Men – Colour and Emotion

7 Minute Read
7 Minute Read

For a man, nothing good can come out of going shopping with a woman for anything related to colour.
This is especially true where paints and home furnishings are concerned and as most men know, in this department, we are rarely correct.

The female species amongst us seem to understand colour in ways that us mere men can only imagine. Trying to describe to a woman how that greeny-blue would look great with the curtains would often be met with tuts, or ‘you mean aqua” or probably the most common response “oh, you haven’t got a clue”, to which we often let them get on with it to keep the peace.

Being with a woman while she is choosing the correct colour paint or dress or shoes is like watching an astronomer pinpointing the correct star out of the billions at his disposal.

To us men, this is usually quite a bizarre experience, almost like females are looking at life through a child’s kaleidoscope and we resort by looking through a Smarties tube.

As much as we can tell unless you are colour blind (which usually affects men) men and woman see colour and all of their corresponding shades exactly the same. Women do not see any more colours then men do (unless they have the ultra-rare female-only Tetrachromacy, in which case they do)[1]Tetrachromats have extra cone cells in their eyes giving them access to millions of extra colours. It is believed only 2-3% of people have this condition, always female. so what’s going on then?

In general, women have a greater ability to distinguish shades of colours better than men, but crucially, are able to name those shades, hence all of the arguments in the wallpaper isle of the local hardware store on a Sunday afternoon.

The ability for women to pinpoint and name chartreuse, teal, magenta, plum, lilac etc will forever be the mystery of men. My money would be on a male’s ability to name particular shades ourselves is a result of having gone shopping with women for colour related items at some point in the past.

I’ll just make some shit up here – he’ll never know


In general terms, males and females experience the same range of emotions. Unless you are a psychopath, in which case you are probably not wired up for empathy, compassion and generally live in emotional poverty, but with psychopaths aside, we all have the ability to experience the same kind of emotions.

Like colours, women can often pinpoint, express and name a plethora of emotions. Men on the other hand, often struggle to define emotions, often grouping very similar emotions into one category and this is OK.

Emotion Chart


Throughout history, men were out being warriors, hunting and generally doing all of the things required of them. They may have felt sadness in leaving their families for sometimes weeks on end but past this, emotions were best kept at bay due to the job at hand.

Life was hard enough and maybe short, shorter still if you started having empathy for your sword-wielding enemy charging at you and so life was, what it was.

Conversely, the women were at home looking after the children and had cultured the opposite relationship with emotions. As we all know, child rearing is an emotional job and women became more and more acute to not just the emotional needs of their children but also their own.

So, the male and female roles have led two completely different emotional paths; paths that we could argue being the polar opposite of each other.

As time progressed and men went out to work, again leaving the woman at home with the children, the sons of the family lost the father figure. With dad gone all day only to return when Timmy is in bed or too tired to interact if he was still awake, Timmy had no real male role-model to learn from and emulate.

Then throw in the World Wars where dad was gone for sometimes years and often returned even more emotionally fucked up, its little wonder we find ourselves in the emotional mess we have today.


LET’S SHOOT SOME SHIT UP – “FUCK yeah – ooh, do you like my belt buckle?

To add further to our problems is the way that society has perceived men and what it is to be masculine.

Traditionally, pop-culture through all ages has brought to us the ‘Matcho’ figure; the heroic male, often facing diversity alone. This same figure passed down through stores, myths and legend have pretty much had the same personality for hundreds of years and today he shows up as the protagonist in the big blockbuster movies.

We have been taught that “boys don’t cry”, to just “get on with things” and to “not show any weakness”; and so we did, further adding to our own problems.

This results in men suppressing, denying and simply hiding any kind of emotion and vulnerability, to the extent where sometimes we simply do not recognise what emotion it is when it does actually surface.

To the female readers of this article, this may be a little tricky to get your head around but yes, all too often many men literally cannot tell the difference between feeling sad, angry and surprisingly, even happy.

Many men report that their own fathers never taught them ‘how to be a man’. Often is the case that many men today have never really seen their fathers emote. The fathers were in the same position with their fathers, and back the generational line is goes.[2]Why Fathers Are Psychologically Set Up to Withdraw From Their Families.


For a man not to be able to emote correctly can have dire consequences on his life. His relationship can suffer, his work, finances and virtually every interaction he has with anyone else.

This isn’t simply about crying but emote in any capacity. Emotions can only be suppressed for so long before they bleed out. They are our trigger points where we can give (unusually large) reactions.

Shame, sadness, guilt and other negative states can lead to anger. Anger to rage and then its all too easy to do something stupid and end up hurting someone, yourself or in jail because of suppressing things that happened years ago which then explodes like a volcano.

I started this article all tongue in cheek talking about women and colours and relating this to emotions, but it is no joke when in the UK, the US, and Australia, on average, three quarters of all suicides are men.

That statistic is fucking nuts. In Australia, an incredible 6 men kill themselves every day and is the leading cause of death for men between the ages 15 – 44, double that of deaths on the road.[3]The Mens Mental Health Crisis Australia Can No Longer Ignore Six Male Suicides A Day.

I recommend any man to talk. If you can’t find other men to talk to seek out a male circle or men’s group. These can be found in most cities and are structured in a way that you can speak openly and honestly about issues that are affecting you on a daily bases.

Check out organisations like The Mankind Project where weekly circles are held in most places worldwide.

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