Ahhh, winter in the Caribbean.
That most wonderful time of year when we don’t feel like our entire being is going to melt into a sticky, sweaty puddle (yes, even the puddles are sweaty) at the very thought of stepping outside. That time of year when we can choose a restaurant based on menu choices and NOT based on who has air-conditioning. That time when we can taunt our Northern friends with annoying social media posts like, “OMG, I think I have icicles on my nose, it’s 72°F down here you guys!”
NOTE: Such Instagram posts are not recommended if you would like to maintain any sliver of respect from friends up North who already secretly, or not so secretly, hate you for not riding out the winters with them. I recently tried to cheer up some friends in the midst of a NE deep-freeze with a post that read “I hope the pipes don’t freeze tonight – my thermostat just issued a low temp alert of 76 degrees!” Let’s just say it was an attempt at Caribbean humor that went over about as well as the bomb cyclone (Coolest weather moniker ever, by the way… move over Polar Vortex!) that was raining down on them. And by raining, I mean snowing and freezing the crap out of them – and their sense of humor.
But my fellow warm-weathered women, let’s get to the heart of the matter, shall we? Why do we really love the Caribbean wintertime?
It boils down to this: We get to wear our winter clothes. Period.
At the first indication of a northerly front about to pass over our little piece of paradise, the long sleeves and jeans come out faster than you can say, I’ll have another bowl of conch chowder please.
Because really, does 72°F require socks, jeans (the cute ones you really like but haven’t put on for about 11 months because, you know, sweat and thighs and denim… oh my), and that long sleeved shirt you really loved when you bought it in the fall in NYC but then arrived back to the sweltering October heat and promptly stowed it in that tote under your bed (otherwise known as “The Drawer of All the Really Cute Stuff I NEEDED to Buy When I Was Last Home, but I.Will.Never.Wear.Here. Ever.”)
And sure, there is a wind chill factor. In a pinch, with that wind, the “feels like” temperature might be a frigid 69°F… if you were to stand out in the wind, on the beach, for about 8 hours. But if we allow ourselves that wind chill fashion factor, is it still really entirely necessary to don that cute scarf you got at that market in Morocco along with the adorable woolen beanie with the sequined smiley face on it that you bought from the street vendor in NYC because you were so ill prepared to visit such a climate in January?
And God forbid a hint of moisture should fall from the sky during said cold front. Enter the brightly colored Patagonia jackets, replete with a layer of dust from being banished to the back of a warm, slightly musty closet. Aren’t they needed to protect us from the elements?
In a word, yes.
Because really, our seasons here in the Caribbean rank as Hot, Hotter, Really F*$&ing Hot, and then A Bit Less Hot, With An Odd Day Or Two That Could Almost, But Not Quite, Qualify As Cool. So when those elusive days show up, it’s our chance to feel, even if only for a moment, like we are in the midst of the most fashion-fun time of the year – a season change.
Gone are the board shorts and bathing suits, replaced by outerwear and underwear. Gone are the sundresses and flip flops, and in their place long sleeves and Reeboks. For a fleeting hint of a moment, we almost feel fashionable again. Granted, we blindly ignore the fact that we look like we have been visited by the Ghost of Fashion Seasons Past, and we step out in what we now consider to be our best winter finery. But hey, those thermal threads have been accruing in that tote under our bed and dammit we’re going to wear them at least once before we put them on the virtual garage sale or donate them to the Red Cross.
And then one morning, it happens. Usually within 48 hours of our descent into sub 70°F temperatures, you head out in your toasty togs and suddenly… you’re sweating. The temperature is on the rise and that shiny, unfamiliar orb in the sky, well that is just a gentle reminder that summer is coming. And if you don’t do an about face and slip into some more climatologically appropriate rags, you’ll soon be hotter than a menopausal woman in a sauna. In the Caribbean. In September.
But for one (or two) fleeting days, you believed you could wear real clothes again. And for that, it was all worthwhile.