Catalog season. I love it. I guess I should feel guilty about all the trees that are being sacrificed so that L.L. Bean and everybody can inundate us with their holiday selections. But I have to admit that I love to sit down with a cup of coffee and leaf through the offerings and pretend that I have enough money to order a bunch of stuff for myself.

However, now that I am over sixty, I am also sad about sweaters. I love sweaters. But ever since menopause, the thought of actually wearing one makes me nervous. I may not be alone in this: I am always and forevermore HOT. I get hot vacuuming. Going up and down stairs makes me sweat. It isn’t lack of fitness, because I do my share of cardio. No—it is my inner thermostat. Somehow it got turned up, and nothing I do seems to lower it. Heck, I get hot just sitting in the living room reading a book!

I have fans in every room. And if I am someplace where there isn’t a fan handy, I panic. I have used my hand, my wallet, playbills, and grocery lists as fans. If you see me pulling my shirt in and out like a bellows, you aren’t the first to witness this. At parties, I am the only person holding her iced drink against her forehead. So far, I have resisted actually pouring my drink down my blouse, but the thought has occurred to me.

So when I see one  of those young models wearing a cashmere dress in a catalog, I start to sweat. I love all the mufflers that women now wear indoors, but if I were to try this, I would expire from heat exhaustion within minutes. Velour and velvet? You must be kidding. Irish wool sweaters? Hah!

When I go shopping, I look for tags that say things like “wicking,” “breathes with you,” or “one hundred per cent cotton.” I never look at blazers. Layering is a joke to me. Socks? I have about three pairs in my purse right now—from when I had to take them off when I was out and about and started boiling. I ride with the windows cracked all winter.

But I get a little nostalgic for the days when I wore those gorgeous sweaters. And tights. When I could go out to dinner draped in a beautiful pashmina and leave it on all during the meal. I remember feeling chilly and putting on a coat, for God’s sake! Those were the days, all right.

I am optimistic, though. I still have one drawer full of sweaters.  I keep hoping that maybe someday I will get cold.


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