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HIGH LIFE : Blue Boys, Pink Girls and Other Baby Talk

September 16, 1988

"Why is the color blue associated with baby boys? Why is the color pink associated with baby girls?"

These questions are answered in David Feldman's book "Imponderables: The Solution to the Mysteries of Everyday Life."

Feldman's answers:

"The association of colors with babies undoubtedly started as an attempt to identify the gender of that one group of humans to whom the cliche 'They all look alike' often applies.

"But why blue for boys? In ancient times, it was believed that evil spirits lingered over nurseries and that certain colors possessed the capability to combat evil. Blue was considered the most powerful color, possibly because of its association with the sky and, thus, heavenly spirits. Since boys then were considered the most valuable natural resource to parents, blue clothing was a cheap form of insurance.

"Evil spirits apparently couldn't bother with pestering baby girls. Not only were girls not dressed in blue, but they had no color to call their own until centuries later. Our association of pink with girls stems from European legend, which professed that baby girls were born inside of pink roses. European legend also holds that baby boys are born in blue cabbage patches--yes, the same patches that spawned the doll craze of Christmas, 1983."

Guinness Book of World Records reports: "In written English, the most frequently used words are, in order: the, of, and, to, a, in, that, is, I, it, for and as. The most used in conversation is I. The commonest letter is e and the commonest initial letter is T. "

"I think it would be a good idea."

--Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), when asked what he thought of Western civilization

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