There is no obvious relationship between the physical definition of color as a property of light determined by its different wavelengths and the actual color experience as it appears to the human eye. Yet I wasn’t about to argue the visiting friend, enjoying a glass of wine in our backyard the other day, when she underemphasized she ‘was beginning to sense a theme’. Determining whether she referred to the spread of floral appetizer snacks I just put on the dinner table, displayed here several times so probably quite familiar, or the plants encircling our terrace is a trivial pursuit because both ultimately point to the same thing: our love for pink and purple.
That love is not necessarily something that defines me as a person, but looking around the garden and the house at Les Pierres, some level of affection for the fusion of red and blue can no longer be denied. In other words: we are way past the point where it was sufficient to explain that it really was the previous owners who had applied that color to the shutters.
I’m reluctant to admit it’s not so much an expression of masculinity, but since I don’t easily give in to shame as an emotion that designates me, I decided to dig a little deeper and do a some research. Surprisingly, within minutes I uncovered a possible explanation that has nothing to do with our preferences and how telling they are for our personalities, but is by no means less embarrassing.
Unlike today, in ancient times there was a more profound hierarchy of color that could and did advertise status, with purple being one of these aesthetic markers as a sign of wealth, taste and prestige and ultimately becoming the traditional royal color. These specific dyes were collected from a gland of a particular snail, dirty yellow at first but becoming purple due to a process of oxidation under the influence of sunlight. More importantly, the production process of purple fabrics created a terrible odor that stuck to the final product too, because it entailed cooking everything in … urine. How royal!
Diverting back to obvious relationships: did I mention that since buying Les Pierres we haven’t located the septic tank yet?