Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Old Hiems

It was so bloody cold yesterday that I decided I could not get from the station to the university without suffering freezer-burn to the ears, so I went by Marks and Sparks to buy a beanie. This is the first piece of head-joy I have ever purchased, as I've always thought hats make me look a twat. I can just about carry off a beret, but they always look so self-consciously arty on blokes, so their twat factor is high, I feel. And the thing about beanies is that while they look very good on boys and young men, they somehow make middle-aged males look more emphatically middle-aged. Oh, this is such a pain. I mean, fuck it, middle age already feels like an unsuitable, ill-fitting outfit that you find yourself forced to wear, so you really don’t want accessories that abet the impression. I keep muttering about it, this outfit: ‘look, it just doesn't suit me, OK? I’m still thirty-five inside.’ But there’s no retailer to take it back to, so you are stuck with it. Anyway, I jammed my new purchase on my head as I left the store, and was immediately grateful for the warmer ears. However, I found I was walking fast with my head down, as one who does not want to be recognised. If I hurriedly doff the thing in your presence, do not flatter yourself that this is a mark of respect; it’s pure vanity. I've still got a bit left.

I don’t mind the cold, though, so long as I'm well insulated. I get SAD in reverse – summer makes me feel lethargic, and I sometimes feel alone in thoroughly disliking the insipid lingering light of British summer evenings. No, for me, winter, and the cosiness of winter. The door is bolted (why do I only think to bolt it in winter???) the curtains are closed on the world and the candles are lit. There’s chicken roasting, and wine to open soon. What’s not to like? Perfect introvert's weather. The temperature can stay below freezing forever.


Fionnchú said...

As an Angeleno who had to go to Ireland ten days ago as their storms and yours hit, I had to purchase for the first time (as a middle-aged man who's been told not to wear baseball caps as they too apparently belong to the jejune) long underwear (not easy to find here) and gloves. Both of which I figure as with my fancy brand-name backpack will last me the rest of my life at the rate I wear them.

I could only find at home a lame beanie "polyester fleece" that I had gifted my son long ago from London with "Mind the Gap" on the front; he wisely eschewed it. Recalling how cold my ears once got as I walked on the Galway promenade in summer, the wind coming in from the bay, I took it just in case.

As with you, I did not wear it. Once I put a hat on, I cannot take it off as it's wrecked my hair. I cannot understand how in old movies fedoras were donned and doffed while coiffures stayed intact.

So, I stayed hatless in Hibernia even as I bundled up and for the first time ever had to navigate ice on the ground (I never have walked under falling snow, still): that scared me more than "hat-hair." However, the fact that radiators work, mufflers keep chill pretty well out of necklines, and that buildings are insulated unlike in L.A. means I was colder when I returned home, to a drafty, window-filled, and thin-walled house made for sunshine. In Ireland, I have never felt that cold by comparison!

I agree: wherever winter is, introverts love it. I resent the shortening in the U.S. of the time change and I like darker days and longer nights. Great for reading.

Vilges Suola said...

It's been -6 C here, colder than I have ever experienced. I've had to go out wearing so many layers I can roll to the station. Because of this and because of the heating and insulation everywhere, paradoxically I don't think I have sweated so much.

Going back to Athens in Jan - am going to pack all my insulating gear, because as in LA, everywhere's built for summer, and indoors, you shiver miserably.

Doomed But Cheerful! said...

I used to hate winter in Cyrpus too, for similar reasons - my place was not built for anything other than to give shade from the sun, I am sure!

Your description of middle age is very succinct, and I wholly agree. It is only recently (in the last 12 months) that I have felt that I am really a bit older than 17, no matter how I may fight against it. Since becoming a civilian again, the accelerated ageing process is really quite alarming!

As for hats, I think they are splendid things, if you choose the right sort. I would agree that they can add decades, and not just years. These days I wear my wide brimmed drovers' hat in the day. Winter will see me looking for my beanie, flat cap, or winter drovers hat!

Note that 'hat' and 'twat' do not happen to rhyme by accident!

Have a wonderful day =]

Vilges Suola said...

My head's the wrong shape for any hat I've ever tried. Not sure what a drover's hat is - will look it up in a minute.

Doomed But Cheerful! said...

This is what I was on about:


These guys look like they could have a few ideas:


You know what they say: "If you want to get ahead, get a hat!"

Uncutplus said...

Once I was caught in Madison WI, USA in January on a weekend when the high temperature was -4 degrees Fahrenheit (36 degrees below freezing) and the wind chill was 20 below. Coming from the south I had no head protection, and the only thing I could find was a Green Bay football beanie. Though I was not a Green Bay fan, I was very grateful for the warmth the beanie afforded me. At that point, I could have cared less about how I looked.

And now that I am even older (but wiser, some say), I could care less about how it looks -- just so long as it is practical!

Vilges Suola said...

We are warned to expect more of the same this week, so I will have to pull the damn thing out again.


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