Somerville with Townie Tim: Looking cold

If you grew up in a warm climate, go ahead and ignore this week. I’ll probably come back next time with a more universal column so just sit tight. But, for all of you that claim to be from north of the Wall, I want to take this time to discuss a fairly hilarious phenomenon.

About a week ago, I was getting ready to go for a run with the Tufts Marathon Team and an interesting thought crossed my mind. It was pretty cold, somewhere in the teens, and it was early, so no sun yet. I had my usual assortment of layers, gloves and hat that I wear, and just as I was ready to go outside, I took my outermost layer off. Why did I do this? Was I worried about being too hot? Not particularly. Was it too bulky? Again, no.

See, I took my outer layer off because for a long time I have been afraid of looking overdressed for the cold. I think my first salient memory was waiting for the bus in the third grade. I rolled up to the bus stop with my ski jacket on and my neighbor Mike said something to the effect of “you look cold, is it too cold out here for you?” It was November and the prospect of being too cold this early in the season was enough for me to swear off looking cold forever.

I know I am not alone in this feeling. I shared this thought with the team during the long Wednesday morning runs, as I do with a lot of thoughts I have. At least a few folks had this same thought and changed what they were wearing that day because they didn’t want to appear too bundled. Because of our talk, I think I might make a resolution to take the warmth over the vanity.

Especially in New England, people aggressively underdress for the weather as a sort of power trip. Just the other day, during the weekend snowstorm, I saw a dude leaving Dunkin’ in shorts and a T-shirt, drinking an iced coffee. I think if I had mentioned something about the cold, my words would have warmed him up even more.

There is definitely something to feeling like you can outmuscle the weather, especially this time of year. But, I think there are diminishing returns to this practice. No matter how tough you are, hypothermia sets in at about 95 degrees Fahrenheit. And you never know when you need the extra power to your immune system. Sure, you could prove to the Mikes of the world that you are tough enough for the weather. But on the other hand, you get to be warm.

So for all of you rocking hoodies and sweatpants during snow storms this year, I see you. You are tough beyond compare and your commitment deserves approbation. I’ll be the one dressing like my infant daughter, with at least one more layer than everyone around me. And, like her, I won’t be afraid to cry when my face gets too cold.