The setting: A Starbucks. The windows are decked in holly berries. The boards are red as are the cups, (but wait, no one is or ever was offended). I just ran into a friend at the counter. She was in a baby blue sweater. Another woman wore a scarf.
And I am in shorts.
Outside it is seventy degrees.
Yesterday it was the mid-sixties. Yes, it is November, but this isn’t New England. It’s also not Miami. It’s the Mid-Atlantic.
Because it was not the tundra outside, I also wore shorts yesterday. I confess I also donned a long-sleeved button-down, but that was because I had an “important meeting,” as in someone sent me a Google invite.
A friend remarked upon my arrival at said meeting, “You are brave.”
Me: “What did I do? Did we conquer Napoleon?”
Friend: “You’re in shorts!”
Me: (factually) “It’s 70 degrees outside.” Like, I sweated walking here.
Friend: “But it’s fall.”
Oh, I’m sorry. Let me layer on my scarves and mittens and parka because the moon happened to do something back in September. Let me just profuse sweat into my sweaters (is that why we call them sweaters?) and stew my feet until they become a pot roast in these wool socks tucked into these boots. It’s November; we must suffer for it. Right? You’re probably also against gay rights.
Have you heard of Indian summers? (When are we going to come up with a politically correct term for unseasonably warm days in autumn?) Or maybe global warming? I am adapting. There is nothing brave about this. Just evolution at its finest. My calves will survive because they are the fittest. (That is probably one of my worst jokes. Please disregard.)
Wearing shorts when the calendar says you shouldn’t has become my hallmark. People constantly remind me my kneecaps are out. Do I want to cover them?
One woman at my workplace never fails to comment, “You’re still in shorts,” when we run into one another in the stairwell.
That I am. You still don’t need glasses.
Why are people offended by my bared tibias? Yeah, so I have ugly knees from multiple falls while running, but I’m not making anyone else undress. I put on a jacket when the temperature does dip. And I don’t have cankles for crying out loud.
I dress practically. I walk to work. I am going to sweat. Even it’s 59 degrees. Why are you judging? Wear your balaclava, and I’ll wear my flipflops.
I also order iced coffee in February. Does that annoy you? Well, guess what? The cold never bothered me anyway. I am stronger for it. You weaklings.
I am simply advocating we start dressing for the weather, not for the date. Boots are my favorite type of shoe as any of my friends will tell you, so I will gladly trot around in them – if the weather asks for it. But why should I induce hot flashes by dressing like a walking North Face advertisement when really, Tommy Bahama is more appropriate?
I went the entire winter in eighth grade never putting on long pants. Of course, I also wore jorts back then, so I’m not saying that entire winter is defensible, but look, I am alive. I still have all my toes. And you have a damp back in that blazer on this muggy November day.
Next time you ask about my shorts with your “Do you know how to dress yourself?” condescension, be prepared for me to tell you that I not only know how to dress myself, I also know how to check the forecast. I log onto Snapchat every day and check that temperature. I only get cold when the AC is blasting to cool the overdressed fools, which wouldn't happen if people followed my example.