Ever wondered why we rarely see actresses receiving their well-deserved (ahem) Oscars wearing a dark brown dress? Or the news reader sporting a brown jacket with matching brown tie? Or the weather girl pointing at her invisible map attired in a brown pencil skirt plus brown satin blouse? The answer is very easy really. Brown is a hideous colour, developed by children in playgroups when they pick up all the paints they can get their grubby little hands on and splodge them all together on a big piece of paper. Believe me, I’ve been in that playgroup.This slightly over-the-top aversion to brown might stem from the fact that I had to wear the damn colour five days a week for twelve years of my life. Brown blazer, brown raincoat, brown beret, brown skirt, brown jumper, brown socks, brown shoes, brown pants! Fortunately nobody ever checked the pants. Everything else was ‘regulation’, bought from a very expensive shop for a very expensive school for ‘young ladies’. Ha! That’s a good joke. We were named ‘The Brown Cows’, unsurprisingly, by all the other cool green, blue and red schools in the city. Is it any wonder then that the only brown things I now own are a pair of suede boots and a watch strap?
But recently the revulsion has moved onto another ‘colour’. Beige. I wonder how beige was created. Dirty wool dipped in a lot of sheeps’ milk? I did use to own a beige polo neck jumper but realised that it was hard to see where the jumper ended and my face began. If I had painted two pink spots on the front, at bra level, people would have thought I were naked.
However, the main reason for this newly developed dislike of beige came about a few weeks ago as I was driving home from work. I had to stop behind a bus which had let several passengers off. Two of them came around to the back of the bus and crossed the road right in front of my car. The man walked ahead of his wife. Neither looked at me or anything else that was going on. They were stooped and sad-looking. Their hair was beige, jackets beige, trousers beige, shoes beige. I can only imagine that his underpants were beige and her knickers too. What struck me most was their age, or rather their agelessness. It was very hard to tell just how old they were. Seventy? Sixty? Surely not fifty? In any case probably not that much older than me.
When did all the colour leave them or were they born beige? I must have seen them for all of ten seconds but the whole time I was screaming inside my head ‘I never want to be like that. I refuse to be colourless!’
So I hereby solemnly declare that I will do my utmost to stop the colour leaving me, either inside or out. I will continue to wear my multi-coloured scarves, red shoes, purple jumper, green trainers, turquoise hat. I will never walk sheepishly a few feet behind my husband. I will stride along beside him, holding his hand. And if a car stops to let us pass I will turn towards it and give the driver the biggest, brightest, most colourful smile I possibly can.