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Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Study in Pinky


It's funny how a person can go through life not seeing the significance of something simple, until looking back highlights a sense of continuity. If anyone had asked me three years ago why I showed back up as Pinky, I would have said it was like a random thing that popped into my head, like a leftover echo from the past. I never had a plan to make Pinky a meaningful thing. I forget how long I was on twitter before I ever attached another name to Pinky. A year? I started wondering this last month where Pinky actually came from to begin with.

I was first called Pinky in the third grade. I always wound up in the rowdy gang on the playground, and we got a particularly rough Red Rover circle going for awhile until the teachers broke us up. One kid in the group could never remember names, so he named us colors. "Red Rover, Red Rover, send Pinky right over." The goal was to break through the super double locked arms without being flipped over. (I'm usually the one who thinks up the new rules. I guess we flipped a couple of kids a little too hard.) After the teacher broke us up, they stopped calling me Pinky and I forgot all about it.

I have no idea why that kid named me Pinky. I actually hated the whole soft pink girly thing and never associated myself on purpose with the color pink if I could help it, although I thought Pink Panther was the bomb, and by my teens felt cruelly inflicted when my mom wouldn't let me have any violently hot pink and neon orange smashed hippie clothes, saying pink and orange clashed and could never be worn together. That was about the time Tupperware helped push the bold new orange kitchen motif, and I loathed how my mom jumped on that one, and extra-ly loathed anything pink if it didn't have orange in it just to be spiteful. I raged against the pink, as it were. Nowadays I laugh because pink and orange together are so trendy and fashionable again. @bonenado's girlie had pink and orange wedding colors, which I thought was delightful, and Bunny shows up in pink and orange all the time.


My next pink phase was when a friend I palled around with in college had a pale pink puffy coat through the winter, and I could always spot her in the crowd and go meet her. She was a pretty big person, which never bothered me, and extraordinarily witty so I never got bored, and I nicknamed her The Big Pink because of that coat. I never said it out loud because I didn't want to hurt her feelings, but I was quite fond of that handle and still think of her as The Big Pink. That was also about the time I got into my weird pink aspie diction games, walking around saying "pink" in as many different styles, inflections, and voices as I could, which I mention in You may be an aspie if... Other aspies and auties reading this are probably nodding.

Pinky became a real thing when @bonenado surprised me one day dragging me into a huge local jeweler and there I met Woody Justice himself, and he personally catered to me, bringing me a handful of rubies to pick from out of his hand. I designed my own engagement ring- a Pinky ring, made of twisted rope gold with a gold rose blooming on top, and a pink ruby set in the heart of the rose. It was one of the smaller rubies, but a true pink so I went straight for it, and he told me I had chosen the most expensive ruby in the pile. I don't remember if I told him I'd been studying gemstones on the side during a special section on rocks during a geology class (which came in handy later as I worked the jewelry counter in a nice store). I no longer wear my Pinky rings (I later got a matching twisted gold rope wedding ring) because they slide off my finger too easily, so I keep them on a necklace.


As more time marched on, the next big pinky thing for me was finger hugs. I grew up refusing to hug all excepting a very few members of my family and extended family, and when my sister's girl felt the same way, I initiated the finger hug. A particularly bad day would get a pinky hug. Finger hugs are very important. They are real contact when a person can't bring themselves to be touched, and that often happens during years of illness when contact is a continual germ threat and hugging hurts, or when personal space feels too personal, or when surviving even just emotionally makes it difficult to entangle or share presence. Sometimes you just can't play the head game and do real hugs for show or ritual when your whole world is a tightly knit fragile sphere of inner circle and everyone else has to stay out. Somehow, she let it be ok for me to reach through that sphere with a finger hug, and near the end I think our last touch before she went away was a pinky hug. I've continued the finger/pinky hug tradition with her sister.

My last big Pinky thing before Pinky blog came into existence was actually being a Pinky. I'd never called myself Pinky to anyone before, even though that was the first nickname I ever had. Pinky was a secret self that no one else ever knew about, until I named myself Pinky to one person in a chat room. I didn't realize at the time that was an emotionally significant moment, and that it meant I was letting someone come further into my head than anyone ever had. (Aspie's so aspie, alas.) About a year later, I 'came out' on a blue blog as a sort of pink freak, as it were. As per my mention above during The Big Pink friend phase, I've been a bit obsessed with the word 'pink' most of my life and never revealed it until April 4, 2008. From my original Bluejacky "You May Be an Aspie If..."


A year later my mom died and suddenly it wasn't fun to rage against pink any more, and I realized I actually do like the color pink in all its variations very much, especially in paisley combos with other colors. Three years after that realization (four years after the coming out about obsessing over the word pink), I came back public as Pinky on twitter, and within a couple months publicly confronted my orientation problems for the first time in my 100 Girly Questions Survey, originally posted on my bluejacky blog. If any of this sounds ridiculously obsessive, all I can say is I have Asperger's, and I have a pink thing that was hidden for many years behind a massive blue thing. Is it possible to be prejudiced against a color? Is it ridiculous to hide a color love from the entire world for one's whole life? Is this some kind of metaphor for an asexual aspie synesthete who struggles to process emotions in real time? It's obviously tied to a history with my mother and our difficulty with my rebellion against standard 'pink' female orientation. Once in awhile I run into other people with outright prejudice or adoration for very particular colors, either feeling so repelled that they avoid it at all costs, or so attracted that they absorb that color into every facet of their lives. I know my weirdness isn't that uncommon.

Anyway, I've had a string of names over the years as I've come and gone, but this is the last one. I will always be Pinky now. I've sworn never to go away again.


Pinky promises are a big deal. The tiniest part of your body symbolically carries the biggest secret, the weightiest commitment, the tightest bonding seal. A pinky promise is more than just a promise. It's bigger than a swear on someone's grave. It's a symbolic entwining of hearts and souls. It's tiny, like a secret. You can be in public and no one might ever see you touch someone's pinky with your pinky. That tiniest touch sometimes means more than any eye contact, and expresses more than any hug, especially if your nature prohibits physical interaction.

Imagine the thrill I got over the very first Sherlock episode being A Study in PINK.

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