THE PINK IPOD is an excerpt from FLOPPY PARTS which may be purchased through Amazon at

I have a pink IPOD which for some reason has become the object of debate. I realize that I don’t coach in one of the more progressive areas of the world but find it thought provoking that even the mature kids that I coach ask, “Why do you have a pink IPOD?” They ask this while giving me the old fish eye and nodding as if they know something that I don’t. Well, they probably do know something that I don’t but they do not know the reasoning behind the pink IPOD. I do not know why some men and boys have a homophobic fear of the color pink. I have several gay friends who nicely counterbalance the homophobic friends that I have, and none of them wear pink any more, or less, than anyone else. I also have no femininity issues unless they are latent. What if they are? I am in perfect tune with my feminine side and do not feel the urge to wear frilly feminine underwear…at least not yet. So, what is the reason for a pink IPOD? I know you are all on the edge of your seat anticipating the answer. Drum roll please! TA – DAH! You see, I can find it more easily when I lose it. Unless I have lost it on a pink flamingo or pink Cadillac, it is easily seen. No other reason at all. It is easy to find! Now if you feel the need to discuss pink being one of my favorite colors or my lack of concern when I wear pink knit shirts, pink ties or flowery Hawaiian shirts in pink motifs, we can talk about it. I do so love pink flamingoes and would offer a body part to own a Fifties model pink Caddy convertible. I just believe that I am a progressive thinker. Okay, not THAT progressive! It would have to be a body part that comes in twos.

My last year as a full time teacher, I shared a room during my planning period with Lola, a former Seventies “flower child.” I don’t know for sure that she was a “flower child” but she certainly looked the part, in a slightly industrial-sized way, and acted as if she had gone “one toke over the line” some forty or more years ago. I would venture to guess that she had continued as one for the last four decades. For those of you who grew up in the “Big Hair and Shoulder Pads” period, a “flower child” is another descriptor for “hippy” and a “toke” was the deep, held in inhalation of pot. I could almost see her sitting at the corner of Haight and Ashbury dressed in denim or gingham, singing “It never rains in California”…no, I see her more as a Janis Joplin type singing “Me and Bobby McGee,” – a cleaner Janis Joplin type.

Once I wore a pink knit shirt and several days later a pink oxford cloth dress shirt with a dandy purple print tie. She commented that “You seem to wear a lot of pink.” I was unsure what constituted “a lot” and I really didn’t think I had even worn them both in the same week. I had also sported the color blue three times that week and I was five for five wearing khaki. I probably should look into some trousers in colors other than bland. Rather than asking to see her fashion police badge I attempted to disengage from the conversation by answering, “No, not really” and shuffled the lab papers that I was trying to grade. It did not work.
She had recently remarried and I tried not to think about a story I had heard about the newlyweds “cavorting” at the previous year’s faculty Christmas party. By trying not to think about it I thought about it. If putting out my own eyes would get rid of that mental vision I was having I would gladly do it. Let’s just say that Lola was helping the new hubby unwrap an early Christmas present when they were discovered in the act while not locking themselves in the host’s bathroom. Kind of brings a different meaning to “be done in a minute.” I have just become a little queasy, and I know it has nothing to do with what I ate. Earlier in the year I had made the mistake of feeling sorry for Lola and was paying for it by “being her best friend”…actually her only friend it would seem. I am glad I wasn’t a BFF because forever seemed to get a little longer every time I was around Lola.

“’Herbie’ would never wear pink,” she said in her “little girl” voice. I knew I was going to hate myself but asked why anyway. “Herbie doesn’t believe it is manly even though I know differently. Herbie is quite manly. He is just afraid that other men might think that he is…uh…well, you know, Gay.” She tried to smile while biting on her lower lip and let her voice trail off. I tried to think of a way, in good taste of course, to stick a finger down my throat. Did I mention that Herbie looks like an overweight warthog wearing a Seventies lime green polyester leisure suit, complete with gold chains worn under a flowery unbuttoned shirt? He was a throw-back from an earlier period that I had tried to purge from my own memory. Before I could excuse myself to find a place where she wasn’t, Lola went on to say that Herbie had made her return a pink shirt she had bought for him and then questioned if I thought that was normal. Normal? Absolutely not! There was nothing about this conversation that was normal.
Few of my homophobic friends, or homosexual friends for that matter, have a fear of wearing pink …that I know of. I do find it humorous that some of my homophobic friends, one especially, are so adamant about “I don’t want them coming around me!” In my wisest teaching voice I ask, “Ken, are you afraid it is going to rub off on you? You know it is not like the flu. You can’t catch it.” I loved it when he offered the explanation that, “I don’t want them coming on to me.” Why did I love it? Because I got to ask, “Do you have a problem with the women coming on to you, because unless you are having to beat them off with a stick, you are probably not going to have to worry about men coming on to you.” I know I just missed a wonderful opportunity for a pun.

I also question the concept of being against homosexuality if you are a heterosexual male. Doesn’t that improve the odds of hooking up with a heterosexual female? Mathematically that would be two guys you wouldn’t be in competition with. Shouldn’t men be railing against lesbianism? No, we all have this dream that we can convert them. Ken would say, “It’s Biblical.” I couldn’t help myself and asked, “What about ‘spilling your seed upon the ground’ Ken?” Ever been guilty of that? In a study I read, of the ten thousand men polled, ninety-nine percent admitted to doing it and I would suggest that the remaining one percent are liars. He looked pensive for a moment, nodded his head before turning it to the side and weakly asked, “What’s with the pink IPOD, man?”

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