The other day Gal Smiley asked me what my favourite colour is, and I surprised myself by saying orange.
When I was a preteen my favourite colour was yellow. I remember in Grade 8, we had to do some art project centred around blue, red, or yellow, and I was the only one in the class that chose yellow. My art teacher told me that in his experience, 50% of kids choose blue, 49% choose red, and 1% choose yellow. I’m afraid that went straight to my head. Yellow was cool — the colour of rebels, man.
But by high school I’d moved on to red. I’d figured out that I looked much better in red than yellow, and I amassed so many red clothes that my mother had to introduce a new laundry load of just-reds. My Grade 10 English teacher, Ms. Robson, did this thing in the first week of school where we broke into groups, then got to ask her a bunch of interview-type questions. One of the groups asked, “What’s your favourite colour?” and I remember she said, “When I was young I liked yellow, but now I like red.” And all us teen girls nodded in quiet agreement. Ms. Robson was cool. Red was cool — the colour of pretty hip young teachers who let us ask them personal questions. Red rocked.
After university I went through a pink phase — I bought a new suit for my first job that was cream coloured with pink decorations, and I loved it. Even though pink does not flatter me, all my new pink clothes washed well with the old red ones. A few purple items made their way in there, too. Pink and purple were cool — the colour of girly girls. I felt pretty!
And now, suddenly out of nowhere, I seem to like orange. I blame the new set of markers I bought for the kids a few months back. There’s a lovely soft yellow-orange colour in there that I adore. It’s the colour of clementine oranges at Christmas. The colour of the inside of daffodils, the colour of the inside scoopings of jack-o-lanterns.
I looked online to see if this new colour choice reveals something deep and meaningful about my inner psyche. The “what does your favourite colour say about you” sites I found, though, are all hand-wavy and fluffy and new-agey and generally bogus. Liking orange may mean I feel more social now. It may mean I feel happy and sunny. It may mean I feel agressive and angry.
It may also mean I just like it.
One thing I did learn is that orange is the least popular colour among adults. Orange is by far the top choice when adults are asked to name their least favourite colour. In my age group, it doesn’t even register on the favourite colours pie chart.
Which means, of course, that orange is cool. Colour of rebels, man.