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Thinking About "Drunk Tank" Pink
Fri Nov 01 2013 |
What is it about the color pink that makes you either love it or hate it? Mention pink Cadillac, pink flamingos, Pink Floyd, the Pink Panther, or a 1960s bathroom in Pepto Bismol pink, and everyone has a different reaction. One of the questions on my Feng Shui certification exam was, “Which color is the most calming?” Answer: Bubble Gum Pink. And then there’s the color of everything in my granddaughter’s closet – PINK. Pink has been used in some college locker rooms to lessen the power of opposing football teams. And, I couldn't resist writing about Drunk Tank Pink, a color thought to help calm even the most violent of offenders in prison.
In Feng Shui, pink is a Fire Element color, especially the deeper shades. A combination of the color red and white, it’s thought to make a person concentrate more on the feminine aspect of life.
But, does the color pink really make strong men weak, violent prisoners calm, and football players too “chilled out” to beat their opponent?
The answer is “yes” and “no,” based on whether you believe opinion or fact.
Drunk Tank Pink is officially a color called Baker-Miller Pink, a tone that was originally created by mixing one gallon of pure white indoor latex paint with one pint of red trim semi-gloss outdoor paint. It’s named for the two Navy officers who first experimented with its use in the Naval Correctional Facility in Seattle at the request of researcher Alexander Schauss.
In the late 1960s, Dr. Schauss, Director of Life Sciences at the American Institute for Biosocial Research in Tacoma, Washington, studied the psychological and physiological responses to the color pink, especially one particular shade of pink. He found that merely looking at a card printed with this color resulted in "a marked effect on lowering the heart rate, pulse and respiration as compared to other colors,” especially after exercise.
In 1979, he convinced the correctional facility to paint some prison cells pink to determine the effects on the prison population. He found that this special shade of pink suppressed anger and anxious behavior among prisoners. "Even if a person tries to be angry or aggressive in the presence of pink he can't,” said Dr. Schauss. “The heart muscles can’t race fast enough. It’s a tranquilizing color that saps your energy. Even the color-blind are tranquilized by pink rooms."
Unfortunately, there were some issues beyond the early findings. First, there was no proof that these reactions to the color pink last longer than 15-30 minutes. And more important, although prisoners did respond and calm down, if they stayed “in the pink” too long they became even more violent.
But the legend of Drunk Tank Pink still lives on.
Perhaps that's what led to the strategy of painting the locker room for visiting football teams in a shade of pink. The University of Iowa's Kinnick Stadium has been home to a unique visitor's locker room painted almost entirely in pink – walls, floors, showers, and even the toilets are pink. The legendary locker room is believed to be a key to the school’s home field success record. Of course, it has come under criticism for being sexist, but that’s the subject of another post.
So what does this mean in Feng Shui terms? Well, it certainly doesn’t mean that you need to replace your white toilets with the Drunk Tank Pink version. And, it doesn’t mean you have to surround yourself with the color if you find it too “girly.” But, a little accent of pink in your home and office can have a temporary soothing effect and lower your blood pressure.
Your don’t need splash pink on your bedroom and office walls, but you could think about adding a pair of pink pillow to your bed, drape a pink throw over your sofa, use pink Post-It notes in your office, or display pink flowers on your desk. Or, simply try to “think pink” as an accent when you pick out your clothes in the morning, especially if you will be working with a group that day, since the color pink can bring energies together. A little pink can go a long way.