Wednesdays

It's a blonde-haired girl in a sundress at the beach. A Barbie doll in the hands of my four-year-old sister. It's Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel, waiting to be saved by Prince Charming. The one place in Wal-Mart I never wanted to go. The place in the mall I still do not want to go.

It is the voice of Regina George and Mandy Moore. The jingle of a wind chime or the chirping of a robin. I can't say it seriously without it sounding childish, so I make a mockery of it through my high-pitched distortion, but you don't care because that is what you expect. It is in the same category as "blankie" and "teddy."

It's a scented candle burning in the kitchen. The label says "champagne" but I don't think that's what champagne smells like. I wouldn't refer to is as a smell, either, it's more of a fragrance. It's the same sensation for my nose as sugar is for my lips: initially is is wonderful but after too much I don't feel well. 

It is snuggling with a pillow and blanket, a soothing ointment on a cut, and a gentle brush against my skin. Cozy and carefree. Stylish and chic.

"There is no longer Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male and female. But all are one in Christ."

It is forbidden to be in my hands or worn across my chest. It is the universal sign of fragility. I can only be seen with it in October and on one day in May, and that is only if I have the ribbon to go with it. Who would dare to be seen in it on any other day? If I do, I will be pegged as different and bring discomfort - maybe I should use the other bathroom.

They tell me that I will get confused, that lines will be blurred. I'll forget what's in my pants and wish I was something else. It would mean trading my God-given authority at the helm of the ship for the submissive work of rowing oars in the hull of a weaker vessel. Giving up position to choose inferiority and becoming soft at the climax of my human existence.

It is the only one of its kind that defines who I am and who I'm striving to be. If I didn't have this biology, it wouldn't be a problem to anyone, but I have to defend myself every time someone sees my socks. "Why?" they ask; "Why not?" I say, "Why is it not like every other color?"

"There is no longer Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male and female. But all are one in Christ."

It doesn't remind you of the Gridiron or the raw grit it takes to get there. It isn't talented or gifted because you've never seen it on a jersey at the Super Bowl. Toughness and strength are antonyms; it does not belong on the body of a 6'4, 235 lb. freak of nature.

Iron-man wouldn't be caught dead in it, Thor would mock it, and Captain America would say it's okay but never think twice about it. Spider-"Gwen" can have it but Spider-"Man" can't. If Hugh Jackman tried trading his leather jacket for it, no one would watch his movies.

It corrupts everything it touches. Lightsabers turn into microphones and Jedi robes become glittery. Nerf guns gain attitude and Legos leave space to return to the kitchen. Performance becomes an afterthought as appearance is the only thing that matters. 

We've all bought into it too. The prissy villain in a teen drama movie is always wearing it. The Betty Cooper's have to change their outfits to stop being the "good girl." It is always weak and needs to be outgrown: you cannot be the hero if you leave it on. To fit in in this world, you must claw and scratch and fight your way to respectability, and you can't do that in a skirt. You can't be tough, no matter how how hard you try, if you are wearing pink.

"There is no longer Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male and female. But all are one in Christ."

So every Wednesday, I follow the rules of Karen and the Plastics and I wear pink. It's not an attempt to express my sexuality; it does not incline me to behave one way or another. It's not because I want to incite chaos and make people angry. It is not simply because I like the color, although I have come to grow quite fond of it. It is not even to show that pink can be tough too.

I wear pink because being thought of as "soft"is okay with me. I'm fine with being fragile because that is part of what makes me human. Why is it a problem to be more emotional? I have gone my whole life hiding what I feel because I felt I needed to appear tough to everyone else. I tried to put on the right image so I could keep my "man card," as if that bought me a ticket to acceptance in actual society. "There's no crying in baseball:" I actually tried to live that statement out as though it wasn't poking fun at the arrogance of the culture.

Now that I look back on my childhood, I see all the lies that I just assumed. If I threw a ball "like a girl," it meant it was bad. I had to "grow a pair" in order to tough out an injury. I was a "pussy" if I didn't keep competing. Oh we may not mean to degrade women with what we say, but these sayings are ingrained in our culture whether we realize it or not. 

"There is no longer Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male and female, pink and blue. But all are one in Christ."

I do believe that this is a theological issue: when we do not value the traits associated with femininity, we do not value what we perceive as feminine. Without knowing it, we have chosen masculine traits of strength and power over care and peace, and have come to believe that God must embody these characteristics because it is what we value. We begin to think of God as a powerful war general instead of starting with the Jewish man from Nazareth whose most glorious moment was his death at the hands of an oppressive empire.

Why would we rather picture God as a conquering lord instead of a suffering servant? Why has God been perceived by many Christians as stoic and unemotional? Why are we inclined to believe that God is distant and detached instead of intimate and personal? Why are we afraid to lament to God? To vent to God? To be honest with God? 

I know of at least one reason: we don't like pink.

So I don't care anymore; you can take my man card and assume that I have become less of a man because I choose to not hide my tears. I will take the razzing and the jokes if they come my way. I'm willing to associate with "weakness" because I refuse to believe that being "feminine" is somehow less human. I embrace humility, love, honesty, care, peace, joy, and beauty because God is the source of all those things: I've never heard of the God of toughness, grit, and masculinity.

Jesus lived, died, and rose again so that all may be saved. He loved those others avoided. He went through the despicable shame of the cross. He tells us to clothe ourselves with the qualities that he demonstrated (Colossians 3:12-17). I think those clothes are pink.

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