Coloring outside the lines through adult books

If that headline got your attention, let me share about the first time I heard the phrase “adult coloring books.” What?! Frankly, I was horrified where my mind leapt: to the same venue as “adult movies.”

My highly-active imagination visualized books with simplistic line drawings, along the lines of the farm animal outlines found on the placemats at child-friendly restaurants, where the waitress hands your child a four-pack of crayons that he/she then uses to color on the table or high chair tray – anywhere except on the designated piece of coloring paper.

Only adult coloring materials would be sexually-explicit images, hopefully devoid of farm animals, but weird, pre-schoolish, Pee Wee Herman porn. Like bad adult movies, the scenes would be poorly-plotted and drawn. Books would be sold online and at places like Lion’s Den and Velvet Touch, in discreetly telltale brown paper wrappers.

Swear Words Coloring BookAdult coloring books would be something that, if caught possessing, you would have difficulty explaining away. Unless the adult coloring book was intended as a gag gift at a bachelor or bachelorette party when the alcohol-fueled receiver would be foggy enough to think the giver funny, rather than a sexually unsophisticated pervert. These adult coloring books wouldn’t actually come with crayons, because just who is the purchaser kidding?! The books would have even less to do with art than with redeeming value.

My suspicious mind automatically linked the increase in popularity of adult coloring books to Playboy magazine’s recent decision to show less flesh. Hopefully no one would claim they like adult coloring books only for the articles. Perhaps the books would become the next sophomoric stash of pornography to get passed from generation to generation and archived under mattresses. Heaven forbid an “Adult Coloring Book Mansion” be erected by their publisher, followed by a succession of coloring clubs springing up in major cities. How ridiculous would that be?!

Due to their newly-widespread availability, adult coloring books would undoubtedly catch on among truckers, as well as traveling sales people – folks who spend too much time unsupervised, away from home. Before long, adult coloring books would be implicated in highway accidents, surpassing texting-related fatalities. State troopers would find adult coloring books wrapped around the steering wheels of wrapped-around-guardrail big rigs, a desperate last crayon scroll across the page: the natural consequence of behavior that colored outside of the lines one too many a time.

That all crossed my mind in the course of about 10 seconds the first time I heard the phrase “adult coloring books.” Don’t you agree, it would be so much wiser to refer to them as “coloring books for adults,” in order to avoid future colorful mental imagery?

On the flip side, once I discovered the coloring books for adults that people were really talking about, I had almost as strong of a reaction: you’ve got to be kidding! For starts, I don’t like coloring.

My dislike of coloring can be traced directly to childhood, where my perfect-coloring older sister set the bar formidably high. I was more of a wild child who viewed coloring as a sedentary time-waster. Why engage in the activity of coloring super hero pictures when you could be out doing heroic things, yourself? I had not the time, patience or skill to excel at coloring. The fact I used “excel” in the same sentence as “coloring” underscores just how out-of-touch I remain with the process.

According to the ads I see for coloring books for adults, they are tools for promoting being still, patient and thoughtful – all areas where I could stand improvement. Titles include “Creative Coloring,” “Relaxation Coloring Book,” “Peaceful Pastime” and “Coloring for Stress Reduction.” But yuck! Forcing myself to do any activity within the lines for any length of time would only serve to raise my blood pressure and ire.

My inner artist craves something more primal. More my speed is the Barnes & Noble’s “Swear Word Coloring Book,” which might prove useful for improving my communication skills. I think I’ll visit the truck stop and pick myself up a copy, along with a hitchhiker to color with. Hey, if you’re going to color outside of the lines, you might as well use non-traditional colors!

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