Things I Need Explained

There are several things in life I’ve never figured out and probably never will. To an extent, I’m okay with that. To an extent. The things that get under my skin and defy explanation are usually ones that others seem to have no issues with. Or worse, an explanation is offered, but it makes less sense than the question. At any rate, here are a few things I need explained, in no particular order.

Why do some people insist that every single variation of a shade needs a name? Take off-white. That’s perfectly serviceable, though I admit some more specific names are useful such as ivory, bone, eggshell, and pearl. Notice something though, those names all describe real objects that are close to the color in question. You don’t have to guess what particular shade of off white someone means because you know what that other stuff looks like.

But somewhere someone believed we needed even more names for off white shades. Think about ecru. What does that even mean? Well, a quick search informed me that ecru describes the shade greyish-pale yellow or a light greyish-yellowish brown. Wow, two different colors in the definition. Why not just ask for light greyish-yellowish brown paint? Again, you’d describe the color instead of using a silly sounding name.

A sub-set of this issue is how some claim a particular shade of a color is not that color simply because it has another name. This was driven home when my friend George and I went to get fitted for tuxedos for a wedding. We knew our cummerbunds and pocket squares were coral, but we had no idea what color that was.

After the clerks measured us, George asked, “Oh, yeah, what color is coral anyway?”

“Oh,” she replied, “It’s a very nice light red with a hint of orange.”

“So you mean a shade of pink?”

“No, it’s not pink. It’s more orange. It’s coral.”

“You can’t define something with itself like that,” I interjected.

“Do you have something that is coral?” George asked. She pointed to a garment on the wall in the corner. “That’s pink.” It didn’t help that she pointed to a dress.

“No, it’s coral.”

“You can call it whatever you want, but it’s pink.”

“No, it’s coral. I’ve seen plenty of men wear it.”

“You’ve seen plenty of men wear that dress?” I asked.

“Of course not.” She seemed exasperated for some reason. “I mean, I’ve seen men wear coral.”

“Do they like other men?” Now she was definitely exasperated (and yes I know that wearing pink has no bearing, it was just something I said).

So someone please explain this need to minutely qualify colors. Also please explain why people insist certain color aren’t pink when they clearly are.

Another thing I need explained is why women do many of the strange things they do to look beautiful. I clearly don’t mean bathing, hygiene, or even makeup. I mean all those weird trends that do little to increase attractiveness. I mean the weird things women do with their hair and clothes.

One recent trend that completely baffled me is creating a weird hump (or bump) toward the back of a woman’s head. Some women even buy plastic things to create the look. Know what? It’s not attractive. At all. Ladies, please hear me when I say there is not a man on this planet that has ever thought to himself, you know what I would really love in my wife/girlfriend/significant other? I would just love if she developed an unnatural inhuman lump at the back of her head. Yeah, nothing gets my motor running like sexily stroking her hair and hitting a speed bump.

And by the way, I’m convinced that most style decision women make are for other women. I can’t count the number of times I read an article in trash like Cosmopolitan (back when I worked in magazines) that claimed to explain “what your man wants.” In almost every case I said the same thing after reading, “No, no he doesn’t.” In fact, most of that getting ready you do? We men usually don’t notice or care. Want to get a man’s attention? Show up and be real. We’re pretty simple like that.

Oh and fellow men? It’s not okay to do to be crass, obnoxious, etc. just because that’s what is usually expected of us. We can up our game. Just because it’s not important to us doesn’t mean it’s not important them. If we want them to be more real for us, we have to be more presentable for them (yes by their standards).

And here’s another that I need explained. How is the following conversation I had with my wife even possible?

“Will you hand me a blanket, please?” she asked.

“Sure,” I said and reached for one of the blankets she keeps folded in a basket by the couch. “Wait a minute, isn’t this the blanket I just gave you, like, five minutes ago?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Why? Well, I ask because I just gave it to you five minutes ago.”


“So why did you fold it and put it back up.”

“I had to go into the kitchen for a moment.”

“It was just five minutes.”


“So? So? I can;t get you to turn off the lights when you leave a room because you always say you’re coming right back, but you’ll happily take the time to fold and put up the blanket when you leave the room? How does that make sense?”

“It just does.”

“This from the person that uses both a straightener and a curling iron in the mornings.”

“Just hand me the blanket.” I handed her the blanket.

Of course, the thing I most need explained is how I got lucky enough not just to meet the woman of my dreams, but to be loved back by her.

© Leighton Brown and Stories Now Told, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Leighton Brown is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Leighton Brown and Stories Now Told with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. For more information, please see the Copyright page.

About leighton

I could be considered a true Renaissance Man after having a long and storied (seriously, people actually tell stories about it) college experience and varied careers. I am also a shameless self-promoter (who did you think was writing this anyway?) who is prone to flights of fancy, an abundance of passion on any given subject, ,obsessive behavior, spontaneous storytelling (whether anyone listens or not), and making parenthetical references. I would also be thrilled if I heard someone use the word "raconteur" to describe me.
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1 Response to Things I Need Explained

  1. Terry says:

    Well, theoretically, giving a name to something lends it power. Additionally noted, shades of color are (I believe) a system invented solely by women. Quite possibly so they can claim that they aren’t wearing the exact same thing to a party.

    My theory is that women got bored with gathering while men were out hunting back in the stone age, so they invented countless little rituals, and that tactic to stave off boredom has carried over to modern times with ridiculous results.

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