Eureka! I believe I may have discovered yet another example of the dichotomy between males and females. Without further preamble, who of you can correctly identify the following: Sarsaparilla, Coast of Maine, Polaris, Thunderbolt, City Street? How about Phoenix Fossil, Fragrant Cloves, Turning Oakleaf, Demeter, Pony Tail or Spiced Vinegar? Well, try these then: Neptune, Wavecrest, Bashful, Sorcerer or Planetarium? Any clue? If so, my infantile ‘research’ concludes that you are likely female, because few men would know these as just a miniscule sample of . . . paint colors. Seriously. Seriously? I’m supposed to pick Pony Tail for the kitchen? Now, I realize that this conclusion is based upon my own experience and has no scientific underpinning, but I don’t tout this as ‘news’, only as a revelatory opinion.
I learned—unfortunately--about the esoterica of paint colors when our home suffered a serious fire some years back. While the kids and I resided in a rental house for some six months, the task of overseeing some reconstruction, new wood flooring, rugs and carpeting, full repainting and new furniture throughout—among other things, were left to me. Of course, I had a general contractor, but with respect to decisions on the aforementioned, I was on an island. A few well-meaning female friends advised me to hire a decorator. I resisted. I neither wanted nor desired that some stranger to our family come in and create a monument to herself, so I took it on. In retrospect, perhaps my innate macho stubbornness was, well, just that. Nevertheless, on I marched. There was much to learn.
Feedback from the kids informed me that I’d done a creditable job with the wood floors and furniture. Paint colors, however, were my Waterloo. Not only was I devoid of experience, but I had to decide about not just walls and ceilings in multiple rooms, but the kids’ bedrooms were included as well. Oh no, it couldn’t be simple. Should the walls below the chair rails be the same as those above or perhaps a bit darker? Should the rails be flat or glossy? How about the ceilings? All white? Well, which of the 83 shades of white? Who knew? Why did we even have chair rails in the first place? Some rooms had no chairs. When I first began this trek, I traveled to a nearby paint store—where I would become a regular--and chatted with one of the woman working there. She started pulling books and chits with names such as Sheer Romance and Spring Morning. I could not decipher any of it. Frankly, it was overwhelming. How could this be so unnerving? What happened to the days of four primary colors and their immediate derivatives? I ended up with 37 colors in our house if memory serves.
Interestingly (at least to me), I think I may have come upon a possible solution to this conundrum as to how we have arrived at the place where selecting paint colors should be part of a college curriculum, perhaps even a graduate program. Somewhere on this fair Earth, though I know not the exact location, I imagine an enormous hall, much like the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. I suspect. I visualize it filled with what I believe to be a cadre of talented, creative, well-meaning women, from across the political decorative spectrum shall we say. First, this makes perfect sense to me as in general I believe woman are much smarter and more intuitive than are we simple men. In any event, I think It must be there, in that cavernous hall, that the delegates debate and then, after much gnashing of teeth and banging of the gavel by the Speaker of the Hue, create the names I have set out above and—literally—thousands more. That is ‘thousands’, such as Baby’s Breath, Magic Wand and Everlasting. I find this astonishing. I think the reps pass more color names than the U.S. Congress does laws and that’s saying something. Even more shocking though, is that it is not solely the colors of paint that the Color Congress debates and then pass into the Color Spectrum Law. There has to be more. Must be.
I submit for your review and comment that it is not solely for the nomenclature of paint colors that Color Congress gathers for its annual sessions. Think about it. Have you ever cruised through Walgreens looking for some digestive help or otherwise and passed the nail polish section? Well, I have many daughters and I can assure you that it’s more of the same when discussing colors, but enters into yet a higher realm. I did fewer than five minutes of research and came up with a small sampling which includes the following: Untamed, Romantique, My Private Jet, Incognito in Sausalito, You Don’t Know Jacques and, the winner, My Very First Knockwurst. Now, are these names that men would develop? I think not. For paint we might let our creative juices flow and come up with Light Blue, Dark Green or, if we get really creative, ‘Tan’. Nail polish? How about ‘Don’t Waste Your Money’.
Heck, even the 24 count Crayola Box has a ‘cerulean’ in it. I had to look it up. I have no idea what other things may be ‘blessed’ with such indecipherable names, but I do know that the aforementioned are additional evidence for my conclusion—reached long ago—that I’m so happy I was born a male, simple and blissfully ignorant of so much that occurs all around me.