an open letter to winter shorts wearers

by emmaburns

It’s a pretty universal fact that if you live somewhere cold there will be someone outside in shorts or other forms of athletic wear during ridiculous temperatures. Everyone knows this, it’s been practically memed to death. It seems to me though that nobody has stopped to ask: Why? What drives people to expose their bare skin to -6 degrees, leisurely stroll in a t-shirt during a blizzard, or walk across campus on ice without shoes? (I saw the last one the other day and it was truly insane. Just like 5 minutes of me staring at this random person in morbid fascination. The image will be burned into my brain for eons). 

They’re our classmates, friends, possibly even relatives, yet we know so little about them. And in all honesty, I’m very confused. So confused in fact, that I wrote down some questions.

First off, were you always like this? Was wearing basketball shorts and a hoodie at the height of winter a natural instinct? Or is this a conscious choice, a decision made to completely ignore the social understandings of what people wear when it’s cold? Are you the only person in your friend group who dresses like this or do you all gravitate towards each other?

If you’re an athlete, are you just constantly running late and have no time to change? Is there no space in your bag for some pants and a coat? Do you just not feel like it? 

If you’re not an athlete, then seriously, why? Is this like some sort of elaborate contest? Like whoever wears the least in the coldest temperature gets crowned Lord of Winter or something? Is it to prove a point about your toughness? Maybe your lack of fucks? Is it a desperate bid to feel something, anything? Does the pain make you feel alive?

I even straight up asked someone who wears shorts in the cold to answer some of these questions, so great was my bafflement. Their response? New England winters aren’t that cold, no temperature over 0 is. Let me tell you, this response shook me to my core. What does anyone do with this knowledge? Nothing over 0 is cold??? Who can live like that? I honestly don’t know whether to be scared or in awe. Now not only am I confused but I’m also concerned. Is that the reason for everyone? Did I get at least one question right? Seriously, someone please let me know.

Categories: 8, emma burns, march 9 2021