One thing I will say about winter: Vanity fades faster than a sunburn at the end of summer and cannot be restored until the snow melts and the spring flowers bloom.
At least in people over 30, it disappears. Younger people, both men and women, still think it’s important to look fashionable regardless of the weather. One day he will find out how wrong he is. When the temperature drops into the teenage years, being fashionable is about as important as second-guessing Wordle: nobody really cares but you.
I remember being young and vain enough to not wear a hat during a blizzard because I didn’t want it to straighten my hair, but I got over it when I realized that warm ears beat flat hair any day of the week.
Times haven’t changed. I see many young people wearing those stylish and expensive ripped jeans, the ones with holes that go up to their hips, because they are trying to look like well-ventilated pants and snow storms are a good idea. They will learn too.
There’s also a trend for younger guys to prove how tough they are by wearing shorts even when the mercury refuses to rise above -10. Sorry guys, that doesn’t prove you’re tough on the rest of the world. It just goes to show that we hope you’re not planning a career in anything that involves logic, because you seem to have some serious judgment issues.
After the last snow storm, my husband went to the roof to shovel snow. He must have been wearing at least five layers of clothing. He looked like an irritated snowman when he walked in. He wasn’t shoveling snow off our roof because he wanted to, but because if he didn’t, we could have ice dams, a winter scenario we never considered before moving to the upper midwest.
That he throws off the roof and driveway with mostly good humor amazes me. If I were to be the main shovel, I suspect we’d be getting a lot of complaints from the neighbors as well as citations from the city. Sometimes I think he likes the challenge of eight-inch snowfalls. Other times I think the snow froze his brain.
Life in the North also brought to light a new form of male bonding/boasting. Instead of comparing zip codes or vehicles or job titles, the men in our woods talk about their snowblowers.
“What did you get?” I heard my husband ask a colleague who was shoveling snow. “Ariens? John Deere? International?”
This question is always followed by a long, often boring (for all non-snowblowers present) discussion about slide control, headlights and heated grips.
At the end of the conversation, both men leave satisfied. The men of the Great North know what matters – being able to defend Old Man Winter as much as possible.
I tolerated Mark’s snowblower fixation because he’s the one out there in the elements. After all, the snowblowers we bought were too big and heavy for me to figure out how to start, much less use.
Until last year when he gifted me with a small battery operated snowblower “so you don’t feel left out” I think that’s how he phrased it.
“I never felt abandoned,” I assured him. If anything, I felt I did my part by staying inside and having a hot babe ready for him when the snow was done.
But when I got the glove, I got to know my new toy and even enjoyed blowing the snow, although my miniature snowblower can’t handle much more than the smallest and densest snow. It makes me feel like I’m doing something to protect our fireplace and home from winter. Not much, but something.
It also gave me bragging rights and the chance to ask my friends what kind of snowblower they had. No one has heard back yet, but that’s okay. When you live in the north, one thing you can count on is a long winter with lots and lots of conversations about the weather.