I've heard a friend speak a few times about gender roles, and how you get assigned yours at birth. No one asks, no one waits until you're a little older; they wipe off all the birth gunk, look between your legs, and decide, "Yup, you're a boy."
Or a girl.
Whichever parts you happen to have.
I first heard her discuss this over the summer, and I didn't really give it much thought until I ran into some pretty rigidly defined gender roles maybe a week or two later. See, Jeannie had a baby over the summer, and named her Violet. I decided that I was going to find some adorable violet baby clothes for her, and discovered over the course of a weekend that adorable violet baby clothes are pretty damn hard to come by. You can get a lot of pink, a lot of blue, and then if you really hunt some minty green, lemon chiffon yellow, and slightly-off white, but there's very little of that. For the most part, there's just an endless selection of blue and pink, over and over and over.
I discovered yesterday that it doesn't really change much when you get older.
Today's football game, being the first home game in October, is also the Pink Out Neyland Stadium event for Breast Cancer Awareness month, and participants were asked to wear something pink. I have to wear my white polo, since I'm working, so I needed a long sleeved pink shirt to wear under it. I already have pink shirts, because I need something to wear on Wednesdays, but they're short sleeved, so I headed to Wal-Mart to look for something cheap.
My friend Sandy suggested Wal-Mart, but said I should just get a women's pink t-shirt there. I balked, because I don't know if women's sizes are the same as men, I don't know if women's shirts have extra space up front for breasts and I worried about walking around with droopy extra fabric all bunched up there, but I figured it would at least be a good place to start. I was kind of wrong, in that I paced and paced and paced the men's department for several minutes and couldn't find pink anything. I must have looked suspicious, or they suddenly have a customer service philosophy, because eventually a sales associate came over and asked to help me.
"Yes, I'm looking for a long sleeved pink shirt, a button-down or a long sleeved polo or, you know, even a t-shirt is fine."
"Well, if it's for a lady, the women's department is over..."
"No, I need one in men's sizes."
"Oh. A pink shirt? For you? No, we don't have anything like that here."
Wow. Thanks for not shooting me.
Annoyed, I drove across the street to Target, where I had a similar experience and decided to just cut to the chase.
"The women's department is right over..."
"Oh. Well, um, maybe back by the summer stuff."
Yes, I know that straight guys also wear pink, and that I did a horrible job of breaking down gender roles by reinforcing homophobic stereotypes instead, but you know what? I needed a pink shirt, damn it, and I was already irritated by my Wal-Mart shopping experience. And then on top of all of that Target didn't have one.
But I found a nice Izod one at the mall, and it was on sale:
I was all set for the game, but the Pink Out Neyland event kind of turned out to be a bust. Very few people wore pink, although I did see a small group:
and some random stragglers, but that might also be because very few people came to the game at all. It's fall break right now, so the students are all gone. Plus we played Buffalo, which isn't even in our conference, and we're favored to come out 30 points ahead. It can't really be that much of a surprise that this was projected to be the lowest attended game in the last 20 years.
It looked fun, though:
And I did get a couple of compliments on my pink shirt.