Old Geezers Out to Lunch

Old Geezers Out to Lunch
The Geezers Emeritus through history: The Mathematician™, Dr. Golf™, The Professor™, and Mercurious™

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Tale of Long Underwear

Okay, so I'll admit it. I wear long underwear sometimes. My kids would undoubtedly say something like "TMI,"  but there you have it.

I live in Minneapolis. It is winter-time. It is cold. I am a geezer, so my circulation is a little less robust than when I was 40.  When you are facing a week with temperatures dipping to -8 to -16 degrees F. in the mornings, I'm not the only geezer commuter who will admit to wearing a layer of discreet long underwear under my business-casual attire as I brave the walk to and from the bus stops, as 20 mph winds cut like a knife.

This is a tale of long underwear.

Last week, realizing that we were in for a severe cold spell, and also realizing that my closet was under-stocked with the appropriate cold-weather under-layer, I stopped in at Target to pick up another pair or two of nice thin long-johns—the kind you can wear comfortably under clothing without feeling like an complete rube. Trust me, this can be completely acceptable attire when you live on the edge of the polar icecap—a Minnesota winter.

Some years ago, I came across a type of long-john that was very thin, not at all like the heavy, puffy white thermal underwear we geezers knew from our youths. The new version is pretty practical, and almost stylish in some ways. The fabric is a blend of something called polypropylene and other synthetics.

So I thought I was buying the same new-fangled long-underwear I'd come to appreciate as a genuine and valuable innovation.  That is, until yesterday morning when the morning temp was -15 degrees and I went to get dressed in the morning.

The odd item I put on was a strangely stretchy, snug-fitting garment that required me to pull it up over my legs starting at the bottom, by sort of scrunching up the material and gradually tugging it up and up until full coverage was achieved. It was a full 60 second operation. At first I thought I must have inadvertently purchased the wrong size. But no, it was marked correctly for my current girth.

No, this not a rendition of me in my long underwear.
The reality is not nearly so appealing. 
Then I looked very closely at the two garments side by side: the long underwear I've worn successfully and this new contraption.  Nearly identical on the surface.  My favorite is something called "Cold Gear Men's Full -length Bottoms."  The new one I was struggling with: "Cold Gear CORE Full length bottoms."

A brief bit of research tells me the following: this kind of "core" garment is designed to squeeze your legs rather fiercely, which supposedly has some merit when you exercise very harshly, in terms of keeping blood flow moving. It also supposedly lets you recover quicker from very stern athletic regimens. It is a available in both tops and bottoms, long sleeves and short, but is distinctly different the last generation polypropylene-blend underwear that I appreciated. Some NFL players wear this new stuff because they swear it causes them to ache less in the days immediately following a game.

But don't be fooled, geezers. This is really nothing more than pantyhose for men. There are no toes on these things, but putting them on certainly reminds me of the strange contortions observed when my wife puts on pantyhose. The fit must be exactly like she experiences, I imagine.

Having no other long underwear to wear at the moment, and it being damned cold outside, I tugged the silly things up over my ass this morning,  put on the rest of my clothes and went to work. Now, it wasn't entirely unpleasant to have this very mild squeezing of my legs and butt and naughty bits all day long, but I did feel a little like a tube of toothpaste being squeezed by a fist around the bottom. It did help cut the wind, though, and I was distinctly warmer than I would have been wearing just trousers.

But undressing that night, I became dizzy and nearly fell over when the blood rapidly flowed back into my legs after having been forced into upward migration all day.

I may have to retire my magical underwear.