Posts Tagged ‘cars’

The Pink Car

April 21, 2008

“Not the pink one!” I thought, softly to myself.

It was Christopher’s fourth birthday, and we were making a quick stop at the local store to pick up some last minute cups and plates and stuff for his party.

He asked “May I get one?” as he looked at the alluring display of toy cars.

“Of course!”  It was his birthday.  How could I say “No.”

But as his hand reached out, I thought again.  “Not the pink one!”

It’s not that I have anything against pink.  I’m old enough to remember when pink was a fashionable color for guys.  The fashionable color for guys!  Cool guys.  Any guy.  Every guy.  And I don’t mean the color salmon!  I mean pink!  I’m pretty sure it was a complement back in the 70’s when a girlfriend said to me in a soft voice “Pink is definitely your color!”  Well… I hope it wasn’t just the shirt.  But yeah… Pink did kind of bring out my tan!

But back to my four-year-old son.

My wife and I tried hard to raise him without an obvious gender-bias.  We had a “no-gun” policy for his first couple years, until he started a make-shift battle with sticks with another two-year-old standing in line at a dinner buffet.  Christopher couldn’t even talk yet, but he could “pshht” [feigning a bullet sound] with the best of them.

Where did they pick this up?  How do they learn these things.  “Boys are different,” we slowly concluded as we watched Christopher develop.  I concluded that playing “Cops ‘n Robbers” with my brother with toy guns didn’t cause an abnormal affinity to guns for of us.  I never even fired a real one until I was over thirty!  So, why should it affect Christopher.  Going forward, starting with a squirt gun, Christopher had his share of guns to play with.

But I also never discouraged Christopher from picking up and playing with dolls.  Or from choosing “pink”.  “It was definitely his color.”  It was bright and attracted his eye.  And nobody had ever told him “Pink is for girls.  Blue is for boys.”  And he wasn’t going to learn it now, I hoped.  It was his birthday!  But as he continued his reach for a car, I thought again, a little louder to myself, “Not the pink one!”

Regardless of my unexpressed wish, Christopher picked up the pink car and put it on the counter.  I paid for it and we went home.

It couldn’t have been more than a few minutes after we got home when one of Christopher’s uncles said “Pink?” in a mock surprise and disapproving tone.  I tried to shake my head and get his attention without Christopher seeing me.  “Let it go!” I said without words.  “Don’t say anything!”  But the Uncle ignored my panicked gestures in the background and just repeated “A pink car???”

Christopher looked at his uncle, but said nothing.  And within a few hours the pink car was abandoned forever, as dozens of other birthday presents took its place.  I don’t think he even remembers it.  But I do…

Not surprisingly, soon Christopher lost his affinity to pink.  And soon after that, on the last day of kindergarten, he asked me if he could throw away his “Winnie-the-Pooh” tee shirt.  I let him, but it was sad.  Did I really have to to watch him grow up in this stifling peer pressure of kindergarten classmates and insensitive uncles?  I always wondered what was said to make him discard his favorite shirt.  And it wasn’t even pink.

Favorite color?  He didn’t learn it from me.  But ask him his favorite color today.  I assure you that you won’t hear “Pink!”