What Happens When You Say that “Gray” is Your Favorite Color?

the text 'what's your favorite color' on a colorful background

“What’s your favorite color?”

This is probably one of the most commonly-asked questions on the planet. Thanks to its simplicity and sophistication, it finds a way to get into the lives of toddlers, teens, and adults alike.

I distinctly remember being asked this question in my school admission test for Grade 1. So the examiner picks up a piece of paper with small squares painted in different colors and keeps it in front of me.

How many colors can you name, sweetie?

Weeks of rote memorization came in handy (my tireless Mom had a huge role to play in that).

Impressed, probably more by my enthusiasm than my answer, she gave me a sweet smile and asked me the following question:

Can you point to your favorite?

I didn’t know what favorite meant, but I knew what ‘point’ did. I picked the very first color square. It was black.

The teacher probably had not seen many children picking black as their favorite color, going by the expression on her face. 

On the walk home, I asked my mum what ‘favorite’ meant. 

Something that you like the most, she said.

I now knew the word’s meaning, but I realized I still didn’t know the answer. I liked red, yellow, green, pink and blue. I did not have any favorites. Black, I guess, was a better answer than an utter and complete freeze.

As I grew up, I noticed that it became easier to pick favorites, and I liked probably every color in the spectrum at some point in my life.

However, the best entertainment I have gotten out of a choice of favorite color has only come in adulthood, especially when I mention, “Favorite? Oh yeah, gray’s my favorite color”.

The best part about that answer is that the follow-ups don’t last long.

Gray has been a certified conversation killer, at least in the experiences that I have had. I only assume that’s because it’s difficult for people to fathom how it can be anyone’s favorite color when it is usually (mis)understood to stand for everything dull.

My reasons are more utility than choice. 

Sure, I would choose white if it weren’t for my being a massive klutz. I think wearing a white shirt to work is one sure-shot way to make my day stressful. My shirt or dress would stay white for precisely 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Wine glasses, orange juices, and plates of freshly baked quiches have a special affinity to anything white. No matter how elegant the color is, it can not be mine—too high maintenance for poor ol’ me.

I tried going with black for a while, with its magical powers to make me look thin. But I realized soon enough although it saved me from orange juice and the Californian red wine (to an extent), it also signaled to the mosquitoes of the world that I was available as their feeding ground. Also, black and a head full of dandruff don’t go together. 

You know from all the anti-dandruff shampoo ads out there, even if you are lucky enough not to have any.

Gray conveniently came to the rescue- with its capability to combine the best( and worst) of both- to a dulling degree. Guess you can call it boring. 

I kid you not; there are color tests for personality profiling. 

Which color are you? They ask.

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