South Meets North, No. 678,932

Okay, so it was 14 degrees here this morning and the snow that was all melting yesterday had frozen and driving (and walking) was very treacherous.

I bundled Jane and myself up and I took her to school. I was actually running a little late because the streets were scaring me. But I dropped her off just fine and I'm driving down the street by the school and I see this woman slip in her driveway and fall down--hard. I swerve over and roll down my window.

"Oh, my gosh! Are you okay??"

"Oh, that hurts so bad. So. Bad," she says but she's getting up, nothing seems broken... and just about then I notice that she's only wearing her bra and some sweat pants.

My brain sort of freezes. I think, randomly, "Is she some homeless woman?" (As if it would make sense that some HOMELESS woman would be running around on her bra trying to mail a letter when it's 14 degrees out with the wind chill. Right.)

She puts the letter in her mailbox. She says, "I'm sorry I'm just in my bra but it's MY house..."

"Oh, right, of course! Sure! Uh huh!" I say, in my Southern there's-nothing-odd-about-that-at-all way.

And then I drove on, thinking, "Huh."

I always say that if I was thin and in shape, I'd just walk around naked all day but you know what? Maybe not when it's 14 degrees out, and maybe not on a busy street during the morning drop off time at the elementary school...

But you know, she wasn't even all that embarrassed. And she didn't have anything to be embarrassed ABOUT, really, because her bra was just like wearing a bikini top or whatever but...

It was just sort of a surreal moment.

So, then I e-mailed my friend Tiffany, who lives in Chicago, and her response was “So I'm thinking about this, and finding that I don't really know how to react, because the only part of this that surprises me is that it's 14 degrees. Other than that, it seems sort of a "Well, I wouldn't do it, but whatever" kind of thing. As I search my mind, I find that it's not that I see a lot of this kind of thing--certainly not enough that I'd consider it "normal"--so I can't pin down why I don't think it's odd. I think we just don't have any DECORUM in the north. There's definitely a whole "well, it covers everything a bathing suit would, so who cares?" kind of mentality among a lot of people.”

So, I'm wondering, is this another culture shock kind of thing that resulted when I moved from the South to the North?

If you, wherever you live, ran into a woman wearing nothing but her bra in 14 degree weather, would you think, "Dude, it's freaking cold out. Put some clothes on!"? Or would you think, "There is a woman in FOUNDATION WEAR out in public! Oh, my gosh, she's wearing a BRA. Out in PUBLIC. On a BUSY STREET. She must be drunk! Because who would do that? And, especially when it's so COLD?"?

Would you be more surprised that she was undressed in that kind of cold, or would you be more surprised that she was undressed and the cold just added another surreal layer to the situation?

I did one more check to see if the whole experience was weird because I'm from the south or if it was empirically weird: I asked my new friend Anna. "Well, my first thought really was about how cold she must have been," she said. "But that's fairly unusual up here, too. Unless you're in the Village where it's abnormal to see someone WITH a shirt." She thought for a moment.

"You don't ever just have normal days up here, do you?"

Comments

Karen ~ said…
Just the cold. Honestly, I am so fashion-unconscious that I would probably assume it was a bikini top and I just THOUGHT it was a bra. And the cold part wouldn't have even entered my mind if she hadn't fallen down, but bare skin on icy driveway is not nice. (I'm in MN where it hasn't been above zero for a week or so, until today, and I take my dogs out in just my PJs)
kim said…
Um, I grew up in the Northeast, and that is just odd! First, the hypothroidism in me just shuddered upon hearing that she was outside in the altogether. But it also shocked me in the same way it did when my grandmother would walk around the house in her bra and panties without her housecoat. Where do you put your eyes? Holy cold nipples!
otter said…
The temperature would be the only thing that would surprise me, but then, I have been known to walk my dog in my PJs (flannel though, it IS winter!)
Ei said…
Well I suppose I'm more "midwest" than I'd like to think, because I'd be a wee bit shocked. Not "lecture her on ethics" shocked, but I'd be shocked. The cold I wouldn't think of at all. I ran to put the trash out wearing flip flops last night...6 degrees here. I mean, no, I wouldn't go to work like that, but, a few steps out of the door? Not such a big deal
Candi said…
Well, back home in New Braunfels, home of Schlitterbahn and river tubing, it was quite common to people everywhere (post office, grocery store, walking down the road, really anywhere) in various states of undress. I even saw a woman walking down the main street only covered by a inner tube! We all got quite used to it after a while.

