Wednesday, December 12, 2007

English and the Cold

A few Decembers ago, I was in Manchester for a few days. I stayed at a very nice hostel and was witness for the first time to an English phenomenon. It was Saturday night and quite cold, being December and all. I was wearing my ski jacket, but everyone else who was obviously headed out for a night on the town was dressed like it was a summer night on a Mediterranean island. The gents were in thin, short-sleeved shirts, the ladies in short skirts (the shortness of skirts in this country is another post altogether) and sleeveless tops!

Coming from a cold country, I was really in shock to see people walking around without jackets on a cold evening. Okay, sure, they weren't going to get frostbite in 10 minutes on their exposed skin, but it really must be uncomfortable. I wondered why they weren't all dead from catching their death of a cold. Over the years I have come up with a theory why they have survived such behaviour and today it was confirmed.

My theory is that the English get used to the cold by walking around in inappropriate clothing from an early age. By wearing next to nothing in cold weather, they kill off the weak ones and the strong ones survive to the age where they can go clubbing in January in mesh tops.

Today, this idea was backed up when I walked past the primary school (elementary school to my North American readers) and I saw some young boys running around outside in short pants. Short pants! On a day where the frost never left our lawn. On a day there was a fairly thick circle of ice on the water barrels at the allotment. The high for the day couldn't have been more than 2°C. I can't understand why they are wearing shorts rather than regular pants (trousers, to my non-North American readers) on such a cold day, other than for my fore-mentioned theory. Maybe there's something to it.


Fat Tony said...

If you can find it, watch Vic Reeves's sketch about the Geordies on the Antarctic expedition with Captain Scott.

Dapbim said...

Whilst I do still shiver when I see girls on a night out back home without a jacket, I do definitely think that there is something to what you are saying. I do notice that I am less sensitive to the cold than my german relatives by marriage. Case in point: at the beginning of October, my mother-in-law turned 60, and I wore my little black dress (for the last time *sob* ;o). We were inside, in a heated room. I think almost everybody at the party must have asked me at least once if I was warm enough.
And yes, I agree with your theory. I was always amazed at how many layers mums would put on the kids I babysat for. Whilst we would never have been in shorts in winter (apart from for PE, thanks for that, school), I don't think i ever once in my life wore tights under my trousers, which german children seem to do from about the beginning of september onwards...