One Thousand Words on Hoodies

I have recently fallen in love with the hoodie.

You’re probably thinking, “Of course you love hoodies. It’s a sweatshirt with a hood. What’s not to love?” But I’ve never been a hoodie person. I’ve always associated them with gangsters (Members of urban gangs, not mobsters with machine guns in violin cases) and, more often, the Unabomber.

Every time I saw someone in a hoodie, I’d say “they look like the Unabomber.” It didn’t matter if it was a girl or a kid or my mother. Hoodies = Unabomber.

But recently we’ve had a strange change in circumstances in my house.

You know how when two people live together, there’s one who is always cold and one who is always hot. It seems like you could choose any two people in the world at random and they would never agree on the temperature.

My mother has always been the cold one. She’s at home more than I am and would always complain about how cold the house is. To be honest, it is a cold house. We have an open concept townhouse with vaulted ceilings and it never feels warm, even in the middle of the summer.

But this year, my mother’s internal circuiting has gone nuts and now she’s hot. You can sometimes feel the heat radiating off from her when you stand beside her. I’ve started calling her The Furnace. I don’t think she appreciates the nickname.

So suddenly I’m the cold one. But since I’m also the one who pays the fuel bill, I’ve been taking advantage of her sudden hot spell and kept the thermostat programmed a few degrees lower than in the past.

That means I’m wearing more clothes.

A few years ago we went to this crazy fundraiser for a youth hockey team that sold cheap t-shirts and sweatshirts. Like $4 cheap.

The sale took place in a National Guard Amory. The entire cavernous room was set up with tables heaped four feet high with shirts, separated by style. In order to find a size and/or color you liked, you had to paw through the whole table.

And there were people everywhere. I’ve never been to a sale at Filene’s Basement, but I imagine it’s like that. People stuffing t-shirts into giant garbage bags and knocking other folks over to grab the very last double extra-large royal blue sweatshirt.

At the sale I bought two oversized hoodies, a red one and an fluorescent orange one. I can’t imagine what possessed me. At the time I never wore hoodies and I certainly never wore fluorescent orange. I guess I was caught up in the whole sweatshirt buying frenzy. Plus they were really cheap.

Cheap or not, they have just hung in my closet for two years. I don’t think I’ve worn them more than once or twice, but somehow they always survived my frequent “time to clean out the closet and get rid of anything I don’t wear” sweeps. Maybe it’s because they were such a good deal. No matter how they managed to survive, I’m glad they did now.

One day I was trying to find something warm to wear and noticed the red hoodie hanging in my closet. I tried it on, zipped it up and pulled on the hood. It was so warm!

And there’s something surprisingly comforting about wearing a hood. You feel hidden and inconspicuous. I’m not surprised the Unabomber was a fan. He probably felt invincible in his hoodie.

Of course, the opposite is probably true. People are more likely to notice a stranger in a hoodie skulking around.

But I was just hanging around home, so I didn’t care if I looked sketchy. My cats weren’t about to call the cops on me.

Since that day I’ve put a hoodie every evening when I’ve gotten home from work.

Sitting on the couch reading? Wear a hoodie. Making dinner? Wear a hoodie. Writing one thousand words? Wear a hoodie. It’s perfect for every occasion!

Now I’ve even personalized my hoodies a little to make them more comfortable.

I removed the drawstrings from the hoods. I don’t like pulling it tight around my face, although I can see the benefit to that if I were going to rob a store or if I was being chased by the police. I don’t plan to do either of those things, so I bye-bye string.

And then there’s the zipper. Remember how I said these hoodies were cheap? Well it turns out cheap hoodies have cheap zippers.

One day I put on my red hoodie, zipped it up and walked downstairs. By the time I reached the bottom of the stairs, the zipper was open at the top and the bottom, with the zipper pull holding it together in the middle. It was not pretty.

If I were less OCD I probably could have just worn it that way, or left it unzipped. But it drove me crazy that my hoodie had a zipper I couldn’t use.

So yesterday I removed the zipper all together and sewed the sweatshirt together.

This was an amazing feat for two reasons:

First, I probably invested $50 worth of effort into a $4 sweatshirt.

Second, because of a childhood trauma (which maybe I’ll explore in a future post) I do not have a good relationship with sewing machines. In fact, it’s downright combative at times. Sewing machines are one of the only mechanical devices that I’ve met that I can’t master. They outsmart me time and time again.

So for me to actually sew my sweatshirt is a true testament to how dedicated I’ve become to the hoodie.

Now, I have to admit I will never go to work in a hoodie. And I probably will never even leave the house in a hoodie. I don’t think hoodies are a fashion “do” for overweight forty-something white women.

But hanging out around home, why not? I’m warm, I’m comfortable and maybe I’ll even end up writing a manifesto of my very own.


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