Cooler Heads Prevail



It’s been extremely cold here for what feels like an ice age or one of those winters  “Game of Thrones” people go on about. The kind of cold currently scaring people off the sidewalks is serious, legit cold, though I’m absolutely positive someone from THE NORTH will quibble and tell me I am weak and recount the time the snow was higher than rooftops and the only way to get water was to cut and melt pieces of the glacier that ate New England back into 19-Legendy-4.

And you know what? That’s fine. I’m a southerner.   I think snow is frankly annoying. I grab a sweater when the temperature drops below 65. I don’t even own a puffy coat. You can have your snowmobiles and your hockey games and overwrought confessions of infidelity in the ice-fishing hut. I like my long summers and lush foliage even if I do have to put up with terrible, morally reprehensible history, horrifying politics, willful ignorance, impenetrable humidity and the occasional giant, flying cockroach. If it’s necessary to stand around stiff upper lipped in double-digit negative wind chills to impress someone, then I don’t really don’t care if they think I’m weak. Because seriously? Fuck that. No one likes the cold that much, not even the storied race of Vegan Communist Viking Lumberjacks that all the kids want to dress like these days.

I blame climate change for this particular mess of frigid. Is it still some iteration of the preposterously named Polar Vortex? I don’t want to watch enough Weather Channel to find out.

In the past, I’ve enjoyed dressing for winter weather, as it avails me the chance to wear cute boots and cashmere sweaters and velvet party dresses. But by winter weather, I mean tights-and-cardigan weather as opposed to snowsuit-and-hypothermia weather. I’m wearing two sweaters on the reg these days. I like to think I pull it off with panache, but honestly I look like an addled antiquarian book dealer and a bit like my father when he went through that Argyle sweater vest period.  I can deal with that. The real frustration for me is the hat issue.

In general, I’m a fan of hats. I have vintage fascinators and pillboxes hanging from my bedroom walls. I know that all the best occasions to wear a picture hat usually involve horse races. I wear broad-brimmed sunhats whilst sitting by the sea. I think there’s a time and place for top hats, trilbys, bowlers, berets and the rest (though maybe so much fedoras). I think it’s terribly sad that only reactionary asshole bigots still have love for the tricorn.  And I believe, at some point in the future, I may very well overcome my prejudice against newsboy caps. But winter hats? Not so much.

The traditional woolen stocking cap thing never set well with me, or rather on me. No matter how many knit reindeer or pom -poms or (god help me) those absurd twee animal ears you put on the thing, I look like a fat thumb whenever I wear one. And when I take it off, I look like a fat thumb with the tragic hair of the chronically unwashed. It doesn’t matter how recently I’ve showered or what sort of haircut I have at the time (though when long it really tends toward unfashionable grunge territory).

So I buy these faux fur monstrosities that I hope will make me look like Julie Christie in “Doctor Zhivago.” I have little confidence that this is the case. Judging from the sidelong glances I get whenever I wear my hat around town, I’m guessing the actual effect is closer to Nana’s Friend Lola Visits Canada or Blossom in the Tundra.

Given this situation, it was probably ill-advised to maintain the pixie cut through the winter (thus making the hat even more of a necessity).  I would probably buy some preposterous velvet hooded thing if I thought I could maintain my self-respect[1]. Whatever. I gravitate toward some version of form even when I try to be functional.

Thus my ears stay cold as I pine for spring.

[1] It’s hard to balance on the edge of witchy/hippie/Renaissance fashion without falling head first into Lady Alysonne Nightwood of Coven Oh God, Seriously? when you’re not the sort of rail-thin fashionista type that can literally make anything work with a smoky eye and a couple of lines of cocaine. Those girls can wear dolman sleeves and velvet snoods and look like movie stars, whilst the same ensemble makes me look like I’m trying too hard to be accepted by my fellow wenches at the Ren Faire.

The Author

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