Pink…. It’s Complicated

Dear Liza,

When I was growing up, I never liked the color pink. As the only girl in a male-oriented household, pink was “for girls”, which was always said in a way that implied it was weak, sissified, and not up-to-snuff. I saw it as a mark of different-ness and steered clear of it.

This disappointed my mother, I am sure. Your Great grandma Billie had waited all of her thirty-six years for a girl, putting up with Great Grandpa’s brothers hanging around and raising two boys of her own. Then she got me.


From the get-go, I favored dungarees and shirts to dresses. I climbed trees and got skinned knees. I had more boy friends than girls because I didn’t much care for Barbies or make up.

I tried to wear my hair long and wear dresses in High School, as a way of looking less freakish than I felt. Even as a young Mom, I wore skirts and even those wooden kindergarten-teacher necklaces, as a way of saying, “See? Nothing weird here!”

Auntie Katie and me, being girly girls together

I was 40 when I finally stopped waiting to “grow out of” my boyish phase and embraced it. I cut my hair super short, bought my clothes at the men’s department at Sears, and started to make myself in my own image. I felt stronger and more confident, and less like I was failing at playing dress up.

Me, now

Now that I am older and retired and I can wear what I want every day, it is still shirts and jeans, except when the weather gets really hot.

Last summer I bought a few long dresses because they are just looser and more comfortable. They make me look so elegant that I want to stop people and say, “This isn’t me, really, I’m just wearing it,” to make sure people don’t get the wrong impression.

Also me, now…

I still steer clear of pink. Old prejudices die hard.

And Portland, my new hometown, is up to its Spring eyeballs in pink. Cherry blossoms, hyacinths, and Bergenias pop up all over town. Portland looks better in pink than I do, and I enjoy it every day.

Hyacinths always look good in pink!


Grandma Judy