By Staff Writer Sawyer Pollitt.
Recently here at UMass Dartmouth temperatures dropped into the negatives.
Many of us were bundled up in big coats, scarves, and hats. Alongside those of us who are clad in the winter standards are the brave souls who battle the howling Dartmouth winds in a simple pair of shorts.
They can be seen everywhere, boldly going where few dare to go.
Walking from the Claire T. Carney library all the way to their apartments in Woodlands or even their homes in the Dells.
Sitting in a freezing cold class in the Science and Engineering Building, or even making the trek from their last class of the day in the Liberal Arts Building down to Target to buy groceries.
These are not isolated cases, nor are they only localized within the confines of the UMass Dartmouth campus.
People who opt to don cargo shorts as opposed to a thick pair of jeans exist in the world. Many make fun of them, call them crazy, or think they’re just unequipped to deal with harsh New England weather.
There is however, another explanation that few care to entertain: that people who wear shorts in the winter are fundamentally stronger than any of us pant wearing people.
These innovative men and women, with no hint of irony or sarcasm, should be respected for their endurance. While we all need to bundle up tight just to make a simple 5 minute walk, they are able to endure what could drive anyone else insane.
People who wear shorts in the winter may also be from a climate far colder than what we know here in New England.
Perhaps they are used to temperatures in the range of -40 out in the American Midwest. We all know that temperature is relative and subjective, and perhaps they laugh at our complaints of “Its cold out” or “I can’t feel my face.”
Most likely though, there are two simple reasons why one may prefer shorts over pants in the winter. Two reasons that are equally upsetting in two very different ways.
First, one may wear shorts in a show of bravado. As a way of saying: “Look out world, I can handle the cold” when in fact they are suffering through it, much like the people who boast about their ability to eat hot peppers. They don’t enjoy the pepper, they eat the pepper to prove their strength to onlookers. The same could be said for short wearers. They could have done it once in high school, became the shorts kid, and now are in too deep to back out.
On the other, much more depressing, hand there are people who may genuinely only have shorts to wear in the winter. They could be unable to afford the seasonal clothing that we all take for granted. In a college lifestyle that is fraught with expenses and bills, someone may prioritize food or shelter over a new pair of pants.
At a passing glance both of these cases could be indistinguishable. Because of this, it is important to remember that we have no idea what someone could be going through that could lead them to wear shorts in the winter. As fun as it can be to postulate as to why someone is voluntarily giving themselves frost bite, we should all be mindful as a campus community that some people may have no other choice than to trudge through the elements in less than optimal outerwear.
As an important note, there is nothing wrong with wearing shorts in the winter. What one wears is a choice that they alone are allowed to make.
However, I simply want to know why. There is a gnawing curiosity in my brain that won’t let up. Please, if anyone reading this wears shorts in the dead of winter, write into the torch and let me, let us know. Stay warm.