Baby, It’s Cold Outside

hoodieweatherI need more long-sleeve shirts.

I love winter. There’s something about cold cloudy days that just seems to jive with my personality. Maybe it’s because the cold makes people prone to put their hands in their pockets and hold their arms close to their own body, compacting their physical selves like I compact my emotional self. But I don’t have enough long-sleeve shirts. The cold wind smells different; it smells like the past. Most people think cold and gray are depressing, but I find it invigorating, as though nature and I are on the same page. Getting bundled-up and going for a run on cold days, to me, is enjoyable. But I need more long-sleeve shirts. And hoodies. I freakin’ love hoodies.

Wearing a nice over-sized hoodie is like walking through the day wearing the blanket that you slept in the night before. No one cares about your physique when you’re wearing a hoodie because, well, you’re wearing a hoodie. I’ve lost 40 pounds since prison, so I don’t need to wear hoodies for the reason I used to – to hide my gut. My gut is more-or-less gone (thanks to training for – and running – several full-length marathons) but I still love hoodies. I just need more long-sleeve shirts.

There’s more commitment in wearing a long-sleeve shirt – more risk. On a cold day, a short-sleeve shirt can always be remedied by a jacket. But a long-sleeve shirt shows that you’re prepared for the weather, and should the weather not cooperate (and, for example, warm-up unexpectedly), you’re stuck with your long-sleeve shirt. There’s also more risk during meals, tempting the chance of staining the 20% (or so) more fabric on the shirt that is decidedly attached to the appendages with which you eat. I suppose rolling sleeves up is always an option, but I really haven’t felt good about that “look” since the 80s. So as a result, I’ve sort of inadvertently purchased exceedingly more sort-sleeve shirts in my life, because they require less commitment and less maintenance, and typically, they’re cheaper. And if one of my short-sleeve shirts happens to become stained or ripped, I’m annoyed, but also comforted with the knowledge that there are plenty more where those came from; but not my long-sleeve shirt.

Long-sleeve shirts, for me, are more comforting. For example, I don’t have to worry about any wrist accessories (like a watch, for example) and wearing a long-sleeve shirt has always (for me, for some reason) felt somehow more fashionably deliberate – casually on purpose, you might say. Long-sleeve shirts feel more natural but also more special to me, from an outward appearance perspective. I have fewer long-sleeve shirts, yet I enjoy them more. I buy them at the same stores (Abercrombie, Hollister, American Eagle, etc.) but seem to value them more because they’re more specialized and more seasonal, while still being comforting and freeing.

My marriage is a long-sleeve shirt. For years, I spent my time wrapped in the shallow and short relationships built on superficialities, self-centeredness, and addiction. These relationships were easy, convenient, required little (or no) maintenance, and worst of all, they were plentiful. But then, I met my wife. In the wardrobe of my relationship history, she is the most comfortable, best-fitting, long-lasting, long-sleeve shirt I have ever worn. She is that hoodie that makes me feel like I’m still at home in bed, cuddling with the warmth of love and security. She always fits, no matter how I may change size or shape. She’s always warm and comforting and never feels awkward or uncomfortable or obstinate; she is protection from the cold and a shield from the rain. She is the reason that I can walk through the cold blistering times of life and still feel content with whatever goes on around me. She fits. She fits perfectly.

I suppose my closet really does need more long-sleeve shirts. But my life only has one, only needs one, only wants one.

Baby, it’s cold outside…