Tom Ross: October is time to think pink -- even for guys

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I double dare you to walk into the Tap House on a Sunday afternoon during football season and order a Pink Squirrel.

A Pink Squirrel is a cocktail made of 1 ounce of creme de noyaux, .75 ounce of white creme de cacao and cream. It should be shaken with ice (not stirred) and strained into a champagne glass. And it's tasty, too. But that isn't enough to make me order one -- at least not during football season.

Have you ever stopped to wonder why not a single collegiate or NFL football team dresses out in pink? What is the intrinsic quality about the color pink that makes it something to be avoided by most men? Aside from the obvious, how is it different from any other color?

There is at least one college football team and one pro team for which pink is the perfect color -- the Panthers -- at the University of Pittsburgh and the NFL team in Carolina.

People might be surprised -- those pink replica jerseys might fly off the shelves. OK, maybe not.

I wore a pink dress shirt once when it was the designated uniform for groomsmen at a wedding. Another time I purchased some pink ski pants. Seriously. Remember neon ski fashions? I bought those pants on sale and convinced a snowboard model to wear them for a photo shoot. I actually had the shot of a snowboarder jumping off a rock published in a national magazine. They paid me money.

However, the model hasn't spoken to me since. You'd think he'd be more grateful. Today, the pink ski pants are buried in a big cardboard box marked in black Sharpie: "Halloween."

At my house, we hang clothes in the closet on nice chunky plastic hangers instead of the wire hangers that come from the drycleaner. Once, in the midst of an irrational snit, I perceived that my wife was hogging the nice brown and forest green hangars. So, I bought her a couple of packages of pink hangars, thinking it would be obvious that they were reserved for her use and her use only. I was mistaken.

I actually get cranky if she hangs one of my shirts on a pink hanger. This entire pink thing came on Sunday morning as I was settling in to complete a perfectly manly home improvement chore. We depend entirely on electric baseboard heat, and one of our 25-year-old baseboards had stopped heating.

There's nothing quite like an absence of heat in the master bedroom with winter coming on to throw a chill on romance. Although replacing a baseboard is the kind of chore that inspires procrastination, I felt a certain motivation to get on with it. That in spite of that fact that messing with electric wires kind of gives me the creeps. However, I was in for a rude surprise I could not have anticipated on Sunday. Don't worry, there were no electrical mishaps. I just stumbled blindly into pinkness.

My bedroom is painted safe beige color. But when I pulled the fried old baseboard off the wall, I found that a previous owner of the house had actually painted the room the color of Pepto-Bismol! I don't think the room was pink when we moved in 17 years ago. I'm guessing I put masking tape around the baseboard and painted a new coat of beige over a blue room. Yet, clearly, the original color of the room had been pink. May I say that I was horrified.

It wasn't just the knowledge that I had been sleeping in a room that was formerly pink that disturbed me. I found myself thinking of the poor dude who was forced to attempt to go off to slumberland in a pink bedroom!

But this pink phobia must come to an end.

After searching my soul, I've stumbled on what should have been an obvious reason to embrace pink all along. Of all of the times of the year, this is the month in which to celebrate the color pink. October is breast cancer awareness month, and a pink ribbon symbolizes the urgency of taking steps to ensure that the women in your life are looking after their health. Oct. 21 is National Mammography Day, and among women older than 40, a mammography exam is the best opportunity for early detection, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

In October, anyway, pink is my favorite color of all.

Tom Ross is a longtime Steamboat resident. His column is published every Monday in Steamboat Today.

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