Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Colors and Commitment

I have been painting my basement rec room lately. White. This is a very unusual color choice for me. I like colorful colors. However, the room in question has purple carpet installed by the previous owners and a green sofa inherited from my husband's grandparents that is much nicer than anything we could afford, so we had to go neutral on the walls.

My husband and I put considerable effort into choosing the perfect shade of white. My parents gifted us the services of a professional faux painter to texture and top coat the walls. (She traded them this service for the privilege of using their ideal home for her daughter's wedding.) We consulted with her about color choices that would not clash with the purple and green and would combat the dark, dungeon-like feeling of the basement room and she recommended "ivory," which she described as off-white with a yellowish hue.

We looked at lots of paint samples that were the same color as all the dingy, cinder block, quite dungeon-like student apartments and dorms of my past. We carefully avoided that exact shade, and the result was, well, white. I saw a finished white room on the painter's website, and with her finishing touches, that white room was quite lovely, so I am hoping for a beautiful and not-as-dull final product.

As I painted the white room, I was reminded of a scene from a movie I watched recently, The Accidental Husband. The heroine's boring fiance attempts to engage her in a discussion about paint samples and she tells him they all look the same. "In what sense?" He asks. "In the sense that they are all white," she responds.

Now I am about to give away the end of the movie, but it wasn't a great movie so if you haven't seen it, don't bother. The heroine leaves her fiance at the alter.

As I mused on this topic, I soon thought of several films featuring characters whose apathy toward their romantic partners is manifest as apathy toward paint samples:

(Warning: I liked these flicks, so if you haven't ever seen them, avert your eyes. Although, when you see a character shunning paint samples, you'll know what's up.)

IQ: Because she doesn't care, the heroine randomly points to the color, algea, when her fiance asks her to choose a color for their new home. She dumps him before long.

Juneau: Husband doesn't care what color they paint the nursery. By movie end, he is divorcing his wife and dabbling in pedophilia.

He's just not that into you: Husband barely humors his wife as she muses about paint colors for a new addition at their home. He is in bed with another woman a few scenes later.

Are so many screenwriters telling this story because they can't think of another metaphor for commitment problems? Or have they independantly stumbled on a universal truth?

Just in case, I am relieved that my husband actively participated in finding the perfect shade of white for the rec room.

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