You Always Wear Black

Medvedenko: Why is it you always wear black?

Masha: I’m in mourning for my life. I’m unhappy.

~The Seagull, Anton Chekhov

The opening lines of dialogue in one of Chekhov’s many plays about eternally miserable people sets the tone for what’s to come. Medvedenko loves Masha, but she loves Konstantine who loves Nina, a woman who is oblivious of him. All the characters want something unattainable, whether it’s artistic genius, success, or the love of someone who can’t love them. None find happiness. Is anything more tragic than unrequited love? You have to laugh at the level of pathos in this drama that centers on the human condition. 

Why is it you always wear black? I have asked myself that question more than once, because I typically wear black. Why? Sometimes it is because I too am in mourning for my life, but more often than not, it’s because black is the original black, it goes well with black, and I don’t have to worry that it will clash with my black purse. I do have some colorful accessories that I mix in when the mood strikes me, but black has been the prevalent color in my wardrobe forever. I might dress for my mood, but my clothes do not dictate the mood I’ll be in once I’m dressed. Atleast I don’t think so.

Much has been written on the psychology of color. Warm colors – such as red, yellow and orange – are said to cause feelings that range from comfort and warmth to hostility and anger. Cool colors – such as green, blue and purple – can incite feelings of calmness as well as sadness. Yellow is also said to create hunger. This information has been used by marketing and advertising firms to manipulate consumers for decades. 

Picasso’s blue period supports the theory, and the mood assigned to blue. But I’m still not sure how much stock I put in this. Dogs are limited in the colors they see to blue and yellow, with all the other colors appearing to them as various shades of gray. How we know this is beyond me, but who am I to question science? My dogs are excessively happy, almost too happy. If dogs can only see blue and yellow, according to color psychology,  yellow would make them hungry, which they are, and the blue would make them eternally sad, like Chekhov’s characters, which they are not.

This raises another question, what if Chekhov had dressed Masha in yellow? Perhaps the opening lines would read as follows:

Medvedenko: Why is it you are always hungry?

Masha: It’s this yellow dress.

This would be an entirely different play.


April 1, 2016, Daily One Word Prompt: Colorful~<a href=””>Colorful</a&gt;

3 thoughts on “You Always Wear Black

  1. Your post resonates with what happened to me when my marriage ended. I found myself being attracted to dull colours like grey and black I guess I was in a mourning state of a marriage which had ended. An interesting post.

    Liked by 1 person

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