purpling, making purple

“No purpling!” It’s a familiar cry at church retreats and youth camps. But what does it mean? In a nutshell, it’s when the boys and girls at your youth camp start pairing off!

definition of purpling and making purpleAh, youth camp! and the church youth retreat! The Great Outdoors. Fresh air, fun and games, minimal adult supervision, and of course the chirping of birds and humming of bees. Responsible Christian parents probably hope that their pubescent sons and daughters are more interested in roasting s’mores and weaving friendship bracelets and keychain boondoggles than in sneaking off after lights out to “speak in tongues” with the other girls and boys. I’m reminded of the clever way one camp director summed up a successful summer of church retreats: “We were blessed to have no loss or gain of life this summer.”

Did you grow up being warned “No purpling!” at youth camps and church retreats? Were you a staffer desperately trying to keep the red and blue from going purple?



purpling n. Also making purple. [From the common association of the color blue with boys and the color pink (or red) with girls, and the color purple that results from the mixing of blue and pink] The fraternization of boys and girls, especially at a church event such as a retreat or camp-out.
2004 acamessageboards.org (28 Nov.) : “No making purple!” … Some of these comments are pretty funny, especially when you consider it is a strict church camp. 2005 youthblog.org “Christian Youth Work and Ministry” (5 Jan.) : One of the rules that we used to have was “No Purpling!” … a light-hearted way of saying that the girls were not allowed in the boys dorms and the boys not allowed in the girls dorms, i.e., the pink and the blue couldn’t mix (No Purple!) 2008 jonacuff.com/stuffchristianslike (30 Jun.) : Boys are signified as representing the color blue and girls the color pink. When they kiss, they make purple, so it’s common to hear youth ministers yelling “no making purple” at camp. 2009 notgreener.blogspot.com (13 Aug.) : How do you stop kids from kissing, i.e. “making purple,” at church camp? 2011 Harvey A.J. and Friends: The Discovery 42 : “No purpling! No purpling!” Sarah shouted, and they all laughed. Robby and Amanda said that boys were blue and girls were pink, and they didn’t want those two colors mixing to make purple.
  • I never heard this one, but then I only went to a United Church of Christ church camp where “Life Is a Highway” (You know, “Life is a a highway/I wanna ride it all night long”) was the official theme song.

  • Steve Crespo

    Wow… is it me or is the phrase “no purpling” a little disgusting?

    There y’go, now you’ve gone a soiled a perfectly respectable color! ;-)

    • Heather McCrillis

      Not just you, and any busy body that would’ve tried it at camp would’ve been thrown in the lake. That, and we would’ve thought it was something against Viking fans.

  • Pingback: love on : Dictionary of Christianese()

  • smartalek

    Maybe it’s different in the northeast, or different among the Catholics…
    Or maybe it’s just my own friends and acquaintances who are the unrepresentative sample…
    But it was well-known in my town that joining CYO was a way for even the socially slow to hook up.
    (And BBYO? Don’t get me started. But obviously not germane to this particular lexicon.)