Monday, August 21, 2006

A Whiter Shade of Beige

On revealing that I'd been seeing a therapist every week for the past three years, a friend of mine commented with glee "You're like a proper American!". For those of you that don't know, I'm not American at all, but her comment related to the bemused incomprehension of a British person towards the investment in self development that is more commonplace in the US.

I'm calling to mind her reaction due to the similar response of shocked hilarity that I have received more than once over my employment, on my birthday last week, of a colour consultant to advise on the colour of my walls. "More money than sense", "Couldn't she do this herself?" seem to be the thoughts communicated by the raised eyebrows and accompanying shakes of heads.

Firstly, yes I may well have more money than sense (my stock in both fluctuates wildly) but, in this respect, I feel it was a wise investment. For example, earlier in the day I had spent £30 on a facial at local beauty salon "Goddess" that everyone seemed to find much more socially acceptable. It was very relaxing, relatively cheap and only took an hour out of my day. But a facial is a bit like the amyl nitrate of stress relief. One quick hit, you feel mildly euphoric, but all you're left with at the end of the day is a bit of a red face.

Whereas my colour consultancy, at around three times the price, has removed weeks of uncertainty, months of doubt and - potentially - years of regret. Ok, so I'm not aware that Joa (unique name, unique skills) has any formal qualifications, but I was impressed by her efficiency, responsiveness and insights.

Could I have done this myself? This argument against the expense of going to an expert feels like when people say about therapy "Can't you talk to your friends and family?" - of course the answer is yes, I could, but there's something so calming about going to an expert who is just interested in getting the best result for you. Who knew you could paint your woodwork the same colour as your walls? Or even a darker colour? Not I. And none of my friends had suggested it either. Ok, so the colours she chose were variations on a pretty mild theme - white with a whiff of colour, which mostly, even at my most adventurous, I could only describe as beige.

Yet still I would recommend this service, especially for women who find themselves in the position of having to have an opinion on colours because that's what the woman does. I may be addicted to responsibility in my job but I have a tendency, despite my gender, to be workshy when it comes to household chores. For me, this was executive stress relief of the highest order and a fine birthday treat.

Later thought: maybe colour therapy is the way forward for me?

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