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For much of the summer of 2016, I was on a hunt. I searched across Brooklyn, nail salon by nail salon (or at least the 15 or so in my neighborhood). I was dogged and I was determined, but I kept coming up short. I was looking for the perfect dusty rose.
It was confounding because the shade was everywhere else: in Thinx ads, in think pieces, on the cover of Stephanie Danler’s Sweetbitter, on a crop top I bought from H&M even though I don’t wear crop tops or really shop at H&M (such was my desire to own this hue in any form). But not, somehow, in the dozens to hundreds of tiny bottles of easy application color that make their home on Smith Street.
I ended up with ballet pink nails and peach nails and Barbie magenta nails and off-maroon nails and even pretty okay non-dusty rose nails, but never, never the shade I sought.
Then, in late October, I finally found it. It was OPI and it was just the color. Pink, with a sort of brick undertone, which makes it smarter and deeper than other pinks because it knows about hardness in the world. Pink, like the sunset in a place that I’ll only ever see on Instagram and never be able to pronounce, where French expats break each others’s hearts and it’s beautiful.
Pink, like the poster for an indie film where Mélanie Laurent is a free spirit with an impossibly-decorated apartment and a topknot who shows Jason Segal that sometimes love is sad or complicated or something and after you see it you think “Man, I want that apartment.”
Pink, like the effortless, unwrinkled linen dress of a woman who makes you think the word “Sedona” but you don’t know why; a woman whom you would never ask “What’s that dress, pink?” You’d just say “I love that color,” and she would smile knowingly and not even thank you, because her presence is a thank you. This was that pink.
But I barely trusted my own, so-frequently-deceived eyes, so I asked my friend. “Is this it?”
“Is this what?” I’d been having this summer-long conversation with myself.
“You know, is this that pink from everywhere? That pink that looks, like, somehow both cooler and sadder than other pinks. Like a pink that will someday retire to the mountains and take photographs of horses that are cooler and sadder than other horses. Like, basic but cooler. And sadder.”
“Sure, that’s a cool, sad pink.”
I had it. It was going on my hands and it was going on my feet and as soon as I had the name it was going in my phone and then in my shopping cart and then to my house for me to own; I flipped the bottle over. The label read “Yank My Doodle.”
Hi, I’m sorry, are you kidding me?
Apparently, in August 2016, Scandal’s Kerry Washington teamed with OPI on a Washington-the-city-themed line of nail polish. Washington-the-person thought the idea was “really fun,” and together they released colors like “Never A Dulles Moment” yellow and “Kerry Blossom” purple and “Popular Vote” magenta. And, of course, “Yank My Doodle” dusty rose, easily the least acceptable and most “Uncle Sam getting a hand job” brain picture-inducing name of the bunch. Olivia Pope, how could you?
I hate this name as much as I love this color. It’s the kind of non-joke word horror that the middle-aged guy at your company whose office is full of Dad Rock screams after getting drunk on a July summer Friday. It’s instant sexual harassment of and by everyone who hears or reads it, so for that I’m sorry, but also so are you, probably. It’s almost certainly what President-elect Donald Trump will yell immediately after getting sworn in.
But the color is amazing, and since it was a limited-edition line that I didn’t even find out about for two whole months, supplies are dwindling, and dupes are needed. I finally bought my own bottle just this week on Macy’s website, but hopefully someone, somewhere will release the same shade with the name it deserves. I suggest “Sedona.”