Your Man's Obsession with Winter -- Explained

Why do guys love winter so much? Aaron Traister explains why guys get a high when the mercury goes low. REDBOOK.

It's that time of year again: Outside it's bitterly cold, black-icy, and dark, so very dark, at 4:30 p.m. Right about now, Seasonal Affective Disorder should be kicking in, but I couldn't be happier. I love me some winter, and I bet your guy does too. Meanwhile, women wonder what it is about this frozen hellscape that inspires pure joy in their men. How can guys smile in weather that, with prolonged exposure, could potentially cause you to lose a toe? Winter is the Season of Man, when we are forced to reckon with our most primal adversary, Mother Nature. It's a time of intermittent exercise, carbo-loading, and infrequent grooming--and this is a glorious thing. Let me explain why.

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We're not sweating all the time.
I am convinced that dudes' internal body temperature runs about 10 degrees warmer than women's. In the summer, I'm fine in nothing but a pair of running shorts, but at a certain point I can't take anything else off, and I'm still sweaty. This is the male condition for a good six months out of the year: overheated and uncomfortable. Winter is a relief because you can remove a layer of clothing and not end up naked. The clothes for guys in the winter are also manly: Boots make you look tall, bomber jackets make you feel like Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront, and knit beanies hide the fact that you are in that awkward stage of balding between thinning hair and cool cueball, like Patrick Stewart (just fall out already, dammit). Everything makes you look well-proportioned, meaning I always appear more in shape even when I haven't worked out in weeks.

Fire!
Nothing makes a man happier than building a fire for his family. Armed only with incendiary devices like lighters and matches, newspaper, and dried wood, you have taken your loved ones from cold to warm; you have made something that provides comfort to them as they update Facebook and drink their hot chocolate and text their friends. What a primal sense of accomplishment we get from fire-building! It is our last real connection to our cavemen ancestors, who, little-known fact, also occasionally used those starter logs.

We are proud to help our fellow men.
I shovel out all the elderly neighbors on my block, and there are guys down the street who take care of the folks at their end. Every able-bodied dude has his territory to look after. There was a point a few snowy winters ago when I was shoveling out five houses, including my own. I would go out first thing in the morning and wouldn't trudge back until noon, chilled to the bone and soaking wet. I enjoy it. There are so few opportunities that the modern world provides for men to be useful to their neighbors, situations in which a strong back and patience and hard work can be measured in tangible results. I could offer to mow their lawns in the summer, but since I've never heard of anyone being trapped in their home by the tall grasses of August, I pass on that.

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Our grooming habits go on hiatus.
Women may feel like they need to do year-round beautifying, but winter is a great time for guys to take a break from all that junk. The summer involves so much more fancy body upkeep: trimming, shaving, sit-ups, to name a few. In winter, anything goes. Beard? It's like a mitten for your face. Haven't exercised in a month? Hell, I haven't even been outside in month. Unkempt hair? I barely have any. Pallid, sun-starved skin? I've looked like a zombie since November, thanks for noticing! From the middle of fall to the end of March, most people only see the top half of my face poking out from my beard. What some may describe as "doughy, heavy, and hairy," I describe as "well insulated."

The colder the weather, the better your sex life.
Winter sex is awesome, because couples have more incentive to keep their bodies close together in an effort to cut down on the energy bill. I can't tell you how many times I've used the line, "If we don't do it tonight, my nose might turn blue and fall off." My wife, Karel, is also far more inclined to curl up next to me in the winter and use me as some sort of full-body heating device, which sometimes leads her to initiate sex. Never a bad thing.

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Beer for breakfast is acceptable.
For a guy, eating in the colder months is like being a king in olden times. November rolls around and I take up the dietary habits of Henry VIII: It's all about stews, hearty beef broths, roasted meats, and mashed potatoes with gravy. There is a character in the HBO show Game of Thrones who drinks ale for breakfast every morning--on days when I don't take the kids to school, I'm totally doing that.

The holidays mean never having to buy your own boxers.
I've entered that phase of male adulthood in which people just give me socks and toiletries, like deodorant, a toothbrush, shaving cream, and maybe a bottle of Macallan (although I'm not sure most people count Scotch as a toiletry). I think this is actually brilliant. Those presents mean I never have to hit up the men's department at Target, and that's a gift that keeps on giving. And truth be told, all I really need is Scotch.

REDBOOK columnist Aaron Traister lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two kids. Read his blog at redbookmag.com/whysguy.

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