Dusky Rose, I’m home again, Rose

The plants, the music, the clothing! There are three parts to this posting. Part 1 is about plants, specifically a Hydrangea macrophylla now blooming on my patio for the first time since 2017. Part 2 (which ends up with Randy Rainbow doing a fabulous barbershop quartet performance — just the music, ma’m) and Part 3 (which ends up with the superhot Argentine fashion model Maximiliano Patane posing shirtless) are tied to Part 1 by the color dusty rose or dusky rose (a type of pink), some mental association, and some sheer accident. The color, from the Color Codes site:

(#1) In actual practice, the color label covers a range of hues, some lighter, some brighter, some pinker

From dusty rose by association to the song “Lida Rose” and to Randy Rainbow’s performance of it. Also from dusty rose in a search for men’s clothing in the color (after a search for clothing in this color got tons of women’s clothing, mostly lingerie and wedding dresses, and nothing for men; the color is clearly highly gendered), by happy accident to a photo of an extremely steamy and wildly hirsute Patane modeling a suit in that color. Which led me to the model more generally; my ignorance of the world of high fashion is both wide and deep, but for Patane a 2016 spread on him (“hotter than California weather”) in Out magazine provided shirtless delight.

And then I was able to tie all three parts together in a brief parody of “Lida Rose”, in which the singer speaks to his lover Max using the pet name Dusky Rose for him.

Part 1. The plant part, about my bigleaf hydrangea plant, Hydrangea macrophylla. From my 6/2/17 posting “Pride Time #1: the pink and the purple”:

The red hydrangea. Well, neon pink. When I got it, it had blue flowers, with instructions to use acid fertilizer to keep it blue. Instructions I didn’t follow, so I discovered that the flowers were a deep pink, not your usual pink hydrangea, like this one:


On the next blooming, the flowers were flaming pink instead of blue, and now, in season 3, the plant turns out to be a red cultivar. Well, deep screaming neon pink. On my patio yesterday:


Now — today in June 2022 — I have the first flowers since 2017, these dusty rose flowers — modestly pretty, rather than screamingly pink, apparently through the miracle of soil and plant chemistry:


(No big leaves, despite the macrophylla name, just bare stems with buds, thanks to powdery mildew. But at least the slugs, rats, skunks, and squirrels didn’t just strip the plant of its leaves, as they did for years and years. Unfortunately, the flowers aren’t lasting long under the onslaught of days of very high temperatures, in the 90s F.)

Part 2. The musical interlude. The color name dusty rose clanged with “Lida Rose” for me; I know, show tunes, show tunes, show tunes. This one’s sung in close harmony by a barbershop quartet. What is, for me the crucial verse:

Lida Rose, I’m home again, Rose
Without a sweetheart to my name
Lida Rose, how everyone knows
That I am hoping you’re the same

It’s from The Music Man (music and lyrics by Meredith Wilson), which opened on Broadway in 1957, with an excellent film adaptation in 1962. I can still do chunks of it from memory. So “Lida Rose” popped up right away.

I’d intended to insert here the YouTube video from the movie, but then I stumbled on some gold: “Lida Rose” / “Will I Ever Tell?” from the Randy Rainbow Show. Not doing his wickedly inspired gay-political shtick, just singing his heart out, beautifully, on all the parts:

(#5) You can watch the YouTubevideo here

Part 3. The clothing part, in which my efforts to find some dusky rose men’s clothing led me to this:

(#6) Hombre en rosa oscura: Maximiliano Patane modeling a dusky rose suit for the Mexican department store El Palacio de Hierro (photo: David Roemer)

Faced with this remarkable photo, I went on to investigate MP (apparently, he’s been world-famous for a long time, just not in my world). An Argentine model working the runway since 2011, for many different agencies, he’s now 41 years old. He’s tall — 6ʹ 1.5ʺ — and slim, almost gaunt, but very very hot, as you can see in this 2016 photo for Out magazine:

(#7) Wow, how a dusky rose is blooming!

All that remains is to sing to him:

Dusky Rose, I’m home again, Rose
Without my sweet Max in my arms
Dusky Rose, how everyone knows
That I am longing for your charms


8 Responses to “Dusky Rose, I’m home again, Rose”

  1. Danny Boy - London Derriere Says:

    I get rather different emotional overtone vibes from *dusty* and *dusky* (with or without the *rose*). Though I don’t think I could pick out distinct color tiles for them.

