Man For All Seasons, Woman of All Fashions

Certain men want us to believe they’re like an SUV. They’re rugged, and can travel any terrain. They’re impervious to mud, sleet, snow, and broiling summers.

These are the men who, in hundred degree temperatures, walk calmly through an asphalt parking lot amid shimmering heat waves in their three-piece suits. No sweat forms on their brows, no complaints issue from their lips. They’re much too macho to notice such mundane things.

In the dead of winter, when people are skating to work, these same men are out in cutoff jeans, worn tee shirts, and thong sandals. Oh, and white socks, because after all, it is winter. They move blithely past women buried in enough layers to outfit a family of Eskimos, and behave as though they’re surrounded by a personal climate control field.

This strong, silent guy changes once he enters his domain. Upon checking the thermostat, complaints issue from those previously closed lips.

“When the heck did you put this on forty degrees?” he demands. “This place is like a blast furnace.”

His wife grimaces. “Last summer it was on eighty degrees and you said it was freezing.”

“That was different. I’m setting it on thirty-five. If you’re cold, wear more clothes.”

“If I put on any more layers I may as well go into hibernation, since I won’t be able to move.”

“Okay, okay. Look, let’s watch TV. It’ll take your mind off the cold.” He grabs the remote and stretches onto the couch, propping his bare legs on the coffee table.

The first channel is showing a special about the Donner Party. The next one has a show about ice mummies. The wife begins to worry about those lumps in the back of the freezer.

“Want some ice cream?” the husband asks.

The Man for All Seasons is counterbalanced by the Woman of All Fashions. While this woman is aware of the changing seasons, to her it means a new reason to shop. Whatever the new fashions for spring, summer, fall, or winter, she’s ready to buy. Her greatest attributes, according to the stores, are expensive taste and no sales resistance.

If the newest autumn trend is two hundred dollar mongoose crew socks, she’ll be the first to own them. The Woman of All Fashions will never be caught dead near the clearance rack, where the mongoose socks hang a month after their debut. (My friend bought some for five dollars. Her cat has become quite intimate with one of them.)

The Woman of All Fashions will dress for the climate, but only at the dictate of current trends. You will see her in the sleet-covered parking lot, tottering in stiletto-heeled cowboy boots. Her full length sable coat covers the traffic-cone orange cashmere pantsuit, all of which she “just threw on” to get some bread.

As she heads for her car, she passes a man in faded cutoffs and a tee shirt worn nearly transparent. Both shake their heads as they move on. Some people just don’t know how to dress.