The Joys of Not Painting
I’m here to discuss what may become a sensitive issue – if it ever gets noticed.
I’m talking about unpainted pets, and the conscious decision that some – no, few
– wealthy owners choose to make.
Hold on, you’re saying. Why would anyone want to leave their pet unpainted
if they could afford to make them look ‘prettier’ or ‘cooler’? Well, the unpainted
pet is the unsung hero of Neopia. The pet who chooses to remain unpainted in
the face of enormous pressure is truly disciplined.
I’ll now interview a perfect example of this. Scarlet_the_Great has been my
neopet for almost 5 years – ever since I first discovered Neopia – and she’s
seen it all – new paint brush designs, new species – and yet has always remained
true to her natural colour.
A majestic red Eyrie strides over to the interviewer.
Interviewer: Scarlet, thanks for joining us today.
Scarlet: What? This is our Neohome...
Interviewer: Shh, you’re ruining the atmosphere! Let’s start this again. Hi
Scarlet, and welcome to the Neopian Times.
Scarlet: Thanks, it’s great to finally be noticed.
Interviewer: But … you’ve been in Neopia for almost 5 years, surely you’ve
been noticed before?
Scarlet: No … not really. All the other pets in our family get showered with
compliments, but me … I tend to slip under the radar.
Interviewer: …and why do you think that is?
Scarlet: Because I’m not painted – isn’t that obvious? I mean, you’re writing
an article on unpainted pets, surely they’d…
Interviewer: Uhh, moving on. What does it feel like to be ignored?
Scarlet: Well, I don’t really mind – I know all those people are quite superficial,
praising a pet for a paint brush that anyone can buy with a little effort, but
it’d be nice to be appreciated for who I am rather than for my plumage.
Interviewer: So… why don’t you want to be painted?
Scarlet: Well, I’ve already partly answered that. People are so superficial
these days – they’ll adopt a pet with a poor name and no personality simply
because they’re a bit rarer looking than the rest. I’d rather know people like
me for who I am. This also means I can stand up for the unpainted as an example
of a loyal and valuable pet. I’m also quite attached to my colour – it suits
my name and it’s been a part of my identity for my whole life.
Interviewer: There you have it, folks – straight from the Eyrie’s beak, a strong,
intelligent, kind neopet who’s as valuable and beautiful as any other pet.
Scarlet: Stop, you’re making me blush!
Interviewer: How can you tell? You’re red!
Alright, so let’s take a look at some reasons for remaining natural.
Names: Many Neopians name their pets based on appearance and this often includes
colour. This is fine if you’ve named your pet while planning to paint it a certain
colour, but often confuses new Neopians who don’t even know that their pet’s
colour can be changed. Scarlet wouldn’t be Scarlet if she was, say, blue with
Colour: Some pets look great in their natural colours. The blue Gnorbu, yellow
Kacheek and red Usul are great examples of perfectly suited colours. On the
other hand, some painted colours can look a bit… dodgy, shall we say. I won’t
name names so as to not offend any owners (or TNT artists!) In other words,
don’t just paint your pet to make it look rare if you don’t really prefer the
Sentimental Value: Scarlet just wouldn’t be Scarlet if she looked any different
– she’s been that way for so long. This is particularly true of pets who look
radically different after a new colour – faerie, Darigan and mutant are good
examples of this. That’s all well and good if you want your pet to look like
this, but for some who have grown attached to their unpainted pet, it can be
a drastic change.
Spare Cash: So many people spend so much time earning neopoints, and so many
neopoints purchasing paint jobs, that they haven’t the time or energy to feed,
play with or read to their pets. If you’re just into having an impressive-looking
lookup, that’s fine, but you’re the only one who will know how miserable your
pets really are. Imagine all the spare cash you’d have for books and toys if
you didn’t make one of the most expensive – and irreversible – purchases you
could possibly make.
Insurance: Let’s imagine you’ve been saving for months and months, and can
finally afford to paint your pet Maraquan. You’re just slipping him or her into
the beautiful Maraquan sea when BAM! Boochi strikes! Suddenly you’ve got a tiny,
crying pet who can’t even swim. Now, baby pets are undeniably sweet, but you’d
be at least a tiny bit annoyed if this happened. Having at least one unpainted
pet in your account means that you can keep it as the active one, and if something
like this happens, it’s quick and cheap to transform them right back.
Unique-ness: This may sound like an oxymoron – a unique unpainted pet? Think
again. Although the vast majority of pets out there are unpainted, these are
usually owned by people who don’t play the site often enough and therefore can’t
afford to paint them. I challenge you to find a very active, wealthy Neopian
with an unpainted pet (who plans to remain unpainted). It doesn’t happen too
Seeing Through Superficiality: Most people look straight past Scarlet and praise
my more ‘expensive’ pets. I’d be much more likely to befriend a person who complimented
my pets for their personalities or petpages – someone who sees them for who
they are and not their expensive coats.
Pride: Many are proud of saving up for a paint brush to show off their wealth.
There is also a stronger pressure to do this as having painted pets is so fashionable
nowadays (and probably always has been). When rich, the pressure to do this
is enormous. I say, go against the crowd, say no to peer pressure, and just
make your pets exactly how you’d like them – whether that be through using a
paint brush or not.
So there you go. A whole bunch of reasons why it’s ok to say no to paint brushes.
I hope I’ve managed to convince you that although painted pets can be great,
unpainted pets can be every bit as valuable.
In researching this article, I didn’t manage to find anything remotely similar,
except a story called ‘Blessed with the Stars’ in issue 67 of the EXTRA-old
Neopian times – it’s hard to find, but you can find it here.
It’s a beautiful story, if you need more convincing of why painted neopets
are not necessarily any better than any other pet.
Author’s Note: I am in no way condemning the use of paint brushes. There
are some wonderful paint colours out there which may suit your pet perfectly.
I’m just telling you this so I don’t end up with a colourful band of pets on
my doorstep wanting to show me how strong they really can be…