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What’s in a name

What’s in a name

September 17, 2007

Luckily my son’s room has dried to a more acceptable color, more tan, definitely not the color that we normally think of when we use the word FLESH to describe it.

So I will refrain from using that apparently non-PC word to describe the color of my son’s walls.

From now on I will refer to the color of his room as the color of skin that results when a pasty white girl of german descent procreates with a dark olive skinned man of Italian descent and they have a daughter who goes down to Walgreens and buys a bottle of foundation off the shelf that she thinks will match her skin. But it will be too pink, like a newborn hog. That color.

Or the room painted the color formally known as the color Crayola had called ‘Flesh Tint’ in 1903 until it was changed to Flesh then temporarily to ‘Pink Beige’, back to Flesh and then finally to Peach and now we have no idea what to call it without offending everyone.

Or maybe for brevity I will just call it the LIGHTEN-THE-HELL-UP color.

Just sayin’

Posted by Chris @ 8:24 am  

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Comments

  1. Karen Vogel says:

    Whew! For all my paint color mistakes (and they have been legion), at least I never offended anybody (aside from maybe his/her aesthetic sense).

  2. Blake says:

    You crack me up!!!

    just sayin’

  3. Estee says:

    bwahahahahahaha!! I am thinking that my mother-in-law is in desperate need of some “lighten-the-hell-up” paint throughout her house. Hmmmm… I wonder if it would help her… Thanks for the laugh this morning!! :)

  4. Heather says:

    Haha! Out of curiousity, what WAS the name on the can? Paint names crack me up.

  5. Jeanette says:

    My five year old calls caucasian people “Peach” people….who says Crayola has no influence? I agree-LIGHTEN UP!

  6. Tiff says:

    Oh goodie! I just knew you wouldn’t let that reply go by without a comeback!! I’ve been itching for it. Cha-ching!

  7. Sarah says:

    My mom refers to it as the “feminine hygene product” color. Ha! I’ll have to forward your post to her. She accidentally painted her sunroom that color once.

  8. Lori says:

    Amen!

    Thank you so much for standing up to whoever made that dumbass comment! I mean honestly! You were being descriptive! Not racist!

    I find it ridiculous that every damn thing has to be politically correct! And when you try to be politically correct, you’re politically incorrect because what is “acceptable” changes every damn day!

    Thank you!!!!!

  9. Christine says:

    Hmmm … seeing how it did match the color of YOUR flesh …

    I have an adopted child who is black. When she sees something brown-ish, she’ll say something like, “It’s chocolate - like ME!” or with something light, she’ll say, “It’s white - like YOU!”

    Her color is always something delicious … like chocolate, or coffee. I’m just white.

    Stinkin’ racist four-year-old.

  10. Meritt says:

    I’m positive I painted our family room and dining room in that same paint in our last home in Minnesota. I thought; FLESH and SKIN every dang time I looked at it. Hated it.

    Luckily we got relocated soon enough and it’s now someone else’s problem.

    :)

  11. moi says:

    Oh my. Look what Crayola started! :) I was just telling my 7 yr old (who is currently studying INDIANS and pioneers) that I was so happy to see her teacher called them Indians and not that phony PC crap ‘Native Americans’. I’m a native of America but i’m not an Indian, lol. Nor are most ‘African-Americans’ from Africa, lol. Oh, my don’t get me started.

  12. Kristie says:

    While your original post about the FLESH colored paint was funny on its own, this reply is even funnier.

    If you want to discuss PC skin tones, we live in Georgia and my (lily white) children call their black classmates “brown”. As in, “You know Sam, the brown boy in my class?” Personally, I think it’s innocent and adorable, since there is not one smidge of malice in it.

    Much as there was not one smidge of malice in your original post. You rock, Chris!

    PS. I’m also guilty of purchasing foundation a shade or two off in either direction. :)

  13. kilburina says:

    Hi Chris - love all your posts but I just wanted to say that I was reading right from the beginning of your archives yesterday and I was loving every moment. I found out I was pregnant in July. We had been planning our wedding but changed everything to bring it forward and now have the baby to look forward to. The post you wrote to Miles about being sorry that your first reaction to finding out you were pregnant with him is so lovely and echoes a lot of what I am feeling and, I am sure, will continue to feel. Lots of good wishes to you and your lovely family!

  14. Katie says:

    You forgot about the freckles. Go flick some brown splotches on the wall for me, ‘kay?

  15. Brandi says:

    Oh for crap sake. The ‘flesh’ reference is directly linked to “Hannibal” the movie, wherein Wild Bill sews together Caucasian girls’ skins, thus the lotion and skin reference, leading those of us who have seen the movie to picture exactly what color of ‘flesh’ Chris is referring to.

