Wearing shorts in wintertime

I wonder who decided it is acceptable to wear shorts in the winter time.

Whoever it was must have had middle school students in mind, because I certainly see lots of them who have adopted that look on an almost-daily basis. It’s especially true now that our weather is moderating, and I understand that, but it is still awfully chilly out, especially in the morning.

We all agree that it’s been an exceptionally long, frigid winter. Everyone is beyond weary of layering our clothes and adding to those layers as we bundle up to brave the bone-chilling cold whenever we must venture outside even briefly. That’s why it hurts me to see teenagers wearing their shorts with winter coats. And I saw that a lot this winter.

Still, even with the best heating system it’s hard to keep up with temperatures way below zero and wind that drops the temperature even farther. I have an idea that these teenagers so attired devote more of their attention in the classroom to staying warm than they do to what they’re supposed to be learning. Or maybe they’re thinking about how awesome they look.

I’m pretty sure that for as long as there have been families, parents have been arguing with their children about clothing that’s appropriate for the weather and the setting. That’s probably still happening, but with some of these teenagers I wonder if the parents have just given up. I also have a hunch that parents leave home on school days before their children do, so they don’t really know what they’re wearing.

School buildings today have better heating systems and tighter windows than where I went to high school. The windows in that old brick building were large and so old that images were wavy when you looked through them. They rattled with the slightest breeze and sounded like they were about to blow in when the wind came whipping out of the north, which was often. Sometimes the whole building swayed slightly in high winds. Students had to go outside to walk between two buildings when classes changed, even in the winter. And that was when girls could wear pants to school only on the days when the temperature was below zero. No jeans allowed.

Come to think of it, maybe wearing your shorts with your winter coat isn’t such an outlandish concept after all.