Thursday, April 28, 2011

What's so bad about beige?

Since I started this blog a month or so ago, I've gotten more than a few comments on my choice of title. "Oh no, all I wear is navy blue and beige," a friend at work admitted somewhat shamefully. "Uh-oh. I wear tons of beige," said another friend, wincing slightly. Ladies! Fear not; my title is not to be taken literally. Let me explain.

Beige, as a color, is fine. Beige is tasteful. Beige is appropriate. Beige is the only shade of paint on a wall that won't upset your landlord. Beige is easy to ignore.

In college, I held a part-time job at a paint shop where I was paid $8.50 an hour to fake expertise in household painting and decorating. Upper-middle-class housewives would regularly come in and agonize over this shade of beige or that shade of beige, and sometimes I'd just make something up out of thin air—that cool beige tones are shown to have a calming effect, or something—just so they'd make up their damn minds. For such an unassuming color, beige was a real pain in my ass.

But there's really nothing wrong with beige. See, there's beige the color, and beige the philosophy of life, and they are two separate things. Living life in beige is to never take a risk, to never stand out, to always do what is expected of you. Blazing a new trail, literally or figuratively, can be pretty scary—but it's also intensely rewarding. So when I say that life's too short to wear beige, I'm actually just paraphrasing something my dad has always said to me: "Do what you want, and give it hell."