Archive | 8:47 am

Red vs. pink

29 Jan

Is it sexy in red and sweet in pink? That may depend on where you grew up.

I get my nails done here fairly regularly and since I am lucky enough to have a housekeeper and am not scrubbing dishes or toilets my nails tend to last two to three weeks in pretty decent shape.  I have two different nail salons that I frequent depending on if I’m looking for a quick polish change or a more luxurious experience.

One of the conversations that I have had multiple times with the nail technicians is what colors they believe look the best.  They love to suggest bright colors that set off my white skin.  For Christmas I tend to get red and when I went last week it seemed everyone in the salon – Chinese and Western alike were getting red for the Chinese New Year season as well.  Red is everywhere – from door decorations, to clothes to packaging – even the bright apples that are sold on street corners.

However, if you change the tables and ask – what color they believe is the sexiest, every single Chinese person I know, irregardless of gender,  has said “pink.”

Initially this took me back – we have “Pretty in Pink” the movie, romance novels with pink parasols and in general pink is a color for little girls in the states – we even have “Barbie pink.”  That’s fine for the summer – on my toes, but it’s not the first color that pops into my head. 

I’ve thought about the color choices quite a bit and I’ve come to the conclusion that here – red is everywhere.  It’s nothing special – it suffers from overexposure.  When it is your year (for example, this year is year of the dragon), you are told to wear red clothing to protect you from harm.  They even sell special red underwear (which in another context may be sexy) to make sure that you are safe and sound.  It’s a tradition for parents to give their children red underwear every twelve years – in a sense the “underwear for Christmas” syndrome.   If you grew up here, you may too think pink is the sexiest color.

This is one of the cultural differences that seems to have crept up on me.  I like red and I like pink, but the meaning for me won’t be Chinese.  I think of red as a sexy Valentine’s day color as well as my dad’s favorite color.  Pink is adorable on babies, but can also be seen as a splash of color on a  little shift under a black suit.  Each has it’s own place – for multiple uses.

Which would you pick – red or pink?

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