    But I thought that was screamingly clear in her original post.

  16. elizabeth says:

    RACIST - sheesh. I just hate Hannibal (well, WHO loves him?) but would’ve never thought anything else!? Gawd, I am going back underground, as I just can NOT handle people )idiots) any longer!

  17. jm says:

    Benjamin Moore called. They need a new color-naming person. I’m nominating you :)

    “Lighten The Hell Up” will be THE MUST HAVE color for 2008.

    From, Your sistah in DIY Badassedness

  18. Courtney says:

    “Or maybe for brevity I will just call it the LIGHTEN-THE-HELL-UP color.”

    You crack me up, Chris!

  19. Dani says:

    Christine wrote: “Stinkin’ racist four-year-old.”

    OMG… I can’t breathe! LMAO!

  20. Not The Mama says:

    Hilarious. I missed the PC reply originally and had to go back and roll my eyes. Whatever. We all knew what you meant. And I’m glad that paint has dried a more acceptable color.

  21. Sheree says:

    I lost some coffee thru my nose after reading this post. When you said “flesh-colored”, I *knew* exactly what you were talking about- I remember having Crayola crayons with the color Flesh when I was younger.

    I guess some people need to use their reading comprehension skills before commenting.

    Anyhew. Nothing like painting an entire room and realizing that it’s totally the wrong color! Glad to hear that the paint is looking better now.

  22. Susan says:

    Lighten-the-hell-up is the new black.

  23. Blythe says:

    LOL! I love it. We looked at a house recently.. one of the bedrooms was painted in what I thought looked like “Barbie Threw Up”. A nice pink and purple explosion of gross lol. Each wall was painted in alternating pink and purple and the ceiling was painted a darker version of the purple.

    WHAT. WERE. THEY. THINKING?

  24. Esme says:

    My 9-year-old boy wants to paint his bedroom black with gray accents — like evil Spiderman from “Spiderman 3.” His second choice is a bright red room with a royal blue ceiling and black spiderwebs on every wall — like regular Spiderman.

    It makes Crayola-flesh colored walls sound totally normal, I think…

  25. Lilly says:

    Hey all, don’t be so hard on the commenter who wondered what color the word ‘flesh’ signifies. Since Chris said ‘peach’ earlier in the post it seemed clear which ‘flesh’ color she meant but the commenter wasn’t mean spirited. Take it or leave it but don’t put her down.

    And I’ve repainted a few rooms myself. Currently my dining room is the color ‘Linguini.’ I’m going to repaint it to be ‘Michelangelo.’ Love those swatch names.

  26. Jenn says:

    I painted all my rooms with food colors. We have “Fresh Espresso,” “Toasted Coconut,” “Bubblegum,” “Asparagus,” “Lemon Basil,” and “Merlot.” I get hungry every time I switch rooms. This is NOT working for the diet.

  27. John schmidt says:

    Man, I think Chris needs to Lighten-The-Hell-Up.
    Please, please write a post about my comment!!!
    I would love to get 46 comments on the post you write about
    me.

  28. Angie says:

    You’d have to be dumb as a box of rocks in this country to not know what color you were talking about, but sometimes you get sick of being ignored and invisible. That commenter didn’t mean anything mean spirited, but I might.

  29. Sunny says:

    We are in the middle of our own painting nightmare – our bedroom! And it has been going on for ohh about 6 months now. But the end is near, I can feel it. God, please give me the time and patience to finish this weekend! ;)

  30. camille z says:

    Yes. Let’s all praise ourselves for how un-PC we are. Because PC is all bad, wrong, and silly. Right? Because it has to be all one or all another way. Because PC is associated with overreacting to small perceived slights, and then blowing things way out of proportion.

    But certainly jumping all over someone, eagerly, angrily, who merely pointed out that not all flesh colored people are also peach colored–nope, nothing silly about that.

  31. Tricia says:

    Instead of further commenting… I wrote my response in my own corner of the world… http://www.fourplusfourequalsten.blogspot.com

    I’ve been reading for about a year here and will continue to do so. I love the anecdotes and Chris’ writing.

  32. steph says:

    I think it’s a CA thing. I live in the Bay Area, and I was totally surprised to “hear” you use the word flesh. PC is just such a way of life that it really stands out when one uses something that could be construed as inflammatory (although I would go out on a limb to guarantee that Tricia wasn’t offended; she was making coversation). When I hear the word Indian, even in an old-fashioned children’s book, my brain jumps to people from India. Native American rolls right off my tongue, however.

    we say purse, we don’t care who marries whom, we don’t care if you go to church or what, who or if you worship. But our ears flick up at the word flesh.
    weird.

