I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … I do not dress my kids unless formal wear is required. So when school picture day came around earlier this week, I let my 8-year-old choose his own outfit. My only request was that the clothes be clean and neat-looking. He selected a light pink golf shirt, camouflage shorts and darker pink socks. Neat. Clean. Done.
While I didn’t suggest this combination, his selection wasn’t completely without influence for three reasons: (1) His older brother wore virtually the same outfit a few weeks ago for middle school pictures (monkey see, monkey do!); (2) He sees professional athletes, NFL players in particular, wearing pink (another case of monkey see, monkey do); and (3) He knows October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and he’s vowed to wear something pink every day in honor of his Aunt Virginia, Aunt Dwynne, cousin Eileen, Aunt Tricia and Aunt Deirdre.
Back on September 30, my little guy made his declaration: “Mom, just so you know, starting tomorrow I’ll be wearing a lot of pink. More than usual.” He wasn’t joking. It’s October 10 and he hasn’t missed a day yet. If he’s not donning a pink shirt, pink socks or shorts with some bit of pink in them, he has a pink towel hanging out of his pants. Not a dish towel or anything gross like that. The kind football players use. Actually, it’s a pink rally towel he got at a Philadelphia Eagles game a couple of seasons ago. Best game day giveaway item ever … at least for a kid who loves both pink and football. But back to the color issue.
My boys are not alone in their love of pink. Everywhere I turn, there are boys (and men) dressed in pink. In the 1970s, boys didn’t wear pink. It was too girly. In the ’80s, preppy boys wore pink sometimes, but it still wasn’t mainstream. Men of the ’90s didn’t sport much pink as far as I can remember, but now pink is hot … thanks to the neon color trend (read my August post about it over on knobu.com), sports (professional and college football in particular, but also lacrosse), the American Cancer Society and the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Boys everywhere have embraced pink, and October is when all the stops come out. Pink power!
The NFL may have its issues, but it’s support for and sponsorship of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month has made pink cool in the eyes of little boys everywhere. Cool and manly. Both my boys’ football teams follow the NFL’s lead during October and add pink to their uniforms by way of pink socks and pink shoelaces. My boys swap out their black mouth guards for pink ones during October as well, and in years past, they’ve also worn pink wristbands and added a pink stripe to their helmets. Go pink or go home!
Yes, my boys (and most of their buddies and teammates) wear more pink during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I love that. I love that they care enough to make the effort all month-long to show their support and solidarity for all those who’ve been affected by this disease. But boys in pink — my boys and others — isn’t just a seasonal trend. Boys wear pink year-round. Happily. By choice. With pride. In fact, each of my kids lists pink as one of their top 3 favorite colors. When given a choice, they often choose pink for items such as sports bottles, athletic tape, slides and even iPods. And they decidedly seek it out on the rare occasion they go clothes shopping with me (and by “shopping” I mean a trip to Dick’s Sporting Goods or the merchandise tent at a lacrosse tournament). Pink isn’t girly anymore. Pink is now gender neutral, like red or black.
I’m proud to say my boys wear pink … and for the record, they eat quiche, too. (If you’re too young to get the reference, check out the similarly titled satirical book from the 1980s, Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche).
Side note: The women mentioned at the beginning of this post are just a few of the strong, fearless, kick-ass survivors who motivate us with their fortitude and attitude. Sadly, the list of friends and moms of friends/teammates is too long, but all of these brave women are an inspiration. We wear pink for all of you.