42.4 F

Davis, California

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Column: Cold and classy

I peruse books on wilderness survival about as often as the planets parade in a perfect conga line, but of three things I am certain: sea water sucks, fire is awesome and it’s unwise to strut around in 30-degree weather wearing skimpy mini-dresses that are shorter than my patience on a caffeine-free Monday morning, or thinner than the cheapest toilet paper sliced in half.

I’m not one to conflate the ideas of chivalry and male chauvinism – guys, you’re welcome to open our doors, or even tow us to our classes by means of golden, ruby-encrusted carriages. But if you ever encounter a girl standing in the rain, creating seismic waves by quaking the earth with her shivers … refuse to give her your jacket if she is wearing more eyeliner than fabric.

Okay, I suppose that may be too mean, plus you’d run the risk of being the target of her next vindictive act of vengeance, or worse, her next personal vendetta. Instead, please let her know that girls can be fashionable without sacrificing their fingers and toes to frostbite.

I moved to Davis from season-less Orange County – a place where the weather fluctuates by no more than five degrees, no more than five times a year. So whenever I see people dressed for the beach prancing around in the early phases of winter, the eerie sensation of a thousand icy needles prickles my skin.

Last year, I narrowly avoided freezing to death not only by dressing according to the weather, but also by devising a few innovative ways to ward off cold.

For example, when hypothermia threatens to purple your lips, diminish your circulation and solidify your blood, it’s best to move around and generate heat. If I find myself unable to handle the sly winds infiltrating my room through the edges of windows, I unscrew myself from the iron clench of my work and do jumping jacks or sit-ups to avoid falling into perpetual sleep.

Another tip: minimize alcohol – it is a vasodilator which makes you feel warm, when actually your expanded surface blood vessels are losing heat faster than Angry Birds catapult to destruction. Alcohol is a depressant that decreases blood pressure and respiration, so if you’re drinking be prepared to turn up your heater.

If, like me, you’re a poor college student who saves heater money only to waste it on various sweets or outings as a reward for even the most insignificant of accomplishments, you can invest in a kettle and become a tea aficionado. Sure, drinking black teas continuously will give you quite a caffeine craze, but the hot water and incessant jittering will hopefully keep you awake long enough to resist death by heat loss.

I resort to this technique over 10 times per day; people are beginning to confuse my caffeine highs for my actual personality, but it’s no matter. I’m just happy to be alive and have the vigor to work at my desk despite the growing glaciation of my apartment.

The only thing worse than being cold is being cold while waterlogged. We’re at college to study, not to get auditioned for “America’s Next Top Model”. So wrench your bulky old raincoat from the depths of your suitcase and wear it proudly! If you don’t have one, wrap yourself in plastic wrap or drape yourself with a homemade plastic bag quilt.

Alright, I exaggerate. It is possible to stay warm without turning into an overly-insulated giant sphere that travels from one location to the next by rolling. Guys can wear whatever’s warm. Contrary to popular belief, nobody really notices or cares.

Girls, the Ugg boots with short-shorts fad ended years ago, about a week after it started. Quit trying to be unique and wear your boots with sweats. The world doesn’t overlap seasons so why should your wardrobe?

If you can’t dissuade yourselves from wearing skirts in the midst of tempests, at least wear tights underneath and knee-socks, or leg warmers that’ll help you maintain homeostasis and avoid being punctured by any sharp and sneaky indoor icicles.

If you’re unwilling to wear clothes that actually serve as protective barriers for the icy winds and rains of Davis, you can invest in enough kittens to cover every square inch of exposed skin, or search for Edward Cullen and ask him to convert you to a glittery, cold-embracing vampire. Take your pick.

Tell ZENITA SINGH how you avoid the cold at zensingh@ucdavis.edu.



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