Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: This is for "Jack's Grandpa" (April 2), whose wife is afraid wearing pink will cause their baby grandson to turn into a cross-dresser. Relax! My aunt desperately wanted a baby girl, but to her disappointment, she had a baby boy. She kept that kid in frilly dresses with ruffles and his hair long and in curls until he was 4!

He grew up to be a fine young man. He did his service in Vietnam, married and raised a family. Of course, the rest of the family accepted his mother's "eccentricities," and no one ridiculed or poked fun at him. If a pink blanket is the worst thing that kid ever has to contend with in his life, they should all be grateful. -- CATHIE H. IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR CATHIE: I agree -- as did many readers who responded to that letter. Perhaps the experiences they shared will "color" Grandpa's view on the subject. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: You might be interested to know that pink didn't start out as a "feminine" color. In the Middle Ages, the color red was for men because it represented strength, war, fire and blood. The color blue was for women back then. (Blue represented harmony, peace, sky and water.)

When fabric was being dyed, the strongest color came out in the first bath. Paler colors followed with subsequent baths. Back then, men's clothing was made of pale red (pink) fabric. Nobody grew up "confused" in those days. -- TONAWANDA READER

DEAR ABBY: I had to smile at the letter from the grandparent of the baby boy whose daughter thought she was having a girl and received a lot of pink outfits. When my precious son was born, we weren't very well off financially, and I received many hand-me-downs from his two older girl cousins. All that mother needs to do is throw all the clothes in the washer with some blue dye. Then everything will come out blue or purple. -- BEEN THERE, DONE THAT

DEAR ABBY: All a baby is concerned about is having a full tummy, a clean diaper and something interesting to do when he's awake. Pink for girls and blue for boys is not some kind of biological imperative.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, baby clothes were all white. If they had any color trimming, pink was used for boys and blue for girls. The Ladies Home Journal in 1918 said: "There has been a great diversity of opinion on the subject, but the general accepted rule is pink for the boy and blue for the girl. Pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl." -- K.B., SALEM, ORE.

DEAR ABBY: I had a good laugh when I read the letter from "Jack's Grandpa." I have a daughter who is 3 years older than my son. When my son was a toddler, he worshipped his big sister and did whatever she told him. I will never forget my father coming to the house and my son answering the door in a big pink straw hat, Barbie high heels, a mini skirt and a hot pink feather boa. Dad had only daughters, and my son was the only grandson. Dad just about had a stroke when he saw my son. He thought the boy was corrupted forever.

My son is now 10, and he's all boy -- a straight-A student who plays sports year-round. He gets into scuffles at school and eats lunch in the principal's office once or twice a year. Please tell "Jack's Grandpa" not to worry. Clothes don't make the man -- his parents do. -- MICHELLE, NORTH ROYALTON, OHIO

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