For once, the Danish weather is on cue. On the first of December, perfect little snowflakes start falling from the sky. And when we wake up the next day, we open our curtains to a winter wonderland of dimensions. When I get past the stress of my 3 year-old expecting me to build him a snowman on horseback it is absolutely lovely. The snow being on time for Christmas. Brightening the otherwise opaque, Danish winter season with some rare light. Lending a romantic air to my city with roof tops powdered white and trees heavy with thick, soft snow. OK, I’ll stop it here. I’m clearly not a poet but you get the gist.
During the first week it is fine: the sidewalks are cleared and roads are accessible. Even the bicycle lanes are fairly OK. But then last Sunday, as I am getting ready to meet my mum for brunch in another part of town, a blizzard decides to accompany me on my bike ride. Apparently Blizzard and his mates Snow, Sleet and Hail get so fond of Copenhagen that they decide to make a week of it. So since Monday, my bike rides to and from work have been little adventures, sometimes bordering on extreme sport.
At times my heart is beating at near tripple speed from the effort of biking in the wind and even though I am unusually impatient to get to work so I can get inside and out of the cold, I am also happy to stop every now and again to catch my breath. Waiting at the red light I spot a woman (a man?) wearing an ugly, knitted hat. I lift my eyebrows to myself, rather bitchily thinking: “how attractive” for exactly the one second it takes me to realise that I am passing judgment on a fellow cyclist whilst sporting Wellies, thick ski trousers, a big jacket, a huge scarf, no doubt a red nose and, the cherry on top, a bicycle helmet. Very attractive. The ski gear doesn’t make me look one bit like this
but rather like this
Moments later, an attractive man makes eye contact and smiles at me. “Oh,” you think, “so it couldn’t have been that bad. That Christina is always exaggerating.” Well, had I been the naïve and optimistic type, I might have agreed. But I’m not. Because I know better (taps finger on side of nose). What he was really thinking was:” Oh bless. Look at that poor, fat woman in her ski suit. How unbecoming! It really does her no favours. Her thighs look absolutely massive! How does she get through the day? I’ll flash her a little smile to make her feel a bit better.” Well, thanks for that random act of kindness, handsome stranger. Didn’t work.
What did cheer me up a tiny bit, however, in the manner of finding comfort in someone else’s misery, was seeing another man wearing one of my pet peeves, favoured by Danish men at wintertime: The ear-warming headband. I wanted to illustrate this with a picture of a (no doubt Danish) man wearing one but although I have searched the internet for longer than I care to admit, I have been unable to find photographic evidence of this crime against fashion and common decency. No wonder. No self respecting male would allow anyone to take his picture wearing that. So here is a defenceless mannequin’s head:
Why this need to keep the top of your head free? Let’s face it, most of you don’t really have that great hair anyway. And besides, it still gets messed up by this abhorrence. Sorry, what’s that? Your head gets too warm and that is making you uncomfortable? Oh! Do not get me started on what makes me uncomfortable!
Speaking of uncomfortable: During the blizzard Sunday, I was biking next to a bus. It opened its doors at a bus stop to let out a woman, who was wearing thin pantihose and bright red patent leather stilettos. In a blizzard. She was on the phone to her friend and chatted away quite happily as she was slipping and sliding along. It must have been a walk of shame type situation as Danish women are generally dressed according to the weather conditions. Which is to say that we look like Moomins for a disproportionately large part of the year. I only thought it was the Japanese who wore stilettos at all the wrong times. I once saw a woman in Southern Japan wearing stilettos as she was walking up the side of a volcano to get to the crater. Had we had any volcanoes in Denmark, a woman like that would be ostracised by a bunch of females in weatherproof suits, headbands (yes, the women wear them too!), Haglöfs backpacks and very sensible shoes. And later perhaps beaten to a pulp with a walking stick and fed to the volcano gods.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against sensible attire. I believe the earlier description of my winter wonderland wardrobe goes to show that. But as soon as the snow melts and the temperature goes above -5 Celsius, could we all agree to throw the ski trousers and the headband deep into the back of the closet and never ever mention again how we selfishly sacrificed style for comfort because of a bit of snow? Coco Chanel is turning in her grave, I’m certain. Let’s not upset her any further.