‘Men choosing paint colours must have a note from their wives’

Sign in a paint shop

Funny? Sexist? Or based on a truism that men can't see colour differences as well as women? After years of dispute with my husband about the colour of top he was wearing in our first date (he says khaki, whereas I don't have one iota of doubt that it was mustard), I think there are differences. Doing a quick count up of the number of men versus women coming to Lovingly Framed with their pictures to choose colours and styles I find it is 76% women 16% men 8% men accompanied by women (possibly to give men the illusion that they can choose but under the watchful eyes of their spouses.)

Certainly if we look at the statistics for colour blindness, 8% of men with Northern European ancestry have the common form of red-green colour blindness versus only 0.5% of women.

But even taking out the issue of colour blindness in all its guises, it appears that there are some differences between the way men and women view colour which may be linked to the 'hunter gatherer hypothesis', which postulates that the sexes have developed specific psychological abilities in line with their prehistoric roles. In tests, it emerged that women tend to better distinguish subtle differences between colour shades than men whereas males show superior skills in tracking fast moving objects and discerning detail from a distance. According to the theory, men's vision has become honed to excel at the vision that would have been most valuable in their roles of feeding and protecting their families -distinguishing and detecting prey from a distance. In turn, the vision of women, it is proposed, may have developed in order to help them recognise and catagorise near, stationary objects, such as wild berries.

Interesting stuff, but what does it tell us? If we look out of the window of our semi-detached and see a lion peering at us over the recycling bin at the end of the cul-de-sac, call for alpha male. Or alternatively, draw the designer curtains, sit back with a glass of Sauvignon and take a moment to admire the subtle hues and tones of your Designer’s Guild curtains.