The commencement of…

The commencement of winter is here. As I walk about campus, I see squirrels scurrying to and fro, gathering nuts and, I’m sure, layering their little treehouses with pink fiberglass for better insulation. I reflect that, like these squirrels we, too, need to scavenge for our last provisions for the long winter. Yet it is not food we need to ensure, but companionship. Like nuts and berries become increasingly scarce as snow covers the ground, so too the opportunity to obtain the rations of love.
As spring is the mating season, winter is the frigid season. It is a season where people bundle themselves up in six or seven layers of clothing to trudge through the freezing snow. Everyone mummifies themselves in warm clothing and end up resembling the Michelin Man. Unfortunately, with all this bundling, gender becomes hard to distinguish.
In the winter, it’s as if all the women in Minnesota had suddenly turned Muslim, hidden behind a veil of Gore-Tex. I am sure that, come mid-January, I’ll find myself blushing at a woman provocatively wearing only three layers of clothing as if it were lingerie. I’ll pine for the moment that I perhaps catch a glimpse of an uncovered feminine brow. At some point, I’m sure I’ll find myself fantasizing over the mere thought of a bare ankle.
And just from the pain of getting from point A to point B, the Minnesota singles scene promises to be bleak. I find it unlikely that women are going to brave blizzards at minus 30 to go to some seedy bar just so that some grizzly guy can hit on them. Of course, men would pitifully walk over broken glass in subzero weather on the off chance they might meet the opposite sex. That just leaves the average winter pub full of desperate men — which might be redundant.
So now is the time to act if you haven’t already. As a friend put it, you need to find that special someone to “hunker down” with for the winter. Come spring, you can review your contract and determine whether or not to renew. Typically, you’ll dump your partner and proceed to date for spring and summer, and in autumn begin looking for likely winter candidates. This is the seasonal cycle of love.
If this is your first winter in Minnesota, here are some suggestions on what qualities to look for in a winter buddy.
For males looking for females:
1. Good metabolism: Buyer beware, the petite girl you fall for might now look like Ashley Judd, but from long winter inactivity — e.g. TV watching or snack munching — she might end up looking more like Wynona Judd.
2. Substance above beauty: though beauty might be a factor, beauty can wear thin over a long of winter, not to mention that as the season wears on, you cannot expect shaven legs, makeup or any demure compartmentalization of bodily functions.
For females looking for males:
1. Good provider: will your man meet your needs through the winter months — e.g. Will he go get you “feminine hygiene products” during a snow storm? How about chocolate? Will he shovel your driveway?
2. Furnace: does the aforementioned party generate a lot of heat for your cold feet on those wintry evenings? Does he like to snuggle?
It’s important for both genders to make a good selection. One easily develops cabin fever in which little things get excruciatingly annoying. So try to discern early on whether your provisional winter buddy has any quirks that might become homicidally annoying over time. For example, does (s)he have an annoying laugh? spit when speaking? talk too much? sleep with your friends?
Also, does your provisional winter buddy know how to cook anything besides Top Ramen, jarred pasta and Rice-A-Roni? If not, it might be a long winter of cold pizza.
It’s not an easy feat, however, to find that seasonal Mr(s). Right Now. It is particularly difficult for men to find eligible heterosexual women in Minnesota. Part of the reason is the predominance of short hair among the Minnesotan lasses. Combined with the large lesbian population, this makes finding a heterosexual woman like trying to find a pin in a stack of needles.
I have nothing against lesbians. In fact many of my ex-girlfriends have become lesbians. It’s just that the choice of heterosexual women to wear their hair short confuses the whole mating process. I’ve inquired as to why there is so much short hair among the Minnesotan females. One girl said, “Maybe it’s to keep guys like you from hitting on them.” Now, putting aside that obvious fawning flirtation, my only conjecture is that it takes too much energy to maintain long hair in the winter.
But long hair brushed aside, as winter is bearing down on us, I think it’s necessary to demarcate the heterosexual from the homosexual, and the women from the men. Thereby, it is my good-natured proposal that we all start wearing teletubbie symbols on our winter hats. The University could pass these out at Coffman Union — after all, they couldn’t be any worse than those yellow construction hats. Let’s learn our lessons from the righteous Tinky-Winky who bravely declared his sexual identity despite the consequences to his professional career and private life.
These are just suggestions. I hope that I haven’t come off as misogynistic in any way. If I’ve been insensitive, I hope I’ve been equally sexist. So good foraging to you all; don’t forget to bundle up, and have a happy winter.
Matthew Brophy’s column will appear on alternate Tuesdays. He welcomes comments at [email protected]