Unpretty in pink

In response to Crazy Grad Mama’s post on Raising a boy in a world of gender stereotypes

Sweat was dripping down my forehead. I had just finished ironing a little oxford shirt in piqué cotton, in the most stylish baby pink color. It matched so cute with the gray herringbone vest, blazer and dress pants. This was the outfit for my plus-one for the wedding I had been invited too. I felt pretty pathetic having a three-year old as my plus-one, but hey, back then, being a single mom I Iearned to quickly get over myself.

I turned to my son and started dressing him, fidgeting with those tiny buttons of his shirt, tucking it as neatly as I could in his dress pants. If Instagram existed back then, he would be SOOO #ootd #boystyle #cooltoddler #hipsterboy and any other popular hashtag I don’t know the existence of. Now it’s time to find me something fancy and not too outdated in my mom closet. I stare away at my closet, until I hear a little squeal.

“Not pretty.”

My hipster boy is plucking at his shirt.

“Shirt is not pretty.”

I try to coo and convince him with a neverending ‘Onohoneyitisbeautifulyouaresuchahandsomeandbigboy’ but it’s hopeless.

“Pink shirt is for girls. Not pretty.”

I try again to make him see it from my picture perfect point of view but he is determined. Every minute he’s looking unhappier, to the point he’s about to cry of desperation. I sigh. I pull a worn out petrol shirt from his closet. It’s already slightly too small and it looks dark and gloomy with his gray herringbone suit. But it’s the only dress shirt I can find. I hold it up to him. His eyes light up.

“Blue is for boys. Blue is pretty.”

He smiles triumphantly.

I turn to the ironing board again. I think I have to shower again before dressing myself. Damned shirts. Damned society for hijacking a color for one sex only.

6 thoughts on “Unpretty in pink

    1. I think is a great color for anyone! I like pink polo shirts and dress shirts for men in particular, or a pink sweater. Too bad fashion retailers don’t feel that way for boys. The average color range is blue, green, brown and grey….

      1. My dad wears light pink dress shirts sometimes — they’re more flattering than straight white, and they look nice with ties that have a little bit of pink.

  1. Reblogged this on crazy grad mama and commented:
    My piece about my hopes for combating gender stereotypes generated some great responses, including this piece by a mother of two boys. It’s amazing how early children recognize the division of colors/toys/interests into “boy” and “girl.”

  2. I read a few more of your writings and I really like them. I love the real-life situations and your honest voice that comes across. You seem to have a really cool know-what-he-wants son, too – very sweet!

    1. Although my eldest is more of an introvert and my youngest a true extravert, they actually both are quite strong-willed. From a distance, I get that sounds cool. Up close as a parent – not so much LOL.

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