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Real men wear pink
October 8, 2010 - Scott Muska
Earlier this year, during my final college semester at Penn State, I approached a complete stranger at a bar and struck up a conversation with her because I thought she was attractive.
This is something I literally never do. I'm more adept at just leering from across the room and imagining what it'd be like to talk to the girl in question. I do that for a while, then I leave whatever establishment I'm at and trek home with my friends to watch YouTube videos until the sun comes up. (Once you watch one, you just can't stop you know? It's like eating Pringles.)
I don't know exactly why I talked to this girl on that particular night or where I acquired the brief bout of courage required to do so (it certainly had nothing to do with Miller High Life), but somehow I did.
If you were to ask me a couple weeks ago, I'd probably say approaching this girl was one of the bravest things I did toward the end of my college career, even though it wasn't a brave thing to do. At all. Anybody with a bit of self-confidence can approach a girl and start talking to her, and people do it every day. I assume this was how people generally met before the Internet was invented. My Dad didn't pick up my Mom 30 years ago by poking her on Facebook. He did it the old-fashioned way: He spit some golden game at her while she was ringing up his groceries at my Grandpap's store. She was unable to resist his mustache and charm (in that order), and I don't blame her.
Over the weekend, I was talking to the aforementioned girl -- yep, she somehow still talks to me -- and she told me her friends know me not by my name, but by my attire from that fateful night.
They call me "Pink Shirt."
That's fine with me; I have no problem being associated with wearing pink. But I do know they wouldn't have called me "White Shirt" or any other color (except maybe purple) followed by shirt had I been wearing something else. They probably would have referred to me instead as "Cultural Icon" or "Brad Pitt's Doppelganger." This stood out to them because somewhere in the annals of history a person or group of people made the decision that pink was a womanly color, and one that is emasculating when rocked by men. I'm not sure how it caught on, especially because men don't have a color to call their own, but it did. (If men can lay claim to any color, it's blue, predominately because that's the color most often attributed to newborn boys, while pink is attributed to girls. But a girl isn't looked upon as less girly because she's wearing a blue skirt. Men in general will usually just have a hard time digesting any information other than the fact that she is indeed wearing a skirt. We become colorblind in situations like that.)
I found out my new nickname was "Pink Shirt" on Saturday evening, and didn't really think about it again until I was watching football on Sunday afternoon (BEIN' MANLY). As I'm sure you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, something I was reminded of by all the players wearing pink-colored everything. Some were even wearing pink skull caps. If you know where I can find one of those, please let me know.
That's when I started to feel like a complete idiot. I actually viewed hitting on a girl at a bar as something brave, when countless women all over the world are battling breast cancer.
I haven't had to do anything that even approaches that level of bravery in my entire life.
I'm sure anyone who reads this knows a family member, friend or colleague who has or has had breast cancer. I have a friend who has been battling it since she was in high school. An estimated 207,090 women were diagnosed with breast cancer thus far in 2010, and 39,840 women died, according to the National Cancer Institute. 1,970 males were diagnosed, and 390 died. (I bet some of you didn't know men could get it, right? It surprised and worried me when I first found out, because I honestly think my moobs might fit a small A-cup. Maybe I'll look into getting a sports bra for when I go running.)
That's a really frightening and intimidating statistic, and after looking at those numbers it's difficult to not feel helpless. There are things guys can do, though. Obviously, you can't just come up with a cure, but you can help. Not by offering to provide free monthly examinations (try walking up to a girl in the bar and doing that), but by wearing pink.
Now, I know this is a minuscule thing to do individually, but if you can get a few guys you know to purchase something pink from one of the many breast cancer foundations out there, some serious scratch can be raised for those who have it and those who are trying to find a cure. (There are some links off to the side of this under the search bar, and if you just Google breast cancer you can find many, more, along with instructions for those examinations you may be considering.)
Who knows? Maybe it'll become so viral that by the time a cure is found and breast cancer disappears, the notion that pink is an unmanly color will vanish with it. That'd be killing two birds with one stone. (With breast cancer being a 747 and men getting chided for wearing pink being a hummingbird, since they're obviously not even in the same ballpark of importance, but still.)
Earlier this week, women all over the world teamed up on Facebook in an effort to spread awareness. The idea was to put up a status stating where you like to put your purse. There were statuses that said things like "I like it on my desk," "I like it in the backseat of my car" and "I like it on the kitchen table." Obvious innuendos, and that was the point. I saw at least 30 of these throughout the day, and decided to figure out what was going on. Using my sharp investigative journalism skills (Bob Woodward's got nothing on me and my ability to use search engines), I found out that the whole thing was to spread breast cancer awareness to guys. They knew that one of the only ways to get the attention of dudes on Facebook is through artful and wiley use of innuendo, and it worked.
We can show them we are indeed aware, and that we care, by buying some pink gear and rocking it as soon as possible.
If you're a guy, be honest with yourself. A day has probably not gone by since you turned 13 when you haven't thought about breasts. That's just the way it is.
If they're something you think about positively on a daily basis, don't you think it's worth doing a little something to help keep them healthy?
Come on, guys. Let's help save the boobies.