nineveh_uk: Photo of Rondvassbu in winter (rondvassbu)
[personal profile] nineveh_uk
Many years ago, I read Tim Moore's account of cycling on Iceland, Frost on my Moustache. Other than it being gently amusing, I remember only two things from this book. The first being the dirty joke that gave him the title, the second one of the most useful pieces of advice in my adult life.

Anyone who was bought outdoor walking or other sports or exercise gear in the last few decades will know about 'layering'. Base layer - optional mid-layer - outer layer. It is the gospel upon which the well-dressed hiker's comfort is built. But almost all resources on this subject omit a really crucial piece of information about how to make the layering system work: that your base layer, i.e. your long underwear that clings mercilessly to your body, must be something that you are willing to wear, on its own in a public place with people looking at you. Because if it isn't then you can't make the layering system work.

Moore illustrated this with a vivid descripion of the cycling undergarment he had purchased, which he likened to an Edwardian fetish costume,* and the horrendous experience of trying to get out of it. I simply stood in Marks and Spencers and contemplated the black sports long underwear, and the otherwise identical white, and considered which I'd rather be wearing when I had to strip off my fleece. I bought the black.

And in short, that is why, 14 years later and thinking that maybe I am allowed a new set of sports long underwear and will go for an extra-warm set, I have once again bought the black. Admittedly the insulated downhill ski jacket I've just bought is in women's mountain purple, which I object to on principle because so much stuff is made in it, and also because it really suits me and I would like to be able to choose it, and not just have it because it is the Girls' Version, but because it is nice and also because outer layers should be colours that search and rescue can spot.**

TL:DR I blame the patriarchy for making me dislike pink. Also, I don't care how warm merino thermals are, I do not find them non-itch.

*Having years later seen a man walking up Vulcano in a cycling undergarment, I can only say that (a) Moore was right, and (b) I'm never going to forget that sight.

**Admittedly it is highly unlikely that search and rescue will need to, but you never know. Even so, my cross-country jacket is ivory, because the alternative was fuchsia pink, and I just couldn't.
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