Because There’s Nothing More Romantic Than Sweat


My Great Aunt worked in a photography lab many years ago, when they used to dab in the color by hand.  Her job always fascinated me.  I’ve always loved black and white photos, especially those photos that are mostly black and white, with just a hint of color.  Those photos always left me feeling wistful and nostalgic.

When I was younger, I was fascinated by colorblindness, and extremely jealous of those who got to see the world without color.  I really wanted to be colorblind, even if only for a day.  Over the course of my life, I’ve had three friends who are colorblind.  One mistakenly thought I was a redhead.  Another mistakenly thought I was blonde.*  The third claimed he could only see bright colors, and was more “color defective” than colorblind.  (He also mistakenly thought I was blonde.)

ImageSince people love to have everything that’s wrong with them shoved in their faces, I would hand them random objects and ask them what colors they could see.  Most commonly they would answer “beige”.  I would point at pictures and ask what colors they could see.  Inevitably, the answer would almost always be beige.

What?  Beige?  In my head, colorblindness sounded lovely and romantic, but in reality, their whole world was beige.

The recent heatwave had me thinking a little bit about this.  Quite often, we romanticize things.  We think how wonderful life must have been two hundred years ago, when people wrote letters and attended formal dances.  We forget that there were no antibiotics, no vaccines, no internet modems, and no air conditioning…  That glowy sheen you see in old pictures?  That’s not really shine.  It’s just sweat.

And we all know the only thing more romantic than sweat is the color beige.

Do you romanticize the past or are you more of a realist?

*Just for the record, I’m a natural brunette, with very Irish coloring.  However, my mother-in-law, who is definitely not colorblind, also says I’m blonde.  I have no reasonable explanation for this.

** All photos are by Kim Anderson.

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28 Responses to Because There’s Nothing More Romantic Than Sweat

  1. Go Jules Go says:

    Wow, that’s kind of unusual to have had 3 friends who were all colorblind – I’ve only known some men who couldn’t tell the difference between red and green (but everything wasn’t beige).

    I can definitely relate to romanticizing things! I get lost in books and movies thinking that world is so glamorous, but it’s only because they usually don’t show the minute, day-to-day detail that makes life mundane. I think all of us would make pretty awesome Lifetime specials if they boiled 30 years into 30 minutes, LOL

    • I don’t think everything was beige. I just think it’s very hard to distinguish colors that aren’t bright. Believe it or not, one guy couldn’t even distinguish chartreuse. Chartreuse! That was about when I realized I might be romanticizing the whole thing in my head. And you’re right about all of us being awesome in a thirty minute special! (You just glaze over the boring stuff, and concentrate on the cake-worthy events.)

      And I think I might have been finding out people were colorblind, and then latching onto them like a dog with a bone… although the one guy I first met in preschool. I liked him long before I found out he was colorblind. Still a bonus though. 🙂

  2. I have a friend who’s color-blind, flat-footed, and left-handed. He’s like a genetic minority jackpot.

  3. El Guapo says:

    As an insulin dependent diabetic, I’d be dead in the past without medical technology.

    But there’s a part of me (the healthy part) that would have loved to live in a world you could go somewhere and invent yourself from scratch with none of your past following you, and be able to build your world as you wanted.

    • Yeah, I’m guessing about 50% of us would be dead without current technology. Have you been diabetic your whole life? I always forget how dangerous it is, and then I’ll see a picture of a diabetic who had to have their foot cut off due to infection. (I’m off for the summer, but I’m currently in nursing school.) It seems to be most dangerous for the folks who decide to completely ignore/deny their diagnosis.

      I spent way too much of my childhood playing “Oregon Trail”. So, that’s one of the things about the past that I always romanticize, the idea of going west on a wagon, and just rebuilding my whole life…

  4. jimmydevious says:

    “I have no reasonable explanation for this.”

    I do, she’s your Mother-In-Law. They’re required to be occasionally contrarian. It’s in the manuel….somewhere…uhhh…perhaps in that back section that’s supposedly written for French Canadians.

    I SOMETIMES catch myself thinking “wistfully” about the past, that maybe just somehow there really were giant turkey legs avaliable everywhere and beautiful women went around in heavily “bodice-ized” wench and bellydancer acoutetrment, but then, I spy my mother/an EX-GF/A Female Friend/Some random bag lady/Or all the above watching something like “Pride And Prejudice” and I realize how totally SCREWED I’d be if I acually did live back then. I’d lack I think even enough edumacashun to be Me’Lord’s Official Horse Hindquatres washer, let alone a country fop…err…gent.

