Saturday, 7 March 2015

THAT Dress and Why I Love the Internet

Remember when "flash mobs" were all the rage? They are described on wikipedia as "a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act for a brief time, before quickly dispersing". I went on one in London years ago; we had to show up in Soho Square with a book we didn't want, swap books with strangers (I still have a novelisation of Shakespeare to show for my efforts) and give three people a compliment. It was so NICE to be able  to tell other women that I loved their earrings or bag  items which might often catch my eye, but it's not generally considered socially acceptable to throw out random compliments to strangers, still less to wolf whistle or say "Heyyyyy! Lookin' good!". (As we know, RIGHT?)

But what I remember most about the experience was the way it divided people into two groups: those who "got" it and thought it was a bit of a laugh, and those who just couldn't understand the point of doing something so, well, silly.

In the same way, #thedress controversy has resulted in the grumpypants of the world disapproving of all the high jinks and commenting with inevitable gloom:"Who cares? It's not like it's important!" Some even believe it's all a conspiracy  to distract the sheeple from the important issues of the day.

I don't care. I love it. I love the way stuff like this turns the internet into one big community and the dress is what we're all talking about while we hang out at the water cooler. That facebook is full of in-jokes like this:

                                                        and this:


When I first saw THAT dress, I couldn't believe there was even a question about the colour. While we now all know that the real-life garment is black and blue, the original picture always appeared to me to look like a blue and black dress that had been blasted with enough light to make the black appear bronze. (Unfortunately, "periwinkle blue and bronzey-gold" was never presented as an option in the polls.)

The internet is now awash with various version of the photos with different light levels to give everyone a chance to see the other side of the white/gold vs blue/black argument. I must have very blue-biased eyes because even the dress at its whitest still looks tinged with blue to me. And for those of you who saw the original dress as white  what colour did you see the little patch of light under the right-hand sleeve? May I offer a snarky clue?

At first, the colour confusion was blamed on seeing the dress on different computer monitors. However, it soon became clear that people looking at the same screen were coming up with opposite interpretations of the same picture. The dress has been described as a perfect example of an optical illusion; some people even found it changed every time they looked at it. The science has now been explained and hopefully all those family feuds and workplace bust-ups will now have calmed down. 

But if you're still eager to debate...

In my family, we occasionally ask innocent visitors what colour they'd call the living room curtains; they never suspect they are about to enter a decades-long disagreement. (Or perhaps they do, which is why they always straddle the fence of "bluey-green?")

So what do you think? Blue or green? Here's a little collage courtesy of so you can see the curtains in some different lights. (Not that I'm obsessive about this.)

As for #thedress, it has now become a tattoo, a Salvation Army ad campaign against domestic violence ("Why is it so hard to see black and blue?"), and a huge boost to the company who made it – now in both colours.

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