The women in my life are cold, so very cold.
“Okay,” says my wife, peeling off her wool inter coat by the front door, “I’m officially tired of winter.”
I’ve heard this lament a lot lately, probably because I work in an office full of women. The gals in my office are all cold, so very cold this winter.
“Feel my hands,” says Kira, inviting me to take them. “They’re like ice, huh?”
Not quite ice, perhaps. More like Ballpark franks from the fridge. Unfortunately I say this out loud.
The other females agree — about having cold hands, that is. They collectively give me a very cold look.
“Are you saying my hands look like hotdogs?” Kira asks incredulously.
“No, no, no,” I quickly respond. “I’m just saying they feel like hotdogs from the fridge. Every woman I know has cold hands and feet in January. It’s just nature’s way. Cold hands, warm heart. You know the old saying.”
Kira is, matter of fact, actually wearing a wool sweater this day bearing an adorable huge red heart smack in the middle. She clearly has a warm heart and makes me think of the face of an ancient coin, the Greek goddess Diana — youthful, gorgeous, undoubtedly deadly with a bow. But her hands really are as cold as Ballparks from the fridge.
“Why would say Kira’s hands look like hotdogs from the fridge?” Lauren asks pointedly from her desk a few feet away. She hands me her hands. “So what do mine feel like?”
Like an idiot, I take them.
“Nice,” I say. “Very nice.”
Lauren’s tiny hands are like ballerina hands, diminutive and white as Italian porcelain, flawless as near as I can tell — though, again, it must be said, cold as franks from the fridge.
“So are my hands like hotdogs from the refrigerator?” she demands, nostrils flaring adorably like a young Vivian Leigh about the time she was making dresses from the velvet drapes of impoverished Tara, vowing to never be poor-uh again! Lauren is a feisty beauty, though her lovely little hands, it must be said, are equally cold as You Know Whats from the fridge.
“I think they look like smoker hands,” she says critically examining them. “My mother has smoker hands. They’re all wrinkly.”
I am ill-equipped to judge this sort of thing because A) I’ve never held Lauren’s mother’s hands, and B) I don’t smoke.
“You have nice hands,” Lauren says. “They’re so warm.”
This is true. I have very warm hands. Then again I’m a guy. My hands are always warm — also old and wrinkly. Old-man hands, I’ve been told. A girl with very cold hands — not to mention a similar heart — told me this on our first date sometime during the winter of 1970.
At this very moment in the great cold hands debate, the female boss of our little operation saunters in dressed as if she plans to spend the day directing traffic at a street corner in Nome, Alaska. Andie is wearing two wool sweaters, a down vest, neck scarf and knitted stocking cap pulled low over her ears.
“Warm enough in there?” I josh with her.
She shoots me a look that says she’s in no joshing mood owing to the arctic cold outside. To say she looks frosty doesn’t quite cover it. She looks like Old Man Winter’s angry wife who’s thinking of filing for divorce for irreconcilable differences and relocating to Sanibel Island.
“Jim says our hands are like hotdogs from the refrigerator,” Lauren can’t wait to blurt out. Scarlett O’Hara lives.
“No, no, no,” I jump quickly to my own defense. “I merely said they feel like Ballpark franks from the refrigerator. It’s a simple expression, a simile. That’s not the same thing.”
“In our mind it is,” deadpans Kira, looking around for her bow.
I glance at Serena, our newest office mate, for help. We share a passion for England, where she hails from. “Don’t look at me,” she says with perfect Downton Abbey diction. “I’m English. We’re naturally cold.”
“What a rude thing to say,” chides Andie, peeling off her gloves and giving a final shiver. “Women are very sensitive about their hands.”
“All I meant was that every woman I know has cold hands and feet in winter. It’s just the way its been since prehistoric man stood upright, discovered fire and began living in caves for the winter. It wasn’t long before prehistoric woman began complaining about having cold hands and feet. That’s all I’m trying to say.”
Big mistake. This brief lecture on human evolution falls on, as it were, frozen ears.
“Are you calling us cave women?” Both of Lauren’s adorable nostrils are flaring now.
“Of course not. I’m just saying…”
“Have you guys seen Jim’s feet?” Andie asks her charges with a wintry little smile. “Talk about old and wrinkly! My husband’s are even worse.”
The cold-handed (and apparently hearted) females in my office all laugh out loud at this revelation.
“It’s sad but true,” I allow, wondering how I got into this quandary and how I might safely get out. “Both my hands and feet are very wrinkly. Would you like to see them — or even touch them?”
“NOOOOOO!” they let me know with a collective howl worthy of the first cave woman whose knuckle-dragging husband unexpectedly brought home a buddy from the wooly mammoth hunt for the last of the New Year Teradactyl stew.
“But at least they are warm,” I am forced to shout out in defense of my warm hands and feet and winter manhood.
“It’s not fair,” Kira sighs like a Greek goddess tricked by the Fates, hugging her heart-sweatered self, “why men have warm hands and we don’t in winter.”
“Well look on the bright side,” I try one last foolish ploy to cheer (if not warm) her up. “Spring is only eight weeks away and the cold can’t last forever. Besides, I just read in Time Magazine that women are finally taking over the world. Studies have shown that women, in fact, are superior to men in every category of modern life except how to get through a crowded check-out line as quickly as possible.”
“What are you suggesting?” demands Lauren who is, in fact, turning even more Scarlett.
“Women always pause to make exact change. Men never do. That holds up the line and drives us crazy,” I merely point out as I and my wrinkled feet duck into my office.
That evening when my wife got home I helped her out of her winter coat and had a big fire waiting with a glass of red wine.
“This was just what I needed,” she said with a sigh, warming up. “How was your day?” she wondered, offering her cold hands for me to warm up with my warm ones. “Anything exciting happen?”
“Not much,” I replied. “It was so cold in our office today none of the women would even speak to me.”