Paint Can


Scene: A dark, nightlight-lit bedroom deep in the heart of suburbia. One slightly graying, nearing 50 man. One used-to-be gray, now professionally dyed woman. One hypo-allergenic dog perched on the edge of the bed.

As the omnipresent central air conditioning cools off this private, semi-secluded boudoir, things begin to heat up. There is tension in the air. They’re married with kids… there’s always tension in the air.

The woman forcefully takes her hand and turns the man toward her. He stirs, adjusting his boxer briefs in anticipation. She coolly and confidently sidles up to him, whispering aggressively in his ear.

“Honey, we need to paint the house.”

[Welcome to suburbia where you’re always homeward bound and completely dominated by the improvements needed from roots to roof.]

Her voice thickens, more resolute, more direct.

“I am tired of white shingles and black shutters. We should go gray. A taupe-y gray”

Readjusting the whites of his eyes to the blackness of the bedroom, he pauses to ponder. Should I be aggressive and simply say no? Should I be passive, accepting the inevitable outcome before the break of dawn? Should I be passive-aggressive and make believe I’m still asleep? He knows what to do. He responds.

“Okay. I’ll go to the paint store in the morning.”

He wusses out. He knows when to submit.

The next morning, instead of working out or sleeping in, he is out and about. First stop, paint store. Taking a deep breath, he primes himself for the onslaught of color and confusion that awaits. There before him are subtle shades he never knew existed. The colors of the rainbow have been transformed into hundreds of hues this intelligent being is completely unprepared and unskilled to assess.

There is White Winged Dove for the Stevie Nicks acolytes.

There is Gunmetal for NRA folks and Gray Pinstripe for the hedge fund guys.

There is Nightingale, Sparrow, Pigeon Gray… his life is going to the birds.

There is Sweatshirt Gray (which is what he is wearing since that’s all he and his gender wear on weekends).

There is Smoked Truffle and Cosmopolitan. That reminds him… he has dinner plans tonight with the neighbors.

Scores and scores of grays have him seeing red. Why did he give in so quickly to that sinuous, intoxicating voice in the middle of the night? Why did he allow himself to be whipped into a 4am frenzy about chipping shingles? What in the freaking world is Balboa Mist?

And then he realizes… he has been played like the half dozen other guys scanning the paint wall with quiet desperation. There’s a guy with blue balls with eight blue sample containers in his hands. There’s another guy looking into space while he holds a can of Milkyway in his hands. Suburban dudes who wear white button-downs and nicely pressed khakis are analyzing shades of rose and pink as if they were deciphering ancient Sanskrit.

Slumping into his car with gently shaken samples in the bag, he drives home. Armed with color choices, he readies himself for the battle of the sexes that comes with every home improvement decision. Laying the samples on the table, and playing the first card, he girds his girth for the opening thrust.

This one is too gray. Not enough beige. Too much beige. Too dark. Too light. This one’s just plain awful. What were you friggin’ thinking?”

Game. Set. Match. Before he can even put his balls in play, he has been outplayed by a pro. He has been routed with a precise surgical detachment of his manhood. The battle is lost, and he will soon be back in the store, going down, down, down the Cobblestone Path toward Rocky Coast and Stormy Sky.

“And honey… can you also pick up a new stain color for the deck? I was thinking a complementary gray, as well. Love ya. You’re the best!”

No orgasmic happy ending here. Just the Burnt Ember and Barren Plain of Benjamin Moore® hell.

6 thoughts on “Fifty Shades of Gray Paint

  1. Hah! So that’s what goes on in your minds! 😉

    1. bprcomm0612 says:

      Yes… and contrary to what people think, we may actually dream in technicolor!

  2. JC says:

    I really enjoyed reading this! At any point did you consider Wounded Confederate Soldier gray?

    1. bprcomm0612 says:

      With so many choices, we went from a yellow house to a taupe house to a white house. Who knows what’s next?

  3. I LOVE this piece. It may be my favorite yet! Love the names of the paint chips. Who thinks up this stuff? I always thought it would be fun to be a writer fr OPI nail polish. It has names like “Shangri La La Lilac,” “Taupe-Less Beach,” “Aphrodite’s Pink Nightie,” “A Good Mandarin is Hard to Find” and “Didgeridoo Your Nails?”

  4. bprcomm0612 says:

    Too funny. You should read the names on the Benjamin Moore Web site for all their paints. I mean… how many shades of white are there? I also think you can get a bit kinky with some of the names. I would love a Web site for kinky paint colors. The Darker the Cherry…

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