cold hands, cold feet, cold heart

 

You know the old saying: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.” It originated in Norway but migrated to those countries where snow, ice, rain and wind can strike at any time, and where those who get caught shivering are reminded of their failures by strapping Norsemen to which there’s only one thoughtful response: “f*** off.”

But this is not you! With half the winter left to go, you can still remember the rules of expert winter preparation. You can even take it one step further this week and give a loved one a cozy Valentine’s gift that keeps their hearts aglow every day of the bleeping chilly winter.

If you can’t cuddle yourself, at least you can cuddle someone else.

Some people, by the way, actually like the cold. We’re not talking about them. In fact, we’re not even speaking to them.

Rule Number One: Dressing for winter is not a fashion contest. Even if certain footwear looks hipper without socks, even if the sweatshirt makes you look chunky, you’re going to accept human flesh wasn’t meant to turn blue, freeze and chip off, though it obviously was meant to wrinkle, buckle and sag, thus perhaps the confusion.

Rule Number Two: Think layers. Better known as those clothes that are time-consuming to locate, put on, take off, keep track of, clean, match, and fit in your closet. All leading to that alternative winter dress code: 1. Take your pants off and 2. Get back to bed.

Rule Number Three: The best base layer is wool. But if you’re a scratcher, hunt for softer merino SmartWool which is slightly tolerable, or Polartec fleece which is almost as warm and also breathable and moisture-wicking, if in fact you choose to let your body breathe in the cold and want your moisture haphazardly wicked.

Rule Number Three: Pile it on. After the base, add another thing-y (Norwegian for “I’m smiling and you’re not”), maybe fleece again. My Canadian friend would disagree. She says add a wool sweater here, especially if you can’t stand sheep next to your skin. She looks pretty and stays warm at the same time, and when I ask how she does it she says, “I’m Canadian,” which apparently explains everything.

Rule Number Three: Keep piling on. Add a good quality, meaning expensive, down jacket, to be followed by an equally good, meaning mega-expensive, waterproof shell like GORE-TEX. Or you could try a bison-worthy weatherproof full down coat like my friend from Russia -- “I’m Russian,” she says -- who wears enough to disguise her identity, gender and species. This surprises me. I stupidly thought those accustomed to cold wear strapless, while those who aren’t pray to yaks. Sort of like the belief skinny people eat anything they want while everyone else eats nothing and gains weight.

Rule Number Four: Swaddle that neck. A fluffy scarf can double as a cover for your mouth and nose so you heat the air you breathe. Again, that’s if you choose to breathe. If you do, warmer air will keep your life-or-death organs toasty, especially if you’re older which leads to an inverse relationship with cold and another common expression: “I need a condo in the Keys.”

Rule Number Five: Coddle those hands and feet. Best to wear waterproof down mittens and thick wool socks under waterproof boots or you’ll fall victim to that other little known Norse saying, “Cold hands, cold feet, cold heart, where’s Florida?”

Like any good set of rules, this one is flexible depending on your plans. The longer you’ll be outside, the more you’ll have to bulk up and the more you’ll wonder if human beings should have migrated outside of Africa to Mesopotamia or wherever else they went to next.

One thing for sure -- it wasn’t Norway.

February 10, 2019

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