  33. Maddy says:

    Could you just call it flesh, I think that’s a great name for paint in a boys room. Add some blood accessories and a black doona and your done. Goth room.

  34. Lovebabz says:

    The tricky thing about flesh is sort of like nude panty hose–who’s nude? I am a deep rich chocolate sister, so nude or flesh color to me would be ashy. Like go get some vaseline cause your black ass is ashy– kind of ashy. Nope not entirely offended by flesh–just like Santas (meaning there aren’t too many Santas of color either) you just need to cover all the bases of the rainbow…but I digress. Sigh. And you cracked me up too! Big time!

  35. october says:

    Camille z….RIGHT ON. Thank you. And you too, Angie.

  36. Ginny says:

    Me? I was just wondering how he rates his own room…they don’t ALL have their own rooms, do they? ‘Cause that’d be…a lot of paint.

  37. Sunny says:

    Duuuuuuuuuude. I think everybody needs to lighten-the-hell-up. Tricia included.

  38. Poppy says:

    Is there a full moon??

    I mean, geesh, she was talking about a paint color people! (not all people just the ones who obviously have sticks up their butts)

    Now come on, Chris…share the photos of the walls in all their fleshy goodness…

  39. karen says:

    I have purposefully not told my kids what color anyone is, just letting them define it for themselves. According to my son, he is orange and his sister is pink.

    Suits me just fine.

  40. Another Susan says:

    Wow - all of that over a paint color? For anyone to think Chris was discussing anything but PAINT is just looking for something to pick on JMHO Why do people do that?!?

    Must have been the weekend to paint bedrooms - my little one’s room was finally made into a big boy room (he’ll be 3 in 3 weeks). We painted it a sky blue color to go with his PB airplane quilt.

  41. october says:

    I think that the pc-pc-police are the ones who need to lighten up. It’s good to be sensitive to words like “flesh-toned.” Do you have any idea what it feels like to go through your whole life, from day one, feeling excluded from everything by everything, even by one’s own LANGUAGE? And yes, even by the Bandaids in the drugstore (”flesh”-colored Bandaids on dark skin look bizarre). What do you think that feels like? Do you know? If you don’t know, then why don’t you listen? Why can’t you be open to trying to understand what the hurt must feel like. Instead of just banding together in a little clique and making we-are-bonding jokes.

  42. Qalballah says:

    Do other people really have this much time on their hands?

    They must be single.

  43. kate says:

    People really do need lives. People can only offend us if we allow it. So people should really lighten up. I mean seriously who cares what you call a color.

    You tell them Chris!

    I knew what color you were talking about when you said flesh.

  44. connie says:

    I just wish everyone would not be so quick to assume offense, period.

    I think the original commenter was simply making conversation. Sheesh. Meanwhile those of us of the Caucasiam persuasion need to realize that ours is not the only viewpoint out there. Now that I have an adorable caffe mocha colored grandson my world has been expanded a bit. I have never considered myself racist, but it’s amazing what blind spots we white folks walk around with.

    Having said all that I never had a problem with Chris’ original post either.

    Maybe a chill pill all round would be good?

    And one more thing. The previous post IS USELESS WITHOUT PICTURES. ;-P

  45. lizinsumner says:

    {{{loooong sigh}}} The thing about pc-ness that makes it so frustrating, is that none of us can ever think of (and therefore cover all of the bases) of what could possibly offend others - I mean, the obvious ways to offend are just that - obvious! My problem is I’m not quick enough (or bright enough, or intuitive enough, or whatever) to think of all of the subtle possibilities. I don’t know anyone that WANTS to offend other people (well, maybe a couple of the engineers that I work with DO want to offend others)….but the majority of us would rather not, right?? Either because we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or maybe even because we don’t want the hassle and/or the confrontation……bottom line, sometimes I wonder whatever happened to just, plain, good old-fashioned tolerance, you know????

  46. cole says:

    Why so mean? Everyone, really, why so mean? And public? The comment seemed pretty innocently intended and not truly deserving of such zeal in group meanness.

    I thought your lotion joke was a good one. I thought the post was funny. I get what Tricia said too. I did not read anything malicious in what she said.

  47. Stacy says:

    Wow, I can’t believe all this was started by one post on a blog!! I think if someone writes a blog, it is like writing in your diary but for all to see. You wouldn’t censor what you write in your diary so Chris should be able to write whatever she wants and if you don’t like it or don’t agree with it, you don’t have to keep reading it. Just go somewhere else!! Last time I checked, this was still a free country and freedom of speech is one of the constitutional rights. I for one think Chris has some very entertaining and true to life posts that we all at some point or another can relate to. Keep ‘em coming Chris!!