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The Girls’ Guide to Winter: Gettin’ Cozytime-Cozykins from November to Eternity Featuring Cuddle-Ups and Boy Talk Around a Mythic Raging Fire

By Kate Carraway



That it gets dark at noon or w/e is of less consequence when you think about winter as a Laplandian fairytale (Lapland is like Narnia but without all the stuff) instead of something brutalist and immovable and boring. Also, can I be a little bit real with you? I’m missing Rihanna to write this, and that’s because instead of doing it before, I am doing it now, and that’s because I am the kind of perennial dummy who doesn’t understand Future Kate as a real being with needs and limitations. But I did get a new coat in the mail today, and that makes up for it? So actually winter is really boring but in a way that is restorative for summer hedonisms so we should do a little thank-you prayer for winter even though it sucks a million.

COLOR

Have you guys been paying attention to Taylor’s new record? What do we think about Red? Here is a lil’ taste: “Losing him was blue like I’d never known / Missing him was dark gray, all alone / Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you never met / But loving him was reeeeeeed” etc etc etc. Like you are also pretty sure she is laughing at us all the time, right?

Anyway, winter is silver, for me. I guess it’s a triple-obvious to initially characterize a time/month/season as so totally synesthetic—that is, for a thing or idea to correspond to a color, the way some people hear “eleven” and think “purple”—but so much of what a season is is experienced around it, before or after (see above re: summertime wildtimes, you know what I mean, you can feel that sun on your shoulders and that convertible backseat dick-grazing already) and the synesthetic experience of winter is silver, all the way from a dull, frozen metal silver to a glittery, tinsely fairy-lit silver. Or, in magazine or blogspeak, the “color story” of winter is silver, and even if you have to squint at a pile of filthy snow to make it happen, you can do it. Recasting a Total (if temporary) Drag-thing like this, like something almost fun and special, is just better for you.

BEING COLD

Word to all girls and to any boy who has paid actual, intellectual attention to the girl experience, and knows that being cold is this common, constant bodily reality, and therefore knows that like anything else boys want to complain about (work, pain, political oppression) you probably had it worse. (Oooooh faced!) (I’m just kidding, fucking relax.)

TRACKIES

“Sweatpants are disgusting” is the bottom line, but that’s only part true. The legacy of Juicy Couture asses and Free City thighs and high school kids on the subway in daytime sweats have left the mostly correct impression that sweatpants are too hard and too horrible to get right.

Most sweatpants are doing something that is “college” (too soft, pastel, slouchy, worn in a compromised, hunchy posture, the inside lined with a steady, clammy mist of hangover sweat from the malt liquor pre-drinks and the runny bar rail G&Ts and then a tasty slice and then whatever non-cure—Coffee? Laxatives? Froot Loops and an ice-cold can of Coke?—you took that morning), but what you want them to do is something that is “second grade” (that sort of not-soft and structure-giving outer material, drawstring pulled into a bunny-ears bow, cinched ankles and a no-nonsense color like navy blue or heather gray for maximum PLAYING results), where the haptic experience (a.k.a. “feeling”) is one of active but chilled ease, and not hopelessness.

Jeans in real winter will actually hurt your body, and will, like, reverse-burn it with freezingness (Ooooooh you know when you come inside in the winter and jump out of your jeans while you hop to the bathroom to pee and when you sit down your legs likesizzle because they got too warm too fast?); tights are too perfect and too played out to abuse and should be reserved for like Thursdays and Fridays at work; nylony leggings are cold as shit. A pair of new sweatpants that you call “trackies” when your boyfriend is around and understand as a pants-facilitator of “fun” and “doing” instead of “couch” (listen, when you’re that hungover just get naked, take a long steam, and drink Gatorade wrapped up in a cotton sheet all day, taaaa-rust me) subverts the expectations of sweatpants and will improve your winter Saturday ten-fold. Don’t sleep in them, though. Sleep in something silkaaaay.

