It’s starting to get cold in central Ohio, and we’re already complaining. “Ugh, this is the beginning of the end,” says the grocery clerk when it’s 50 degrees and sunny out. “Just wait until it starts snowing. The winters seem to get worse every year,” says my neighbor trying to instigate a global warming argument. “I’m a huge homosexual and I hate the cold because I’m a huge homosexual,” says the barista at the coffee shop (well, he didn’t use those words, but he was wearing a Strokes t-shirt so he may as well have).
This general attitude toward winter weather explains why even men walk in the cold like they’re having leg spasms. I’m not saying this makes you look unmanly, but if you spend the winter months walking around like you’re a WWI soldier advancing trenches, then you may as well wear a Strokes t-shirt.
So here are three ways to walk through the cold like a man, and, since mind imitates body, become more of a man in the process.
1. Keep your head up.
I’m not sure what it is about walking with your head down and the cold, but these two occurrences have a higher correlation than gay ass addiction and protestant ministers south of the Mason Dixon line. Just keep your head up you guys, you’ll be fine, I promise.
2. Walk at a normal pace.
When walking through the cold, 99 percent of the time the journey is about 10 feet from one heated space to another. If you’re climbing Mt. Everest and passing through the notorious death zone where you can see the preserved cadavers of climbers past, and you have to pick up the pace to keep your blood from frosting through, then you’re allowed to walk like you’re in a hurry.
3. Walk with a normal gait.
Most guys walk through the cold like they’re having a seizure. In a way they are. They’re having a wussy seizure. (By the way, thank you Beavis and Butt-head for coming back and so reminding me of what a great word “wussy” is—so much better than “wuss.”)
If you just stop and take a deep breath, you’ll realize the cold isn’t so bad. What makes the cold worse is the tension in your body you feel when you prone spastically from your car to your front door. Also, the repetition of the phrase “I just have bad circulation” makes you sound like a gaggle of gossiping girls on their period, which doesn’t help.
In fact, my feet are soaking in ice water as I write this because it’s impossible to check your email or watch the new Britney Spears video when you’re a little bit on edge. Seriously, wasting five minutes on Youtube when your feet are soaking in ice water feels like jobbing a set of deadlifts with Ray Lewis watching. The twinge of the cold puts you on edge. The cold is a call to adventure. It demands that you think and act with authority. You can either accept the call, or cave in to the demands of your immediate and unfulfilling gratifications.
Since, as men, we care about being the one in charge of our thoughts and actions, walking in the cold isn’t an activity to be taken lightly. It’s a statement. More to yourself than others. By walking in the cold like you enjoy walking in the cold, because there’s a purpose to the walk itself, you tell yourself that no matter what happens to go wrong, or no matter what sort of pain you may feel from your external environment, by dint of your ability to think, you can bolster your psychology, and so your actions, with freedom. Or, as Viktor Frankl says:
It’s clear that the sort of man you become when walking in the cold is the result of an inner decision, and not the result of the influences of cold weather. Fundamentally, therefore, any man can decide what will become of him… And he has the ability to retain his human dignity no matter the circumstance, even in cold weather. – Man’s Search for Meaning