot and i liked it! y'know what? i'm an adult now! if i wanna like pink, who cares? besides whatever they're gonna say about a "guy who wears pink" is true!
so, true to my nature, i waited till about six months after the height of it's popularity; when it was simply "cool" and not "fashion forward", and added it to my severely limited wardrobe (those who know me best will attest that all i really wear is blue or black) in the form of occasional pink shirts or pink ties and lemme tell you, it looks hot.
the other day i had a pink shirt on in the office and a guy remarked, "real men don't wear pink". my only reply was "real men don't care".
*Picture it: Bensonhurst, Brooklyn; the mid-80's.