Thursday, July 3, 2014

Showdown in Japantown

I've only lived here just over a month and a half, but I could probably already write a book about all my experiences in Japantown. I try not to talk about them too much here, though, because it would mostly just be me squealing (in text form) over cute things and the haul posts would get old super fast. But today I had a different sort of experience in Japantown. Not quite negative, because it didn't phase me that much. But curious.

I've been eyeing a "One Line A Day" memory journal online for a while (here's a link if you don't know what that is. I suck at journaling and thought it might help me), and I finally found one today in the little stationary shop in Japantown. So obviously this was the perfect excuse to buy a fancy new pen to go with it. (Note that my idea of "fancy" is probably more along the lines of "gaudy" or "anything with glitter.")

Very fancy.
After visiting a few shops, I finally found the perfect pen. It was clear pink with little strawberries and diamonds printed all over it and it had things written on it like "cute!" and "happy!" and "very sweet strawberry." It was also one of those magical color-switching pens and wrote in black, red, orange, green, and blue. So yes. Very fancy. (And also cheap, which was good.)

Just as I was admiring it, a couple girls, who I presumed to be in junior high, came along and were also looking at the pens.

"Ohmygod," one of them said, "I have to show you this pen I bought that some guy tried to steal from me!" She picked up the amazing pink pen I'd been looking at and showed it to her friend.

"Ahhewwweee!" That was the sound her friend made in reply. It was sort of a mix of laughter and disgust that I can't really convert into written dialogue. "Why would he want to steal that? It's pink! What kind of guy is he?"

Upon hearing this, I could imagine pretty well what kind of guy he probably is. A really fucking awesome one who knows a really fucking awesome pen when he sees one. And a guy who I hope has kids so he can pass along his clearly fantastic non-gender-assigning color ideas to them. (And perhaps a guy who has kleptomaniac tendencies, but I'm overlooking that part.)

I was obviously projecting into the situation a bit. The girls reminded me of many of my peers when I was a kid. And in my head the guy was a young me. I obviously know nothing about any of these people outside of this brief dialogue, but it was enough to conjure up warlike flashbacks of school and of the things I always felt I was expected to like, as a boy. There were "boy" notebooks and "boy" clothes and "boy" toys. (Now the term "boy toy" means something a little bit different to me. Bow-chicka-wowow.)

And I'm not talking about this as a sexuality thing, because I don't know the sexuality of the boy they were talking about. I just know he's a boy who, based on context, wanted a pen because it was pink and I don't get why that's bad. It struck me as weird that people still apparently make big deals over things like this in 2014. Actually, it's weird people ever made big deals over stuff like this in the first place. I thought it was an old topic and that we'd all moved on to more important ones. I guess it isn't.

Luckily, I haven't experienced much pink-hate as an adult, but now I don't know if I just stopped caring or stopped noticing or if it actually stopped happening. My favorite colors are purple and black, but if something comes in pink, I generally get it in pink. I think pink radiates happiness. My phone case is pink. Several of my phone charms. My 3DS. My notebook at work. My computer wallpaper and water bottle and other trinkets. A coworker recently complimented the color scheme of my desk. (A straight male coworker. Not that it really matters. Just a lot of the pink-hate I got as a kid came from straight males, so obviously this guy's pretty awesome.)

Needless to say, I bought the pen anyway. As soon as the second girl said her bit, I snatched it up right in front of them and walked away. But I could feel their judgy eyes on my back. It didn't matter, though, because I had an awesome pen.

-joe