But Dude! It is too cold for that up here in the frozen tundra. That woman needs to put some clothes on so she doesn't catch a cold!
Anonymous said…
If it were a swimsuit top, I would have said (to myself) "Brrrrrr, just looking at her makes me cold". If it was a bra, I would have said, "What the hell?" (in a very judgmental tone.) It's weird, no doubt about it. MIME (from a freaking cold Great Lake State)
Victoria said…
I'm from Southern California, where we think the cold's going to kill us all dead when it dips below 60 degrees. I'd think she needed a keeper to be out in that kind of weather in any amount of clothes! Nobody wears much out here in the summer, but let it get below 70, and the UGGS and wool scarves come out in force.
ccr in MA said…
I think mostly I would think she was crazy because of the temperature, though I can't imagine going out of the house in a bra even in summer myself. Different strokes, so okay. But since, in similar weather, I am wearing two long-sleeve layers, long johns under my trousers, a warm coat, a scarf, gloves, and usually a hat, I think seeing a woman outside in just a bra and sweats would really, really weird me out. Like, she must be ON something, right?
Marion Gropen said…
I'm with you -- weirded out.

But then again, have you seen the guy in Times Square who plays the guitar in his briefs and a cowboy hat and boots? In all weather?

In the end, I guess I think people are nuts. And here in NY, you get LOTS of people are jammed up next to each other, so it's like one of those cans of mixed nuts. Or something.
Ream O Rama said…
Shoot, you know if we ran across her we'd think someone's Aunt EulaMae musta been at the bottle and let Cousin CoraSue outta her bedroom again. Bless her heart.
Miriam said…
Maybe it was Candid Camera.
Tenna Draper said…
Well, Barb, I have to tell you that considering the cold, no, I probably wouldn't go outside for any reason wearing a bra, however I have been known to go to the mailbox in regular clothing in 20 below weather with no wind chill...and sometimes, I will go out to the garage in stocking feet to let the dog out. In the summer, I might put my robe on and go out at 5am to let the dog out, but never half nekkid! I think there was one time, when my dog had been sick, and she really wanted out, and it was dark, and THEN I braved the neighbor's view, but I only stuck my head out the door even then.

But a bra?????? No, I can't see myself doing that.

Ever.
MadMad said…
No, I'm STILL thinking it's weird, cold or no. I even think it's weird when people run in those running bra things. I suppose I AM a bit of a prude. But STILL. No.

OMG. I just happened to see Kim's... and now I need to go wash out my brain with listerine or something.
Mrs.Q said…
Definitely the cold.

But some of the get-ups I see people in every day here...well, not much shocks me anymore.
Barb said…
Now, see, I have taken the trash out without a coat. I have let the dog out in my pajamas. Once or twice, I have thrown a coat on OVER my pajamas and taken the trash down to the curb. MadMad, I have even run in a jogging bra--in Texas when it's 105, you do what you have to do. (I was young and thin then, though.)

But I would never walk out of my front door ON PURPOSE in just my bra, I don't care WHAT the temperature. If my house was on FIRE, I would still grab a shirt.

I don't know if that's a southern thing or not, though. We don't even like to show our bra STRAPS, despite the current fashion. I won't even wear a dark bra under a white shirt.

I don't know if I'm a prude or just from the south.
Heidi Malott said…
Wow! I am a bit farther north than TX, here in Indiana and I think that I would have freaked out. Most people around here would have hit the panic button and would consider calling the police to see if this woman was not intoxicated or mentally unstable. I honestly think this would happen if it were summertime also. Just reading your post makes me ponder as you did. I would have died before I would ever walk down my driveway in a bra and we dont live on a busy street either. Very funny post!!!
Becca said…
that is so Seinfeld!!!
LaDonna said…
LOL at your friend Anna's comment about you not having normal days!

As far as the woman in the bra...hmmm. Was it a decorative bra? Like the kind that has a pattern or zebra stripes or something like that, or was it just your basic Playtex or Hanes type? This time of year in North Dakota, 14 degrees is a bit of a heat wave (seriously, it was -6 when my kids left for the bus this morning) so it doesn't surprise me that the shorts and tank tops come out for short runs to the mailbox. But just a bra? The bra part is what seems weird to me.

But if I equate 14 degrees to 0 or minus 10 here...that's just doubly weird.
knittergran said…
Well, I think the WHOLE thing is just weird. And to explain it by saying that it is HER house? Huh?
Tiny Tyrant said…
One I'm loving your friend Anna (you too sweetie).

Two just that it's freaking cold to be wandering around in just a bra up top.
Anonymous said…
Well, I grew up on Long Island and I definitely would be shocked to see a woman walking around outside in a bra, never mind the temperature! Sure, it's no worse than a bikini, but there's just something different about it. kwim?

Bethany
linda said…
OK, so I totally thought the story was going to go the path of the woman being truly off her rocker and how you helped her that I was completely shocked that no, she had purposely strolled out to the curb in her bra. Bra is so different from jammies. I thrown a coat on over my jammies and driven the kids to school before (all the while praying that this NOT be the day I get a flat tire or something) and I go to the mailbox all the time in sweats and a baggy sweatshirt (sometimes with NO bra under it!) but just a bra???? Um, not.
Jennifer said…
Well...I walk around in just my pajamas ALL the time. I mean, it's 2:00 here and I've been out with the dog twice and I am still in my pajamas. I never would go outside in just my bra though. NEVER!