It’s interesting how we as individuals come to loathe certain things and love others. I’m not talking about the obvious things like severe burns and explosive orgasms; we’re all pretty much on the same page as far as those things are concerned. No, I’m talking about more subjective things like names and colors and music.
Take the name Nadine*, for example. As European female names go, it’s considered by most to be a lovely name. Some of you might even say it’s one of your favorite woman’s names. But whenever I hear it, I cringe. I dislike the name Nadine not for any qualities inherent in the name itself but because of what it represents in my mind. It represents a callous and calculated heartbreaking followed very closely by a brutal realization. To this day, I can’t hear the name without feeling just a small stab of the pain of betrayal. My feelings of affection for Nadine have long since died away, but the residue of her treachery still causes me grief. So much so, for example, that if the customer service rep on the other end of the line introduces herself as Nadine, I’m already on the defensive.
It’s not rational, of course, but that’s my point. Many of us have deep-seated opinions about things based on completely irrational conclusions. My art director told me about a guy he once worked for who would continually reject any design that contained the colors green and yellow in tandem with one another. As any graphic designer knows, green and yellow often contrast with each other very well and can make for some rather eye-catching layouts. So why would the head of a graphic design department unfailingly reject anything with those two colors? It turned out that green and yellow had been his high school colors and that he had been tormented nonstop from his sophomore year on. Understandably, he had nothing but terrible memories of high school and that’s all it took for the green/yellow combination to be forever shunned in his mind.
Have you ever heard a song, really liked it, and then had it completely ruined for you by, say, an accompanying video that was insultingly poor? Or conversely, is there a song that like even more because the video is so cool? For me, the former occurs with enough frequency that I tend to get a bit surly when Karin and Amanda announce they have a video they want me to see. “No!” I’ll shrilly cry, “I like that song! Please don’t make me watch the video! Don’t you understand? I like that song! I want to keep liking that song! Aaaaaiiiieeee! Noooooo!”
If we’re honest with ourselves, we can find those likes and dislikes of ours that have fully irrational bases. I dislike a particular woman’s name because the only woman I ever knew by that name tore my heart to bits. I like certain songs even more simply because their videos are so damn cool and hate others because their videos suck. And I’m sure that if I held the position of judge at a beauty contest and had to pick between two equally qualified ladies, I’m going to choose the one whose bikini happens to be shiny…
…unless, of course, her name is Nadine.
*Name may have been changed to avoid drama within my 'hood. Then again, it may not have. But it probably was. Or was it?