50 Shades of White by Andrea Santo Felcone


If preparing for my wedding day taught me anything, anything at all, it was this: there are a lot of shades of white out there. And, in “wedding world,” there is always someone (for a hefty price) willing to get you your exact right shade of white. As in, perhaps, dye your white shoes white—a different white—to match the precise shade of your white gown–for an extra fee, of course. But, now, years later, as I look around, I realize white is what I’m craving. Or maybe it’s the blank slate that goes along with white? I want a creamy white simplification of things. Strip everything down and back to the core, to its essence. Focus on what’s important and only that. A white background will surely draw out what’s important—right?

Is it me, or is this a mid-life thing?50 shades of white flowers

I feel like this is “a thing” and by that, I mean something that people in mid-life are drawn to; or at least I remember my mother suddenly decorating everything in various shades of white, right about the time when she was in her late 40s, early 50s. The white wicker furniture came in, the white couch with the thin blue lines appeared; there just seemed to be a white something, a white presence, a white lightness, where before there had been a darkness, a heaviness.

I don’t normally (actually, ever) do this, but, the other day, I had the guilty pleasure of watching movies—during the day. I was sick, and all my body wanted was a day in bed, and well, why not watch movies to pass the time? I decided “Something’s Gotta Give” with Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson and Keanu Reeves seemed like a good idea. Maybe it was the title, the title that echoed the kind of rest my body was requesting, but I needed that movie. This has been my winter of self-protection, a time to pull into myself, to be, perhaps, a little self-indulgent. (Is that a “mid-life thing”?)

I was expecting to be entertained by the actors, maybe fall in love with something going on between them, what I wasn’t expecting was to fall in love with something behind them–the house. If you’ve ever seen that movie, maybe you remember that house, the beach house belonging to Diane Keaton’s character. That house. That house was much more attractive and seductive to me than either Jack Nicholson (by a mile) or Keanu Reeves (by half a mile); that house called to me. And then I realized, it’s those mainly white interiors. Those creamy walls and creamy white bookcases filled with books, and the white French doors that opened out to the white sandy beach. It was the inviting whiteness of it all.

The calming presence of the creamy neutrality of those interiors. Those men would come and go, but those white walls, they stuck with Diane throughout. They’ll be there when Jack Nicholson reverts to type and leaves Diane once again (surely that’s bound to happen). Those walls will be there when she invites Keanu back after realizing she’s made a horrendous mistake and she doesn’t care who calls her a “cougar” in the process…. Oh, sorry. I know this is a movie celebrating mid-life and not reaching back in time for youth, but whatever way it eventually goes, those creamy white walls will be there to support Diane. Holding her up, calming her down.

I feel like hitting the “reset button” on the home décor—a spring cleaning to end all spring cleanings. Purge everything that is no longer working, no longer serving me, no longer going to serve whatever “future me” needs. Surrounding myself with those creamy neutrals (this doesn’t discount “pops of color” to liven things up a bit), but most of me is crying out for a clean slate. Perhaps Alabaster White (formerly Sherwin Williams’ Color of the Year in 2016) is a little more in line with what I need right now. According to their website, this color offers “a sense of personal solace and revival to weary minds…. A true neutral.” In these days of divisiveness, a true neutral sounds like a best friend, someone that can’t or won’t take sides–the Swiss representative of the Pantone Color Booklet. I can’t think of a better metaphor for my mid-life desire … a sense of personal solace and revival (heavy on the revival, please). If a can of Alabaster White can do that, even with its gray undertones, then hand over the paint brush, please.

Somehow, though, I think the neutral I desire is more in line with a warmer white, something with a name like, “Soft Chamois,” something with a creamy undertone. Something closer to what was reflected back to me during that movie. I found an article about that house in “Something’s Gotta Give,” and sadly, those creamy neutrals were custom-mixed for the sets, and are not available in any paint store. (Something’s gotta give, but unfortunately, it isn’t the paint formula!)

Maybe that’s for the best. Mid-life seems like a great time to re-evaluate what’s working for you, and what isn’t. Maybe that movie was a reminder–mid-life is the ideal time to custom-mix your own formula and surround yourself in whatever is calling to you.   

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  1. One Response to “50 Shades of White by Andrea Santo Felcone”

  2. White on, girl! Lol. Love it ; )

    By Pamela on Apr 4, 2018

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