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Dress warmly

We were on Brighton Beach on Sunday for a visit to good friends. The area has been officially branded as “Little Russia by the Sea” since the last time I set foot there. True as ever, the vast majority of people on the streets are Russian emigrants.

Natasha noted that Russian children that we saw were all properly warmly dressed in freezing air temperatures. Winter coats, wool hats, thick scarves and mittens… That was in contrast with American children that we oftentimes see around where we live, who wear what I’d charitable call inadequate clothing in cold weather, so much so that I start shivering just by looking at them. (I’m getting cold from looking at you is a common Russian saying addressed at anyone who is not dressed warm enough as the weather dictates.)

I found that cultural difference mildly amusing. People born in Russia are often stereotyped as being impervious of the cold weather (or even affectionate of it), but the truth of the matter is, we simply make sensible decisions what to wear on cold days. Which means we are not as cold as someone who wears a short leather jacket when it’s 24 degrees Fahrenheit outside, yet is perpetually impressed how Russians can tolerate cold temperatures.


  1. Janiece

    You know, the running joke at our house when the twins were smaller was “Mom’s cold. Go put on a sweater.” Now that they’re adults, if they want to freeze their butts off, it’s no skin off my nose. 🙂

  2. Nathan

    A Brooklynite (via Florida) is not a person who doesn’t feel cold. A Brooklynite (via Florida) is a person who stays inside and giggles at the people walking by outside his window.

  3. John the Scientist

    Oh, this bugs the crap out of me. Yes, technology can let you get away with crap these days, but doing boneheaded things will eventually catch up with you. If your car stalls and you’re stuck out on the highway in these 12 degree temperatures up where I am, you are going to be in a world of hurt. If there’s a fire drill (or God forbid a real fire), you are going to be freezing your buns off until the fire department arrives.

    I think part of the cultural difference is things break down in Russia a lot more often, and everyone over there has been in a situation where the heat or hot water wasn’t working. Americans think things like heat just appear by magic, because stuff here does not fail as often. Hence the stupidity.

    And damn it, dress your kids warm.

    Not only in case of emergency, but for public health. No, cold does not cause colds, but it makes you more susceptible to them. Why do you think you get a fever when you get a cold? Because your immune system works better (and a lot of viri and bacteria reproduce less quickly) at that elevated temperature. Give your kid’s immune system a boost and have them wear warm clothing, they will catch less crap or suffer from what they do catch less – and more importantly, they’ll be less likely to give MY kids crap, which they will promptly pass on to me.

    I swear, the next parent I see wearing shorts (along with their kid) in less than 50 degree weather, I’m going to plant my foot right up their…..

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