The little white house down the street was old and the paint was peeling. The owner had put on a light green tin roof many years ago, but he had never done much more to fix it up. We were excited when a new family bought it, and they decided to renovate it.

One of the first things they wanted to do was to paint the outside. Because the paint on the exterior was worn and ragged, they spent many days scraping and brushing the sides of the house. They then put on the primer. I told my wife that I thought they had chosen a nice color, but she informed me that it wasn’t the actual paint.

Finally, it came the time to buy the real thing. They decided that the husband would go to the local department store for their purchase because it carried a good selection. His wife was tired from all of the work and opted not to go along, just telling him to get “a good paint”.

Most women probably realize that, for multiple reasons, this is a big mistake. The first was because he is a man, and to men there are only about 16 colors in the world. Women, on the other hand, can name close to 24 million colors without any duplication. These colors have strange names like mauve, ochre, and fuchsia. I’m not even sure what colors mauve, ochre or fuchsia are. I would probably just call them red because that is what I call any color I don’t have a clue about, and, of course, I would have a one in sixteen chance of being almost right.

The second problem with a woman sending a man off alone to buy “a good paint” is that this particular phrase means something totally different to a man than it does to a woman. Take, for instance, when my wife insists I need to have some new clothes. I soon find myself in a clothing store unhappily trying on pants that were meant for some young person whose chest has not yet fallen into their drawers. While I am feeling far too snug and uncomfortable in them, my wife will ask, “What do you think of those?”

I will start to look at the price tag, and she will scold me. “Why do you always look at the price tag every time I ask you how you like something?! Why can’t you just tell me if you like them like I ask?”

This question always surprises me. The answer is obvious. How much I like something has more to do with how much it costs than almost any other factor. If it costs a lot, I don’t like it – it’s that simple. If it doesn’t cost much, then there is a good chance I’m going to like it, or at least I’m sure I can learn to.

My neighbor, being a man, naturally had the same mentality. When he reached the paint section of the department store, a clerk was waiting there to help him. When the clerk offered her services, my neighbor told her he was there to buy some paint.

“What kind of paint are you looking for?” the clerk queried.

“I want something that will last a long time so I don’t have to paint my house ever again, and I don’t want to pay a fortune for it.”

“What color?” the clerk asked.

“Color?” my neighbor responded in surprise. He, being a man, hadn’t even considered color. But, of course, it didn’t really matter, because there are only 16 colors in the world, so any one of them would probably work.

The clerk tried again. “Is there a certain color you wanted?”

My neighbor shook his head. “I just want it to be durable and inexpensive,” he said, repeating what he had told her earlier.

“Well, I have the perfect deal for you,” the clerk said, smiling. “We have a paint here that some guy bought, and his wife made him bring it back. It is high quality, and you can have it for half price.”

My neighbor, being a man, thought that sounded like the perfect combination. He didn’t even take time to consider that there was probably a good reason why the other man’s wife made him bring it back.

And that is how my neighbor ended up with a pineapple yellow house. With the light green roof, the house definitely looks like a giant pineapple.

When they finished painting, I, being a man, told my wife that I thought it was kind of a cool looking house, especially after I heard about the deal my neighbor got on the paint. My wife, on the other hand, was very succinct in her reply.

“Don’t you ever even consider buying paint unless I am with you!”