Once upon a time in law school, they told us that red was a power color. The next exam period could have been mistaken for a communist revival.
But then again, (here’s my pitiful car reference of the day) Ferrari is internationally known by the red paint. Granted, it originated many years ago when each country was assigned a color under which to race (green–British racing green; blue–Tour de France blue; red–Italy…). I mean, Rosso Corsa is practically the default color for all Ferraris which, in my humble and totally unbiased opinion, are the best exotic marque out there.
But I digress. We are here to talk about pink. A few years ago, Aerosmith spent an entire song on the color.
Pink is my favorite crayon, yeah
Pink it was love at first sight
Pink when I turn out the light
Pink it’s like red but not quite
And somewhere much earlier in the song “Pink as the bing on your cherry.” Well, you get the picture.
But what recently sent my mind off on the color was found on page 26 of the most recent J. Peterman catalogue. [If you’ve never experienced J.Peterman, I highly recommend reading any one of his eloquent descriptions about clothing; it’s a treat, and obviously an inspiration for my love affair with things renaissance].
Mr. Peterman spends a page talking about how pink is an awfully powerful color. It can calm anxiety and crankiness. It’s reassuring and warm. It’s a powerful color in a manner in which we don’t always think of power: a rather soft power that softens the edge of the person perceiving it. (Maybe that’s why the customer copy of the Comcast service invoice is pink?)
But often we don’t give credit to this kind of power. We really only acclaim that which has succeeded by means of hard-handed action and rule by tyranny. I think we overlook the quiet power that exists at the other end of the spectrum–the gentle power of ease and consideration. I think the old axiom goes something like “you get more bees with honey than you do with vinegar.”
Perhaps if Lee Jong-seok of South Korea wore pink today, then the North would not have stormed out of the talks? Well, that may be a bit of a stretch. But I think it boils down to this: why must all power be viewed as a matter of raw strength? What about power derived from generosity and support instead of fear?
Wow… this sounds a bit crunchy for me. But, I think the bottom line is, if more people wear pink, then maybe Iran and North Korea and Indonesia and Chechnya wouldn’t be so bitter and full of angst. Maybe their people would be happier, not living in fear of their governments, but living in willful support of them?
As Mr. Peterman described: “Pink is red without the bared, sharp tooth–warm and sensuous, and unthreatening.”