I bought a gallon of paint recently. If this current trend in naming paints continues, hardware stores will need to bring in upholstered chairs and designer coffee bars. You can't be sure if you're reading paint chips or free verse.
Gone are the days of Ivory, Pink and Peach. You can find something along the lines of peach all right, but it will be Peach Burst, Peach Fuzz, Peach Slush or Peachy Keen, not just plain old Peach.
A lot of your paints have taken on two names: Summer Bliss, Mussel Shell, Morning Fog, Twilight Sky, Shoreline Tan, Beach Umbrella and Midsummer's Breeze. At times, you can't be sure whether you are purchasing paint or a time-share on the coast.
The names make it clear that the science of paint has evolved. You no longer simply buy a gallon of paint, you buy an entire life-shaping paint experience: Sand Between Your toes, Midnight Bonfire, Bed 'n Breakfast, Spring Romance, Evening in Paradise and Still Night. All that and a free wooden stir stick besides.
Some of the paint names sound like book titles to cheesy novels.
La Fonda Moss Rose: the story of the matriarch of the Fonda family who is determined to build a shelter for wayward girls, but soon finds herself singing on top of a player piano in a Wild West saloon to pay the rent.
New England Brown: A secretive history professor with worn elbow-patch jackets, a mind for detail, and an eye for the ladies, brings more than ivy league scholarship to a small town in Maine.
Canyon Echo: A man and his horse flee the ghosts of a painful past, seeking solace, but inadvertently finding danger, excitement and adventure, in untamed Arizona.
Even the enticing storybook names for paint won't be enough some day. Paint companies will have to up the ante by having microchips with sound bites attached to paint chips describing the nuances of the hue, the history of the name, the healing qualities of the color and what the different finishes can do for blood pressure, stress and insomnia.
The South is vastly overrepresented in paint names with the likes of Southern Mist, Southern Vine, Southern Breeze and Southern Surf. The rest of the country doesn't get a fraction of the paint names the South does and the shame of it is, they are totally non-descript. Who knows what color Southern Breeze is?
They should use names people have a ready handle on like: Southern Fried Chicken (golden brown), Southern Pecan Pie (golden brown) and Southern Biscuits (golden brown). There are at least 15 golden browns in every paint line, and any good restaurant in the South should be able to provide names for at least a dozen of them.
You should also know that the longer the name of the paint Gray Timber Wolf, Fire on the Mountain, Morgan Hill Gold, Icing on the Cake the more it will cost you.
I was looking for a strong yet dignified yellow and had narrowed the search to Caribbean Canary, Dandelion Wish, Four-star Sorbet and a few others. I was feeling pretty heady about my cultured and sophisticated choices. I asked the young man mixing paint what shade he thought the elegant Elizabethan Yellow looked like.
"Mustard," he said.