I have a confession to make. There's something that I have an unreasonable and rather passionate dislike of. It's something that has no real effect in my life (except to make me cringe); has never done anything rude, unkind, or unfair to me; and is in itself rather innocuous. And yet, every time I see it, I mutter under my breath about how awful it is, how it really shouldn't exist, that it's appalling that anyone, anywhere likes it.
It's the color orange.
That's right, I harbor a fervent dislike of a color. So much so that once, when I was making a color-based game for August to play, I pondered the ethical implications of skipping orange and not teaching him about it. Is it morally wrong, or simply benign neglect, to omit something so fundamental from a child's education?
Almost no one looks good in orange. Passable, maybe, but good? Rarely. My dear friend Kat once wore a high-necked, seventies-style bright orange dress, and she looked an absolute knockout, but the good news ends there. Most of us look pasty and washed-out in the color, and ought to retire it from our wardrobes entirely and permanently—especially blondes. (Kat has luscious dark hair.)
I'm forced to reconsider my antipathy every autumn, when the leaves go Kodachrome and the effect of all that crumbling color everywhere is surprisingly welcoming. But then I look for nuances and more precisely define what I see as ocher, cadmium, or amber. A devilish Halloween jack-o-lantern is about as much gaudy orange as I can take.
Sunrise and sunset can also be troubling, no-holds-barred challenges on my enmity. From the first blush of salmon to the deepest blazing tangerine, I have to admit that dawn and dusk are usually quite beautiful, and orange itself is no small factor here. Perhaps it's due to the expansive presence of its complement, blue, a presence that so gently and generously frames the orange that it's possible, maybe, to forgive the outlandish color and grant it a moment's pardon in its celestial display.
So perhaps we can leave the orange to nature, and to construction sites that want us to stay away. Deal?
Do you have any irrational hatreds? Any colors you can't abide? Tell me!
Photos by Maarten van den Heuvel, Meg Nielson, and Gabby Orcutt, and me. I actually shuddered in revulsion while uploading the pictures to this post (not at the composition, just the color.)
When we were dating I asked my now-husband what his favorite color was. When he replied "orange" I sincerely thought something was wrong with him.
There totally is. 😉