A funny thing happens when extreme weather conditions occur. We instantly start comparing our discomfort. Those of us in colder climates (which right now appears to be about ¾ of the United States) start taking screen shots and photos of thermometers showing scary negative numbers. We start reporting wind chills and talk about cars that won’t start and numb body parts, and perform crazy scientific experiments like throwing hot water in the air to see it crystalize before our eyes.
Meanwhile, our friends and family in warmer parts of the country, like California and Texas, post photos of beach days and boast how it was 75 degrees out, a perfect day to go trim roses. This then begins an odd reverse-bragging process, where the northerners combat the hearsay of sun and warmth by proclaiming they ventured out for a walk in wind chills of -25 degrees and the inside of their noses froze, or excitedly announce that the day got up to a balmy 7 and they were ready to break out their swimsuits.
Personally, I can’t tell the difference between -2 and -18. Cold is cold. And I’m definitely not a fan.
Yet there are many who truly seem to love the season. For them, there is a joy in seeing their breath, a thrill in the sight of snow, an affinity for keeping cozy and warm while battling the chill. Ah, it sounds so magical and exciting, doesn’t it? I hate to break it to you, but there’s nothing sexy about winter.
Winter is a time for less daylight, challenging conditions for walking and driving, the threat of frostbite, vast cravings for fattening comfort food, and a loss of style in the face of big bulky clothing.
Oh, sure, we convince ourselves that cold-weather fashion is cute. And it is, if you are a toddler waddling around in a quilted snowsuit. But a full grown woman in multiple layers of shapeless bulk is not so cute. We just look thick. And that sensual snow-bunny look? Sorry guys, that only happens in James Bond movies. As hard as we try, we aren’t going to successfully pull off the snow princess look in our daily lives.
In our minds, we look like this:
But in reality, we look like this:
It’s hard to feel attractive when we are gaining weight from extra carbs, our skin is pale and we spend our days hiding under coats and blankets. I feel bad for our spouses and partners. Nothing says “I’m so sexy” like fleece slippers, flannel pajama bottoms and a big fluffy sweatshirt. Somewhere, under all of that, is a body that was last seen six months ago, tan and perky, in shorts and cute tops. But now it has gone into hiding…or perhaps hibernation. And its not like there’s any chance of seeing it at bedtime either. We women have mastered the fine art of moving from sweats to under the covers in 5 seconds flat.
Perhaps, in a way, this is all a good thing. These months give us R.W.’s the chance to relax a bit. We can stop sucking in our bellies without worrying that we’ll burst any buttons or seams, because we are wearing elastic. We can sneak yet another handful of dark chocolate m&m’s (just for example) because the side effects won’t be seen for weeks. We can stop painting our toes because no one will see our feet until it is flip-flop season. We can worry less about the fact that our flannel doesn’t match our fuzzy socks, because when we go out in public, it will all be covered up with boots and coats anyway. And for those of us who suffer with hot flashes, nothing feels better than stepping outside for an instant cool-down at any moment.
Best of all, we know this is all temporary. In a few weeks, we’ll see the first signs of spring. We will start to regain our energy, and start to once again care how we look. We will start to shed a couple of layers. Our partners will have renewed hope of seeing more than just our faces. And, like those butterflies who are wrapped up in ugly cocoons, we will eventually emerge and get our sexy back.
In the meantime, we’ll convince ourselves we look pretty in scarves and long sweaters that make us look like colorful penguins, and we can spend our time comparing stories of our bravery in the face of cold adversity. This is the stuff that legends are made of.
Sure, Cinderella had her fancy ball and glass slippers. But we have windburn and Bean Boots.