Pink Think by Lynn Peril

A couple years ago, I went to a Q&A with a cartoonist who recalled a time he tried to rid himself of pubic lice with Lysol. He took a shower, poured on undiluted Lysol, then had to take a second shower minutes later in order to alleviate the burning. Listening to this made me laugh until I cried because, yikes, who would willingly pour chemicals on their genitals? Well, I recently learned from Lynn Peril’s Pink Think that Lysol was once advertised and used as a douching agent. And yeah, it turns out some women died from it- stuff of nightmares!

Remarkably, this book is fairly un-nightmarish. Peril has a way of writing that is funny and personable on top of being insightful. Her knowledge of femorabilia is extensive, starting with the point pink became the ‘girl’ color and ending in the 1970s when pink think is less of a thing. In between there’s everything from kid hope chests, to sweater advice to teen girls (boys don’t marry hussies in tight sweaters!), to women getting college degrees in home ec, to advice for widows (if you sleep around post-husband, your family might have you committed). A lot of it is upsetting… but I get the author’s fascination with femorabilia/groomed femininity/whatever because it is fascinating stuff. And a lot of it is easy to laugh at now- the glamor menstruation pad ads are pretty awesome. This was a recommendation and personal loan from Kristy (she has a gift for knowing what books you’ll like)- and of course, I loved it. Here’s hoping lingering things like douching and dating rules are on the way out…

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