Am not sure how we arrived at naming colors but my closest guess is that a bunch of men and women gathered together with all the colors displayed in front of them and they took turns giving them the first names which came into their minds.
Perhaps it was a game of sorts and since the names had been unheard of before; the very first name that was uttered stuck to the color the panel was alluding to.
I see men clothed in nothing but sagging loin skins, red eyed, smoking tobacco from bamboo pipes, crazy ear piercings which leave the lower part of the ear hanging loose like a torn piece of cloth. If you have a creative imagination, you will think that the guys with such piercings were running away from something like a marauding buffalo and in their bid to save skin, they went through a thorny hedge which pulled their ears that way.
So, this group of innovative individuals are assigning names to colors because they figured it would make life easier from them; up until then, asking for something in a particular color involved the use of entire sentences. For instance, a mother would be sending her kid for something in Beige and she would say, “go bring me that thing in the hut which looks like the antelope skin your father sleeps on”, or if she wanted her grey coat she would say, “get me my coat which looks like the elephant that trashed our maize plantation!”
Some colors were obviously named by men. Colors like Jungle Green and Brown and black have MAN written all over, while pink would still sound girlish even if it had another name. While brown is a color that can take a good beating without shedding a tear, pink is the color of sympathy, fragility and tears.
I imagine the chief of the people caressing his beard while thinking deeply as everyone anxiously awaits his response for the next color to be named.He squints and looks at the color more keenly. Studies it the same way he studies strange disease outbreaks in the village. He goes quiet, let’s his thoughts simmer for a moment as he debates with the sounds and smells that the color bring. Then he pronounces it….
“Brown! I name this color Brown!”
The other elders node sagaciously at his wisdom and aptness in giving such a masculine name to the color. Other masculine names are given for several other colors like green and blue. As for the ladies, they named pink and struggled with the other colors, coming up with strange names which seemed more fit for unknown under water creatures; names like Lavender, Mauve and others.
Brown and green are truly MAN colors. They are something you are tempted to salute if you come across in the street and it’s no surprise that the military are fond of them and their different shades.
Am talking about colors here because the other day my wife bought me a pink Tshirt. She saw the not surprisingly disgusted look on my face and gave me that lecture that all married men get- the one about not being appreciative of the things our women do for love, and I cooled down and actually wore it to the gate.
The first look I got from a man was one laden with contemptuous accusation and mixed emotions and by his eyes I could tell he already doubted my sexual orientation! To make matters worse it had a Mandarin inscription which I have absolutely no clue what it means. For all I know, it could be ‘proudly gay’ or some other ridiculously weird stuff, and if for some reason the man knows Mandarin then his doubts are definitely valid.