BOYFRIENDS

Two ways to go with boyfriends in the winter. (If you have like an actual relationship then I guess skip this part or nap through it or whatever I don’t care.) The common wisdom is to get with someone cuddly-cozy, he probably has a beard and a big scarf and the whole point is not so much to “like” each other but to pass crunchycozycomfy time with movies and microwaved snacks until you check off shit like “the boring part of Christmas holidays” and “New Year’s Eve” and “that first week of March which remains horrible” and basically do arctic warfare with the weapon of a boring Starbucks relationship. So that’s fine. The second way is to find a beta fish who will worship you for five solid months and go out in the cold to walk your dog and pick up your library books and will be available to you for the aforementioned movie cuddles (because, look, everyone needs movie cuddles) but all without falsified and presumed interest, just more standard sexual power dynamics writ large by frosty windows. Choose wisely.

THE BATH

“Democratized luxury” is supposed to mean “H&MMM” and carefully styled tableaux Instagreaux, but what it really means is committing to something average to make it perfect, which is easily expressed by a bath. There is an entire culture on the internet (and probs in the world, too) (Japan? Denmark?) devoted to elevated, artful bathing (I call it “Special Bathtub” and require a new Emoji, immediately). Do up a nice one with all of the stuffs, the milks and salts and petals and oils, and have a perfect towel ready to go, and somewhere soft and cozers to land when you open the bathroom door and have to execute a perfect standing long jump before you freeze to death.

INVINCIBLE SUMMER

Maybe go on vacation somewhere hot. Usually I would do this too but THIS YEAR my sister has decided (her turn to choose) that instead of a beach we are going to a children’s water park so her minis can have fun instead of me, and I’m sorry but even in the Helicopter Age there are some things that little kids just have to shut the ass up about.

VOLUME

Hiding or just reforming your business (your Body Business, I mean) via clothing in the winter can be a draaaaaag (Here is what I wrote about it last week: “Anyway mostly what is so nice about winter is the way it demands a reimagining of the body and the functions of the body in a public context. Sweater and especially coat structures are so meaningfully obscuring. Somehow snot gets cute. Sexiness is not really subsumed but is basically just given up to woolens and rubbers and Gore-Texes and felts and fleeces and instead of feminine anarchy it is something other, something recognizable, sexy in a way that you didn’t choose.”) But but but but also. This year, the winter fashion stuff takes all of that to another, higher, better floor of the building. (Your Body Building, I mean.) Chloé's coats are the texture of mattress foam, and there is one look that is basically just a sugar-cookie top and red velvet icing pants (also available: red velvet cupcake skirt, obviously). Even Chanel did everything all big. It’s all like the perfect wintering of the Soda Shoppe macaron colors and light, close, careful outlines of the summertime (the shoe-shapes are all the same, though).

MARSHMALLOWS

Big marshmallows vs. little marshmallows in hot chocolate is the debate of the century I realize but I’m going for littles because when you blow on it like “ffffffffffff” and see them float on over the ripples like futuristic/post-apocalyptic sailboats it’s so neat.

(You disagree? Come at me, bro.) (Girls say “Come at me, bro” too but it’s more like “Come at me, bro?”)

Anyway eating generally gets weird in the winter because what your body is telling you is muffled by like five different kinds of white faux fur and also through your earmuffs you’re all like “I CAN’T HEAR YOU DID YOU SAY ‘MORE GINGERBREAD PLEASE’ OK COOL.” But then you have only clementines for lunch every day so you’re not going to scurvy out 100 percent probably.

WINTER SOLSTICE

Ouija boards are vital to girl culture. Any girl who hasn’t been to a séance or wasn’t a serious witch for a few minutes has no business turning 21.

YOUR APARTMENT

Sometimes in the wintertime—and yes I am presuming a northern, east coast, Midwest and flyover climate reality here; my favorite thing ever was when I drove to Big Bear with some of The Californians and snowflakes as gentle as Bonhomme’s tears drifted onto the windshield and they all burst into hysterical stress cryings—but sometimes in the wintertime you won’t leave your apartment allllll day. Because it is cold! That makes it like a pleasantly institutionalized experience, and for some reason you’ll change clothes 16 times (“trackies”) and will get into this weirdly routineized and yet super-chaotic and yet strangled, bumpy momentum and narrative of what to do all day. And then you’ll get basically inside-psychotic like “What is an apartment? What defines it as such? Who are my neighbors and do they understand me as I understand them?” and so on. And so on and so on, until spring.

Previously - Everything Is the Best

Follow Kate on Twitter @KateCarraway

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