Cold? Who’s cold?
It was late Sunday night when my son blew in the back door. I was standing just inside, fleece, rain jacket, hat and mittens on, leashes in hand, about to walk the dogs.
“Wanna come with me?” I asked.
“Sure,” he replied to my surprise.
It was about 38 degrees and drizzling. The exact sort of raw weather that makes me wonder why anyone thinks Virginia Beach is a 12-month destination.
“Grab a jacket,” I said, gesturing to the coat rack bursting with an assortment of foul weather gear.
“I’m fine,” he said, adding the obligatory, “I went to school in Buffalo, remember?”
Every time my kid ventures out - underdressed - into the cold, he reminds me of the four years he spent in God’s refrigerator.
And as usual, my 20-something son was wearing his year-round uniform: T-shirt and shorts.
I didn’t glance at his feet. But a few minutes into our walk, when he stepped into a deep puddle and let out an involuntary WHOA, I realized he was wearing flip-flops.
In January. In an icy rain.
“Your feet must be freezing,” I exclaimed when we turned toward home with our soggy, shivering poodles.
“Nope, just wet,” he said, squishing along in his sodden-barely-there footwear.
I thought my son, who believes that one set of clothes can take a man through four seasons, was unique. Or part of a weird sect of Beach guys who think that living in a sandy environment requires summer duds all year.
Turns out, he‘s part of a nationwide frigid fraternity. His condition so commonplace that the men’s fashion editor of The Wall Street Journal invented a Latin name for them:
“EVERY WINTER, the season’s most confounding species emerges: the Male Nojacketus. On that first freezing day, you can spot him standing on the subway platform or hoofing it to Starbucks, nonchalant in his meager button-up shirt. Even when this foolhardy creature can see his own breath, he may not don a coat, or even a pair of pants (Male Nojacketi adore shorts, especially of the cargo variety). Scarfs or gloves? He would never stoop to such compromising accessories. The most extreme variety of the species will bare his toes in flip-flops on days that could easily end in snow.”
Yep. that’s my boy. A male nojacketus.
While he’ll sometimes wear jeans, my son loathes long-sleeved T-shirts, fleeces and down jackets. Sweaters? Never.
I quit buying him warm clothes for Christmas years ago after sending sacks of tags-still-on outerwear to Goodwill every spring.
In a story headlined “What’s Up With Men Who Don’t Wear Coats In Winter?” The Wall Street Journal’s Jacob Gallagher set out to interview these cold-blooded creatures.
The reasons they gave for donning shiver-wear in January varied. Some said they feel comfortable only in light-weight clothing. Others insisted that bulky clothes interfered with their mobility. Another set were what the author called “stubborn contrarians.”
Still others, like my son, claimed they don’t feel the cold.
A massive Arctic blast is headed our way this weekend. Hyperventilating meteorologists are already panicked about flash freezing conditions. Temperatures will be in the 20s, they warn. There will be ice. There could be snow. Accumulations could be as deep as two inches!
Have your cameras ready.
Should you see someone in shorts and sandals walking two poodles sporting tiny fleece jackets in this Virginia Beach blizzard, roll down your window and ask if he’s from Buffalo.
That’s my boy.