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“Oh,” I’d say, occasionally and irritatingly, to the people who’d lament the approaching cold, “but what about the sweaters?”

Of course, I don’t wear sweaters. I own sweaters—many luxurious sweaters, and some even from The Gap. But I don’t wear them anymore because I don’t like how they look on my body. Instead, I wear sweatshirts and hoodies and sometimes, when I’m particularly confused, even layers of T-shirts. I wear jackets to ugly sweater parties. I am, in practice, decidedly anti-sweater.

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Still, the chance—the opportunity! —to wear one of my mystical sweaters is what matters, I’d think, in my head, while responding to a reasonable critique of the pain and suffering and dark and death that winter brings with a performative and fashion-focused sobriety followed by a hearty scoff.

And then, I’d continue.

“Shit, it’s perfect weather for my Butters too. And all of my top coats and blazers and boots and mittens and undershirts and scarfs and long johns and the $900 Canada Goose I bought two years ago because of that picture I saw of Mariska Hargitay with one in Antarctica.”

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Still going, I would be.

“Oh, and the foods! The glorious winter foods! The soups and stews! The hot chocolates! The hot toddies! The fire-burnt marshmallows! The various meatloafs! The gravies! The feeling of hovering next to a hot stove while your favorite meat is slow-cooking as you glance towards the window and think ‘This must be what it’s like to live in a snow globe’”

And then, I’d crescendo to my point. And not just my point, but the point.

“But really, what cold weather does is build character. Getting up in the morning and going to work while there’s six inches of grime and slush and sleet and invisible black nigger ice on the ground and relentless sheets of icy fury pummeling your cheeks is what makes you a motherfucking adult. You see this grimace on my face as I stand here, cursing the wind as it taunts and stings me like a thousand trust fund honeybees? It is the same grimace I carry when sitting in my frigid car in the morning, its shivering seats frosting my thighs and asscheeks like a topping on a black-ass cake. This grimace is earned. This is the grimace of a man. You will not find this grimace in Hawaii or Atlanta. If the ceaseless dead of winter can not defeat me—and it won’t, it will not—nothing will.”

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Anyway, I used to say these things. I think I’m done saying them now.