    This might even be parallel to a difference between *musty* and *musky*.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      In the posting, I used dusty and dusky interchangeably (I think if you asked me to distinguish them, you’d get different answers on different days), though of course the imagery behind the names is different: dusty suggests a color made somewhat dim by grayish or brownish dust, while dusky suggests a color made dim by failing light, so either less intense or darker (hence the use of dusky for darker skin tones).

      But musty and musky don’t seem parallel to me at all. The source of the names is in specific smells: of old, moldy, damp places vs. of sharp, strong-smelling glandular secretions from various male animals. The color analogues would be of muddy colors (for musty, which is not too far from the color word) vs. bright, intense colors (for musky, which is way far from the color word). So musty smells like old basements (and old men), musky like locker rooms infused with male sweat, but, more pointedly, it’s the smell of armpit and crotch sweat given off by a guy in sexual arousal. I’m a decidedly musky guy at all times, and I’m easily aroused, so I know from musky. If you want a musky shade of pink, I guess it would be neon pink, certainly not dusky rose.

      But then maybe your synesthetic associations are different from mine.

      • Stewart Kramer Says:

        Musty smells and the must or musth of aroused male elephants apparently have different etymologies (drunk / inebriated in Persian, vs. fresh / partly-fermented fruit juice), but they seem slightly associated to me.

      • Stewart Kramer Says:

        Maybe musk and must are related (along with moist, moss, and mucus), per Etymonline:

        musty (adj.)
        1520s, “moldy, sour,” perhaps a variant of moisty “moist, damp” (see moist), but musty, of bread, “containing must” is attested mid-15c., and from 15c.-19c. must also was a variant of musk. Related: Mustiness.

        moist (adj.)
        late 14c., “slightly wet; well-irrigated, characterized by moistness,” from Old French moiste “damp, wet, soaked” (13c., Modern French moite), which is of uncertain origin. Perhaps from Vulgar Latin *muscidus “moldy,” also “wet,” from Latin mucidus “slimy, moldy, musty,” from mucus “slime” (see mucus). Alternative etymology [Diez] is from Latin musteus “fresh, green, new,” literally “like new wine,” from musteum “new wine” (see must (n.1)). If this wasn’t the source, it influenced the form of the other word in Old French. Related: Moistly; moistness (mid-14c.).

      • arnold zwicky Says:

        To SK re “musty smells and the must or musth of aroused male elephants”: mere phonological similarity is enough the evoke associations (of all kinds), so actual etymology (which few people know about or care about, nor should they be expected to) is beside the point.

      • arnold zwicky Says:

        To SK re “maybe musk and must are related (along with moist, moss, and mucus)”: again, I think actual etymology is beside the point. But the connections between “musk” and “musky” / “dusk” and “dusky” / “dust” and “dusty” are surely psychologically real for a great many speakers of English.

  2. Bill Stewart Says:

    “Nantucket Red” is close to dusty rose, generally worn by brahmin men… who maybe cruise the Cape Cod and Island dunes when it’s too cool for Speedos [BTDT at Sunset Beach in NC, actually, meeting the same married attorney from Columbus 3 years in a row].

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Oh, the married men:

      … Never would have had a good time again
      If it wasn’t for the married men
      … Makes me feel like a [boy] again
      To run with the married men
      … All of that time in hell to spend
      For kissin’ the married men

      Back in my wild days during the Jurassic, getting blow jobs from married men was something of a specialty for me. Few things make a guy quite as attractive as an intense, desperate need to get your dick in his mouth. Unfortunately, the urgency of his need often meant that the overwhelming satisfaction of actually, finally, getting a hard, pulsing dick in his mouth caused him to shoot his load in, like, 15 seconds — and then the event was over for him and he had no interest in getting me off, just got up off his knees, zipped up his fly, and (I imagine) went on home to his wife. Damned annoying.

      Meanwhile, Nantucket Red looks significantly redder than Dusky Rose, but I’ll hold the idea of sex on the beach at Nantucket in my mind.

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