Trip Part 2

I was definitely not up to the sartorial challenge posed by Chicago in the dead of winter. I figured: it’s going to be really, really cold, so bring your warmest clothes, which I did (including cashmere socks, which turned out to be my best wardrobe idea on that trip). But I had reckoned without the super-heated interiors of Chicago buildings. Outside, my snuggly sweaters were perfect. Inside, I was sweating. Lesson learned: when visiting Chicago (or anywhere else that has real weather) in the middle of winter, or probably any time, come to think of it, dress in layers. Yes, it does mean that you’ll be stripping and dressing again with a frequency that would tire Gypsy Rose Lee herself, and to the detriment of your ‘do, but you’ll be more comfortable. As usual, it’s comfort vs. style.

There are no hair clips or hair spray on earth that can stand up to the wind in Chicago. You will look (and be) wind-swept, and you just have to hope it looks good on you. Also no lipstick or lip gloss, even MAC’s fabulous lipglass, can stop your lips from getting chapped.

For those who live in places where their weather treats them much like a TV dinner, going straight from the deep freeze to the oven and think they know all about the deep freeze: I’m telling you, that wind makes things cold, and not just to whiny San Franciscans. When I was in Chicago, the high was 19?F (or -7?C), but the wind chill made it 4?F, or -16?C, and I think even you hardy Canadians will have to admit that it’s cold. And that was the high.

No wonder I have never seen so many fur coats in my entire life. It was quite remarkable. Walking down the street, my whole face had the kind of brain freeze you get from eating ice cream too fast, and I had to wonder: if I lived in Chicago, would I overcome my principles and get one? What few principles I have are very, very bendy, and since going to the gym has made me realize that I could stand about .0001 seconds of torture (I’d tell them anything I knew and/or make it up as soon as the torture was even threatened, I’m pretty sure), maybe a week or a month of Chicago cold would send me to the fur salon. I hope not, though. But there are few options as warm as that. Down coats are warm, but make you look like the Michelin man, so forget it, especially after enduring all that gym torture. The last thing you want is to look fluffier. Once again, comfort vs. style.

I have never seen so many steak houses, either, so Chicago must be some kind of Slaughterhouse Central, what with the fur coats and the steak. And the size of the portions you get in the restaurants is positively epic. I was unable to eat everything at any meal I had there, no matter how great it was. Possibly Chicagoans need the fuel to withstand the cold. And anyway, it was fun to feel like I had a Victorian lady’s bird-like appetite, and the food was great.

Besides, look how pretty!

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10 comments on “Trip Part 2

  1. LisaB

    I’m a wuss when it comes to cold too. Growing up on the East Coast I don’t think I ever wore a hat to school – although it did get really freaking cold. When I moved to Ontario for university I would wear ANYTHING to keep warm and I didn’t give a lick about what I looked like. Now I’m in a constant struggle between keeping warm and looking like I could pass for a normal person. =)

    Are food portions in SanFrancisco normal? They’re crazy big in WI, just like IL.

  2. Amber

    I might admit its cold if it wasn’t -20 C (- 4F) with a windchill that makes it feel like -27 C (-16 F). 😉 Although, we’ve had a pretty nice winter til now so I still probably shouldn’t complain. And I do live here by choice…

    It does look beautiful! A lot of fur coats? Maybe you would just need to start looking sporty since there are a lot of sporty jackets that are ultra-warm!

  3. Candi

    Your surprise over steakhouses and portion sizes makes me think you’ve never stepped foot in the Midwest before, woman!

    We have a place here called Montana Mikes. They have steaks as big as plates. *snort* I can’t eat a lot of steak, but I do love the monster-sized baked potatoes. Oh, and the burgers are so big you can’t open your mouth wide enough to eat them. You should have seen Brian’s younger brother trying to eat one when they were here. Hehe!

    Definitely have to take stuff home!

  4. babs

    yes. like Amber said – sporty coats. like a nice Columbia or something.

  5. kismet

    the fur coat thing is true for here as well, but generally just for women over fifty who wear their finest to do their errands and what not.

    not as bad as about a month or so ago, though, when I saw a woman in the grocery store wearing a mink as a scarf. she had even knotted it around the middle like a scarf. I was so disturbed.

  6. Suzy

    Candi – I don’t think I ever have set foot in the midwest before. At least, not that I can remember! No wonder it made such a big impression on me!

  7. Tubbs.

    Us Canadians can take anything that even closely resembles weather. Do you want to know our secret?

    Callouses.

    From the age of 2 years old, we massage our children so that their skin becomes thick and rough. Thus, when the Great Canadian Winter hits, we don’t even have to wear clothes! It’s amazing what full-body callouses can do to make you invincinble(sp?).

    Uhh….

    I’m from Victoria, BC.

    I don’t think it’s even broke below -1? this year, and that was in the middle of the night.

    So I guess I’d be pretty stankin’ cold in Chicago in spite of my callouses.

    Forget about it.

  8. nicole

    Well, those portion sizes could explain why we (Chicago) are one of the top 5 fattest cities. =(

    I’ve lived in Chicagoland all my life and I hate the cold, esp. the wind, because that’s what makes it the worst. I tend to stay inside most of the winter. I look forward to spring when I can start enjoying the outdoors once again.

  9. Kelly

    I actually find it refreshing when people here admit that they wear fur because they think it’s beautiful. I disagree completely, but at least they’re being honest. If, on the other hand, they try to tell me that they just can’t make it through a Chicago winter without it, they’re being ridiculous. I’m always cold and if I can get by with a few layers, a warm scarf and mittens, so can anyone.

    Bahh. Fur, bad. Sleek black wool coat, good. More flattering on the physique anyway. 😉

  10. Colin

    I heard that Chicago, my hometown, was one of the top fattest five cities. My reasoning, even though can probably be disproved (just don’t burst my bubble, lmao), is that the entire country is 64.5% overweight. So, if Chicago is the third biggest city in the country next to New York and Los Angeles, then it would be one of the fattest, just because there are 3,000,000 people living there.

    I’m sure there’s another explanation, but that’s my story, and i’m stickin’ to it.

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