Would you like that toilet seat in clover or seafoam?

Wednesday, January 9, 2002

There's a distinct difference between men and women when it comes to seeing color.

Never mind the fact that one in 10 men have some degree of colorblindness, which means they don't perceive colors in the same shades and intensities as people without the condition. That's why women are forced to repeat the phrase, "You're wearing THAT?"

There are more subtle differences in color recognition, too.

For example, if The Other Half were asked the colors in the sweater I wore Tuesday, he would barely look up from professional wresting and mutter, "Huh?"

But if you persisted, he would say my sweater is orange, red and brown.

Wrong. Maybe it used to be orange, red and brown. Now it's bronzed pumpkin, burnt sienna and toast. There's a difference.

This communication gap between the sexes explains why my husband had a quizzical look when I said a coworker's apartment was painted in "pale sage."

Last week, I considered buying a sweater available in pool or seafoam, according to the catalog. Another came in boysenberry, winter berry, clover, sheepskin or mineral blue.

Some color names are so vague even I have to check the accompanying photo to figure out what they are. What is truffle? And is it lighter or darker than aubergine or shale? Are they even in the same color family?

But these things are important, particularly when it comes to home decor. That's where my vision of color collided with Mr. Half's.

The toilet seat broke in the guest bathroom. I am not going to place blame here, but where it lies depends on one's theory of toilet seat wear and tear and whether it is the massive weight of one person who sits on it or the length of time another spends reading the sports section on it.

Either way, it cracked and needed to be replaced. Mr. Half and I were off to our local major discount home supply warehouse almost immediately.

You would be absolutely amazed at the variety of toilet seats out there. There are some with pictures on the lids that change depending on how you look at them. There are expensive ones with metal trim and cheap ones for under $5.

Fearing another breakage incident, we looked in the $15 range. "Extra durable resin seat," one label claimed.

Yep. That's what we needed all right. But the question was the color.

Mr. Half reached for a "bright white" seat. I stopped him.

"Our toilet is more of a 'bone,'" I said, reaching for the proper row of boxes. "Or maybe it's a 'pale beige.'"

He shook his head. "It's white," he insisted. And that's what we bought.

Our guests now will enjoy an almost tan toilet with a seat so white it glows. At least they won't have to worry about fumbling around in the dark.

Our first houseguest since the toilet incident stayed with us over the weekend.

"Did you notice anything strange about the toilet in your bathroom?" I asked.

He said he did not. Of course he didn't! He's a man!

It was so frustrating, I saw red.

Or is it candy apple?

Heidi Hall is managing editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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