    And if Mogainne LeFay actually DID exist, there’s no way in the hellio that she resembled Eva Green. My guess is more women resembled the blushing brides in Monty Python Skits.

    Oh weeeelll 😛

    • I haven’t seen a Monty Python movie in over ten years! I am going to have to look up what they looked like, although I already have a bad gut feeling…

      I think she might secretly be colorblind. I’m going to have to look into this. And is there a manual for daughter-in-laws? Am I also required to be contrarian or just docile? Wow, I really should have asked about that manual years ago…

  5. amb says:

    “That glowy sheen…it’s just sweat” Too funny. And here I thought I made it through the Toronto heatwave with a, erm, healthy glow! 🙂

  6. A stark contrast to my recent post about hot, sweaty sexiness! 🙂 And what’s wrong with beige, isn’t that the color of most men’s dress pants? Yeah, I know… lame!

    • I think they still see different shades and some color. I just think a lot of it is extremely murky. (One guy didn’t even recognize chartreuse. Chartreuse!)

      Sweat can be sexy, but two hundred years ago, with irregular bathing… Probably not terribly sexy…

      • Not sure I really even know what Chartreuse is?!?!?

        • Your kids don’t watch Blue’s Clues on repeat? It’s yellow and green. It’s REALLY bright. He couldn’t see fuchsia either, which is also really bright. I think he could only see a couple of primary colors.

          We glazed over the eye in anatomy, but it’s one of those tiny things with ten million different components and neural connections…

          • Blues Clues… yes we used to watch that endlessly… ugh! Actually, we used to kind of enjoy it, maybe because the hosts name was Steve… plus it sort of taught kids stuff. But that was seemingly so long ago… now we’ve moved on to other mindless teenager TV shows.

            • My kids like Steve over Joe. I have by actual count heard the Blues Clues “Colors” episode no less than thirty times. Suffice it to say, I learned all sorts of things… that I didn’t really want to know! 🙂

              It’s actually cute. I’ve seen far worse. My five-year-old son is currently going through a My Little Ponies phase. Yes, you read that correctly. The more we try to talk him into other shows, the more he wants to watch MLP. I’ve given up.

  7. paralaxvu says:

    Reminds me of a joke that ends,”Beige! Beige! I think I’ll paint the ceiling beige!” Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. I knew a colorblind ER doc who bought what he thought was a beautiful lemon yellow car. No one had the heart to tell him it was chartreuse…

    • It’s crazy that people who are colorblind never seem to recognize such a bright color! I wonder how much value cars lose/gain if you buy them in an oddball color? Of course, as long as you’re keeping it, it doesn’t really matter…

      And thanks for the blog suggestion yesterday! 🙂

  8. Andrew says:

    I love old movies (especially Cary Grant vehicles, am I right?). But I love seeing in color too much to not have it. It’d be romantic for like an hour, and then I’d want different eyes.

    • You know I think that might actually be one element of it since I have seen a gazillion old movies! I’m sure it’d be great for about a day, but eventually you’d forget what color things used to be, and things would get really disconcerting from there.

  9. I romanticize the distant past – as in 2 or 3 thousand years ago. Ancient civilizations, simpler existence, etc. I’m sure it was not as rosy as I like to think, bu damn it would be interesting.

    • I watch way more Spartacus than I’m willing to admit… which has me entirely biased about ancient civilizations being somewhat brutal… but it would definitely be interesting! I romanticize the more recent past more. Elizabethan England and the Old West especially.

  10. Val says:

    I’ve always been fascinated by colour blindness but have never wanted to be colour blind as I’m an artist!

    Here’s a link to a colour contrast chart for colour blindness that might help explain their problem with bright colours and so on.


    As for romanticizing things from the past, I used to feel that way about the Middle Ages (period of history, not age!) til fairly recently when I read a book called The time traveller’s guide to medieval England. Uh huh, no way! Awful time – dirt, disease, ultra-violent and you were lucky if you lived past your 25th year.

    • What fascinated me about your chart was that one friend could basically see black, white, brown, and deep shades of blue. That would probably give him Deuteronopia. (We brushed over the anatomy of the eye really quickly in school so I definitely didn’t know this before.)

      I could see romanticizing the middle ages except for the diseases. I hadn’t really thought about it being ultraviolent, but I can see that now (in retrospect) with everyone willing to kill each other over religion and property.

    • Oh, and welcome to my blog! 🙂

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