The cold weather made its first debut today with an unfortunate 8-degree Fahrenheit—or so my car proclaimed ostentatiously on its dashboard. It was very unfortunate. Sad, really. But mostly, imminent and predictable. We all act surprised when winter makes its mark as if nouns like snow and wind and foods like chicken noodle soup and hot cocoa are part of a foreign dialect reserved for eskimos who fend for their food with fishing rods and end off their nights singing koombaya amid their man-made igloo.
Winter is nothing new to the Native New Yorker.
We routinely stand huddled together under a glass-cubicle bus stop rubbing our mittened-hands together, like a mischievous child up to no good, trying to ward off the cold like its satan. As if to keep the 90’s resurgence alive, our noses turn into mood rings, changing red when the cold air strikes. Our pale legs are on their hands and knees begging for sunlight, and our ears are trying to stay put under a cheap knitted hat ready to face its demise from so much use over the years. It all seems so unfair.
But believe me when I say this— the way the cold makes us feel is trivial compared to a bigger problem we have at hand.
I’m not about to respond with a fallacy of relative privation like “There are starving children in Africa!” to override our petty kvetching the way moms often do when their kids toss their probiotic-filled yogurt in the trash. The problem is, the cold cramps my style. Literally.
Today I traded in my oxford flats I purchased at Topshop last month for bulky snow-boots my mom insisted I buy at Pay-less last year. Those ripped anklet boyfriend jeans I’d been wearing through fall were no match for the wind that had its way of creeping onto my skin like an unwanted house guest. I guess I’ll have to settle for the banal black rip-less jeans that fall below my ankle. Where’s the fun in that?
We pile on those baggy cocoon-y sweaters that show off a shapeless figure, preordaining we break our New Year’s Resolution and neglecting our gym membership. And the hat hair. Oh the hat hair. As if my I-woke-up-like-this hair wasn’t good enough. Now that we’re on the subject of hats, has anyone figured out how to pull a hat over your ears while you’re wearing glasses? It’s like trying to lie on your side while you’re wearing glasses. There must be a way.
Winter makes me nostalgic for fall’s jean jackets and leather jackets. Those staple items, how I miss you so. My puffer jacket suffocates the style out of me and leaves me bereft of fashion’s necessities. I need shape and structure. I need blazers and crop tops and thinly lined pants. Winter doesn’t give us the freedom of choice. If it did, we’d see more girls walking around in their bikinis.
Winter deprives us of the freedom to where what we want.