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  • When I went dress shopping with my step-mom for the junior prom, the only rule she set was no red dresses. Why? Because your father would disapprove. Why? Because red is the color of whores. Not that she used that word. She phrased it more delicately, women of the night, maybe. Possibly even jezebel. I didn’t ask more; I knew what she meant. No red dresses.

    Many years later I asked my then-fiancé what color to paint my toenails (bored with my collection of neutrals). Anything but red, was his response. Why? Girls with red nails look like sluts. When I painted my toenails for the first time the summer after I left him, I bought the brightest shade of red I could find.

    Why would you do that? He said when he saw me.

    Because I can.
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