Rhymes With Fuchsia

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Don't Ask Me Why

Cara's contest last week asked entrants to answer the question "What's your favorite color and WHY?"

You all know my answer to the first part, right? Actually, since I seem to have a few new readers lately, or at least new commenters (and you are most welcome: please stay as long as you like), a few visual aids may be in order.

Does that help?

But after shouting, "Purple, of course!" I came up against the second part of the question: why do I like purple? Here are some of the answers that leapt to mind:
  • Because everyone does.

  • Because it's such a nice color.

  • Because some of my favorite flowers are purple.
I immediately realized that none of these is exactly a reason; the first one is demonstrably false (although I can't understand why), and the other two are just ways of reiterating "I like purple." Here's what I wrote in my contest entry:

My favorite color is purple, especially a dark, deep, saturated purple. I like it because it's, well, purple. It's right in between my other two favorite colors, red and blue. It goes well with green, my next favorite color.

It's lucky for me that Cara picks winners at random, because that way at least I have the same chance as the other 689 entrants; if she gave rhetoric or style points I'd be SOL.

So why do I like purple? It's sort of like asking why I like green beans, or cats. I can give you a bunch of reasons why I like cats, for example: they're soft and warm, they're just about the size of a human baby, they don't bark, they generally entertain themselves. Here again, though, while these are cat traits, they're not really reasons: all of you cat people are nodding in agreement and maybe coming up with a few of your own, but all of you dog people and no-pets-for-me people are dismissing them as specious or irrelevant, or maybe even as reasons you don't like cats. We could do the same thing with green beans, or purple, or mustard yellow, a color I dislike but that I'm sure has plenty of defenders.

As my husband the Latinist would say, de gustibus non est disputandum.


  • Hey, I'm a mom, so when all else fails, I fall back on the old standby, "Just because". Hey, I can't tell you why purple is MY favorite color, either...LOL. When I was a small child, my favorite color was "purplepinkandwhite". Although none of us can remember precisely why I used to say it that way, we are assuming that my grandmother likely had a skein of variegated yarn in those colors, and that she made something for me with it.

    By Blogger Chris H, at 5:01 PM  

  • you can't just throw latin in there without the translation. my guess is that it means there's no accounting for taste?

    yeah, the "why" question to cara's contest was the reason i didn't enter. plus, i couldn't just pick one color. on the other hand, it would be easy for me to pick one color i hated. and that would be that insipid pale peachy color. oh and pink. not a fan of pink. but i can't tell you why other than they're bland, sad colors to me. even a little pathetic.

    By Blogger maryse, at 5:15 PM  

  • I am also a purple-lover. I think maybe it has something to do with the fact that, as you point out, it goes well with green. Both are colors often found in nature, and purple is found in some of the most glorious aspects - flowers, sunsets, mountains, etc. And wine - let's not forget wine.

    By Blogger Jennifer, at 7:13 PM  

  • Purple, blue, red, and green are all well represented in my clothes and stash. Mustard yellow gets a big ewww, though. I grew up with a mustard yellow fridge, stove, reclining chair, and bathroom in the house. If I never see that color again, it's too soon!

    By Blogger Danielle, at 10:31 PM  

  • I watched Jeopardy last night for probably the first time in about 4 months... there was a latin phrase, meaning 'born to the purple', something like porphyrigenitus? Maybe that's the simple explanation for you. Me, I like looking at it, but most versions don't look good on me, so I don't have too much. Did you see how I'm like Henry VIII?

    By Blogger knitnzu, at 8:40 AM  

  • I like purple because I look good in purple. There. How's that for a non-specious reason? And I like cats because . . ahh . . oh hell, of course I love cats! Anyone who doesn't adore cats and devote her entire life to them is a sick, twisted . . . . Oops. I think I've said too much again.

    By Blogger Roxie, at 9:46 AM  

  • I like purple because it pops!

    My husband, on the other hand, has a real aversion to the color.


    By Blogger Susan Pandorf, at 12:37 PM  

  • "de gustibus non est disputandum". That brings back memories. It was a favourite saying in my household as I grew up (although, gotta admit, we probably said it wrong, with the 'est' at the end, but everyone we knew who said that, too, said it that way, as well. Hmm. Weird)

    Thaks for the flashback!

    By Blogger Lene Andersen, at 2:51 PM  

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