It is simply one of those facts of nature that women possess a greater ability to perceive colors than men. Just ask any wife (especially mine) who has tried to help her husband pick out his clothes.

“Crimson does not go well with mauve”, your wife notes as you look at her, totally clueless as to what crimson or mauve actually looks like.  Actually, you’re probably more concerned about how the Niners fared in the last quarter.

It turns out that yes, women really are able to distinguish colors better than their testosterone endowed counterparts. On the X chromosome is a gene that helps distinguish red colors. Normally, natural selection would lead to fewer rather than greater variations in such a gene.

However,  early on-before Nordstroms even- women were gatherers of nuts, seeds and other edible plants. So they needed to be able to make out subtle color differences. And today evolution ensures that most men can barely tell the difference between red and green, much less more subtle colors.

Women have two copies of the X chromosome, while men have only one. The second copy often contains genes which help distinguish minor differences in the color red.  Men, who of course are missing that second X chromosome, must make do with their paltry color skills. Even worse is that any variation in the gene for color perception has greater consequences when there is only one chromosome instead of two with that particular gene. This is why color blindness affects about 8% of all males, which is much greater than the percentage of females who have color blindness.

The take home message is: Guys, forget about try to find or, God forbid, match colors with names you don’t recognize.