On a recent shopping trip I couldn’t resist a notebook with a suede cover. I would have preferred any other color but pink was all they had. And I thought it might be on sale because there was no price on it. The cashier scrolled through notebook pix on her phone. “It’s $11.95. Do you still want it?”
Pink was the color of my girlhood. My mother painted my room pink. In elementary school, she bought me a pink dress with a cape collar to wear to birthday parties. In junior high, we were mod like Twiggy but less thin. I had a “shocking pink” mini-dress which I wore with textured over-the-knee stockings. In the cafetorium in study hall, a fashionable mini-skirted friend confided she was having sex with a popular girl by inserting a Yardley Slicker (a Yardley brand of lipstick) into her vagina. I was cynical: I said she would get an A in English for that story. In retrospect she was probably inspired by the Yardley ad: “Only Slickers Do It. Make you soft, wild, whatever you want to be.”
Then in high school I rebelled against pink: freedom was just another word for wearing chambray shirts and jeans. And a lesbian teacher took me out for coffee, lent me her copy of Anne Sexton’s poems, and then seduced me by sobbing about how often she had been rejected when she said she was gay. I’d rather hoped my high school crush (a boy) would seduce me, but who was I to reject her? Not only did we “wear our love like heaven” (Donovan) but “loved the one we were with” (Stephen Stills).
I’ve written elsewhere about how boring it was. I wasn’t keen on other women’s vaginas. And then there were the women’s dances, where radical lesbian feminists wore men’s suits and danced only to women’s music. Perhaps they were parodying butch-femme roles, but it was a drab scene, even with the Supremes. In retrospect I’m impressed with their intellect: they were writing about feminist politics, founding various women’s centers, and experimenting with being gay. Some went back to heterosexuality (like me), some really were gay.
By the time I was in college, I was happily heterosexual again and had a boyfriend (and then two husbands). Sometimes I wore pink t-shirts with Lee jeans, pink Oxford shirts with jean skirts, and a pink jacket.
I only have one pink shirt at the moment. And my husband will not allow me to paint any of our rooms pink. Fortunately there are hundreds of colors at the paint store.
And now I have a pink diary!