Meredith C. Carroll: The better gender also has a better color palette
Meredith Pro Tem
It was determined in a study years ago that women have a broader color vocabulary than men. I determined last month that the color lexicon of the people who make paint and nail polish trumps all. It’s as if they all got their advanced degrees in a Crayola factory rife with steroids.
While choosing new paint for my bedroom and bathroom, I found the selection at a few different paint stores to be overwhelming. What was staggering wasn’t the actual colors (although you have to wonder where, exactly, one would apply paint with a mucus-like tint), but their names. I tried hard to ignore them and just focus on picking the colors I liked best, but ultimately it was impossible not to be swayed by the images conjured up by their titles.
There was one shade of blue under consideration called Walden Pond. While it’s actually a lovely hue, I feared having it cover my bedroom walls would make me feel a little pretentious. After all, I’ve never read any Thoreau. It seemed akin to wearing a Grateful Dead t-shirt if I had never been to one of their shows. Or donning a hat from a race I hadn’t run. Just considering the color reminded me of how I felt when I sported a single Michael Jackson-esque jeweled glove in 1985. Needless to say, Walden Pond didn’t even make it into the Round of 16.
Now if the color had been called River Avon I might have felt more entitled since I’ve read lots of Shakespeare. Or if it was named after the Hudson River I’d likely be more comfortable choosing it since I lived so close to that particular body of water for most of my life. On the other hand, who really wants to wake up in a room named after a river best known for its pollution.
Other blues that didn’t make the cut include Abyss (because it’s just not the last thing I want to think about when the lights go out at night), Overcast (I don’t like the days, why use it to coat my walls?), Blueberry Bush or Blueberry Popover (gross). Aqua Chiffon makes me think of prom dresses gone bad. Caruso Blue reminds me of the guy with the flaming red hair who left “NYPD Blue” when it was still a hit and went on to make a bunch of bad movies. Cosmic Dust would probably have been a neat color for the scientist who discovered LSD to have on his lab walls while he was tripping, but he passed away last week. Teal Zeal? See Aqua Chiffon.
There was also Viva La Bleu, Hush-A-Bye, Flemish Blue (in case I was curious about the color of a sad Dutchman, I suppose), Blue Paisley, Port Au Prince, Blue Plax (a new brand of mouthwash?), Kiss Me Kate (which was suspiciously white for what was supposed to be a shade of blue), Glassine (which I always thought was defined as transparent), Star Spangled and Gossamer Wings.
The names for the green paints I looked at for the master bathroom weren’t much more palatable. After encountering Lime Taffy (seriously), Mint Wafer, Moss Ring (which may as well be called Fungus), Moss Point Green (no doubt a close cousin to Grosse Point Blank) and Globe Artichoke (huh?) I figured it was time to find a brand that uses numbers instead of names for its colors if I ever actually wanted to get the rooms painted.
Which is also what I think I’ll need to do the next time I want a pedicure. I got one recently and it took more time to choose the nail polish than it did for the actual pedicure because the names were so distracting. There was Sensuous Spice, Manic Panic Claw, So Blushious, Guilty Pleasures, After Sex, Thigh High, Starter Wife, Exotic Liras, Fishnet Stockings and Aphrodite’s Pink Nightie. If Pamela Anderson were my style icon or if I decided that being a slut was my calling, any of those would have fit the bill.
My stomach growled while studying some polishes. Like Cherries in Glow, Sheer Watermelon, Grape Shimmer, Strawberry Eclectic and Plummy. And it groaned at others. Rich Raisin seemed vaguely oxymoronic, as I’ve always considered shriveled grapes to be one of the less fortunate fruits. Toast to Shine amused me, as that particular breakfast carbohydrate has never been one I’ve associated with having a sheen. Pecan Pleasure simply made me shake my head, as I’ve yet to encounter one that’s brought me anything but a bad taste in my mouth.
When all was said and done I felt strangely hungry and immoral all at once. And white walls and bare toes never seemed quite so appealing.
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