The Rainbow Conundrum: I Can’t Pick a Favorite Color

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Families play on an interactive color changing floor at a street festival. It is near impossible to choose a favorite color when they are all so wonderful in their own way. Image by Rick Tate.

Remember the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where Arthur and his knights have to answer those three questions to safely cross the Bridge of Death?

WHAT is your name?
WHAT is your quest?
WHAT is your favorite color?

Were I among those unfortunate knights on their quest, that final question would lead me hurling into the “gorge of eternal peril” with an unceremonious……AAAARRRHHHHHHHH!!

I realized earlier this year that I don’t really have a favorite color. What the heck?

This weird little revelation occurred after taking those popular online polls asking, “Which BBC Sherlock character are you?” or “What fictional princess are you?” These always ask for a favorite color choice, and all I can do is turn my head and blindly pick one.

Why do I even have to choose? Aren’t all colors wonderful in some way? I guess this fits in with the whole trend of categorizing everyone into some type of personality cubby hole, and that includes color psychology.

To find out what my favorite color might be, based on my personality type, I sailed through several online self-awareness sites like Psychology Today and Psycologia, I read a commentary on Goodreads, and found an entire sited devoted to “empowering yourself with color,” by the authors of an eBook called The Colour of Sex. I’m guessing it’s either pink or fifty shades of grey, but I don’t think I really want to know. Another favorite source was the book The Secret Language of Color, which I love looking through for inspiration and enjoyment. Each source had its own take on these colors, but there were similarities among all of them.

This appears to be is the general consensus:

Red. Red is the color of love, passion, energy, and stubbornness (described in some lists with the politically correct phrase “strong willed”). People often try to thrust this one on me. Older relatives and teachers told me that red is “my color,” and I should wear it more often. Others, my husband included, will vouch for the personality type description, but I am not stubborn and I won’t back down on that issue. I may fit the description sometimes, but I am hardly ever drawn to the color. My only really red clothing item is my Sheldon Cooper “Bazinga” shirt. I do like that shirt.

Orange. Orange is fun and social. One of my favorite animals, a tiger, is orange. My favorite sherbet flavor and fruit is orange. I have a lot of gingers in my family with happy, orange hair, and I adore the pink and orange sunsets. It also is the color of things that irritate me like construction traffic cones and the some power-crazy safety patrol volunteers. The popular television series might claim “orange is the new black,” but it really isn’t. It’s orange, and it isn’t fooling anyone.

Yellow. Good old yellow. Cheery and optimistic, yellow tends to associate itself with self-sufficient, logical people who appreciate their individuality. I think yellow might be one of my least favorites. It tends to hurt my eyes in bright light, and I often associate it with the color of bodily fluids I have stinky memories of having to clean up, when I was studying veterinary technology. However, I think yellow roses are beautiful, and love using yellow markers when drawing with my daughter. I’ve found yellow flows the smoothest on paper. Therefore, I guess yellow and I have a love-hate relationship.

Green. Loyalty, faithfulness, and a love of nature have all been associated with green. I love nature and the outdoors, and the many places that could best be described as “green.” Tall piney forests, open grassy fields that include parks, leas, pretty much all sports fields except golf courses, and secluded garden areas. Plus, The Shire in Hobbiton is green! Unfortunately, the word has been over politicized. I care about the environment, but the phrase “going green” is so over-used now, it is borderline cliché. There is even an entire political party that calls themselves the “Green Party.” I have nothing against the party itself, but I prefer my colors to be unaffiliated.

Blue. Blue is the chosen color of peacefulness, serenity, and reliability. Fair enough, but blue lovers have also been described as “conventional.” Boring–and wrong–in my opinion. How is a TARDIS conventional? The Blue Man Group? The rear light of the Millennium Falcon? Christopher Eccleston’s eyes? I have to take issue with that one. Many things I love are blue, be it royal blue or turquoise, but am I really the type to be partial to the blue collar “Everyman” of colors?

Purple. Purple is the elegant color of royalty, and people with deep spiritual and emotional needs, as well as those prone to creativity. Everyone wants to be that purple person, and when I was a teenager in the 80s, too many people claimed it as their own, from Michael Jackson to Prince. It was the “in thing” to love purple. I remember picking out my first lunchbox in Kindergarten based on the fact it was purple. It turned out, I had picked an Osmond Brothers lunch box, so purple is also the color of my first big humiliating moment in school. Admittedly, purple is a beautiful, stunning color, and I love to include it in art projects. It is just too popular.

It might be best to heed the advice of my daughter’s picture book and let “all my colors show!” Image by Lisa Kay Tate.

A fun little infographic can be found on  Psychologia, but I personally wouldn’t take it as personality-defining gospel. If anything, it’s a better indication of the type of mood the colors themselves provoke in pretty much anyone, regardless of which one they find most appealing to the eye.

I would agree that sometimes seeing certain colors affects my moods, and sometimes stress levels, but if I had to pick one to look more than any others, it would make me miss the ones I don’t get to see. Fickle, yes, but at least I’m up front about it.

Okay, what does it me say about me that I can’t choose a constant “favorite” color?

I even did the social medial online psychology forums, to find out what not having a favorite color means. Do I suffer from multiple personalities? Am I magic? Am I just boring? Nope. Apparently, according to those experts on the chat forums, as well as a few of the articles themselves, I do have a favorite color. I’m just in denial.

I simply need to look around at my choices in clothes and decorating to see which color is prevalent.

If clothes were the case, my favorite color would be black. I have a bunch of black clothes, but not because I’m a dark, deep, moody control freak. My reasons for choosing these clothes are simple. I have two kids and a black dog. Not a lot of hair and food stains show up on black. In addition, I’m struggling with losing weight and I feel better about myself in what is considered the “slimming” color. Finally, most of the t-shirts I find amusing are most commonly found in black. The other choice is usually just white, and that brings me back to my two-kids-and-a-dog explanation. I like black, but like to mix it with other colors, too.

If my house were the case, my walls are mostly beige, which is not a favorite of mine. As a matter of fact, I’ve been trying to remedy it room-by-room with less blah earth tones and browns. A group of colors, by the way, that are also sound choices when dealing with dirt and dog hair. As for my choice in furnishings and home “décor,” well let’s just say it’s all over the spectrum.

I just don’t get it. Why can’t I just enjoy different colors in different situations? It’s not like I’m a player with a different partner on my arm every weekend? They’re colors, not significant others!

Some may tell me I’m in denial, but I would like to think I’m just creative. Some days are blue and others are red. Some nights are purple, some mornings are yellow or orange, and weekends are a comfortable green. Sometimes I follow the advice of the children’s picture book The Rainbow Book by Kate Ohrt and its ornate kaleidoscope pages, “letting all my colors show!”

If I had to pick a color right at this point in my life, my constant companions are my well-worn denims, while I continue to take comfort in the vast azure West Texas sky. My day also wouldn’t be complete without seeing the bright, shiny baby blues of my children.

Now I know if I was faced with having to cross that infamous bridge of death, I would at least be able to bluff and say my favorite color is Blue…no wait, I’ve changed my mind it’s…….. AAAARRRHHHHHHHH!!

Lisa Kay Tate is a veteran feature writer with 20 years experience in newspaper, magazine and freelance writing. In addition to serving as Associate Editor for her local arts and entertainment guide, El Paso Scene, she has been a regular contributor to the site and maintains her own blogsite at She and her husband, writer/photographer Rick, live on the edge of "New Texico" where they keep busy raising their two geeklings and sharing space with their dog, Sirius Black, and cat, Loki.