Recently, I became involved in a conversation between a man and a woman trying to order a diary.
She: What type do you want?
He: I don't know. One about this big, I guess. [Gesturing.]
She: Is that A4 or A5? Which is bigger?
(Turns out he wants A5.)
She: OK, now, what colour do you want?
He: I don't know. What colours are there?
She: Have a look at the catalogue.
He: [Browsing catalogue and mumbling.] Chocolate? Why don't they just say 'brown'? I bet this is to get women buying brown diaries.
Me: Mmm, chocolate ...
He: How about this – WTF colour is fooksia?
Me: Huh? How do you spell it?
Me: Oh, fuchsia! That's bright pink.
He: Well, why don't they just say 'pink' instead of *expletive deleted* fooksia, or whatever it is? Men would get that and stay away, but women want fancy names for things so they label 'green' as 'lawn' and 'dark blue' as 'midnight'. Ridiculous!
He has a point, though. Thankfully, the days of blue for boys and pink for girls are (largely) long gone, but at what point did pink become fooksia? When did red become 'flame' and blue 'sky', 'powder' or 'periwinkle'? Perhaps these shades were there all along and we have just become better at noticing them? Or is it clever marketing?