Author: Stephanie Medlock

A Life Too Red: Flirting With a Dangerous Color

I was eight years old when I first heard my mother attack the color red. We were in Macy’s shopping for an Easter dress, and I pulled out a bright red number, one overlaid with white voile and sprigged with daisies “No, honey,” she said firmly. “Blonds can’t wear red. It makes them look like tarts.” At that age, I thought my mother was talking about pastry tarts, which she often baked with raspberry jam. While I loved jam tarts, I understood that you wouldn’t want to look like a piece of pastry. So I accepted my mother’s judgment , pushed the dress back on the rack and settled for the pale blue piece that she thought was more suitable. Her dismissal of red continued, unabated, as I grew up, but my acceptance of her clothing dictums did not. It became clear to me that my mother not only disparaged red, she disliked any color that drew the eye. Her favorite color was beige. It went with everything, she said, and it was always suitable. …