“Aren’t You Hot??”

posted in: Tips 1
Now that's a hot sweater! Image: Wikipedia.
Now that’s a hot sweater! Image: Wikipedia.

I have a question about etiquette. Is the following statement TRUE or FALSE?

It is appropriate to ask someone, after appraising their clothes,
“Oh my god, aren’t you hot in that?”

Personally, I think it’s false; that is, I feel it is not appropriate to ask someone, even if they are wearing a snowsuit in June, if they are “hot in that.” I think it would be similarly strange if I was wearing a floral-printed dress and someone said, “Why did you get a dress with flowers on it?” Not only is the question a touch on the pointless side, it’s hostile. I mean, back off, man: I like floral, cable-knit, floor-length dresses. What’s it to you?

Also, if there are lots of people around and the question is said loudly, it means everyone in earshot is guaranteed to whip around and look to see what heavy, thick, sweat-inducing garment the freak’s got on, which then forces that person to explain herself not just to the person who has asked the rather insensitive question, but everyone else in the room. Everyone else in the room is sure to be wearing a sundress or a sleeveless shirt or a slingshot or whatever.

This is all personal, of course. Whatever you take umbridge with, you’ve got baggage about that thing, guaranteed. And I’ve got baggage around the “Aren’t you hot in that??” question.

I’ve never been comfortable in shorts or sleeveless tops. It’s stupid, it’s silly, I know, I know: but I’m insecure about my freakishly pale skin and my inability to achieve Madonna-like limbs. Yoga, pushups, squats, light weight-training; my DNA is not and will never be programmed for “ripped.” I can’t get past “pancake” unless I flex in this very specific way and you can’t go around flexed like that all the time or even longer than a few seconds. So I accentuate the positive (my neckline! my waist!) and minimize the negatives by wearing pants, not miniskirts, and tops with sleeves. I might drape a jacket or sweater over my shoulders.

Which, yes, sometimes means I’m a tad warmer than you. But when you ask – and of course, dear, I know you don’t mean any harm – it’s so awkward for me. If I say no, I’d probably be lying, and that’s never good. If I say yes, then I’ll be forced to take off my sweater and we now know I don’t want to. If I tell you the truth, that “Yes, I’m hot but I have a terrible body image and this sweater is allowing me to feel more confident as I move through the world today,” you’re gonna think I’m weirder than you do already and it’s Monday, man. I can’t start that far behind the starting line so early in the week.

It’s not that this happened recently. It hasn’t. But I wore a blazer over my shoulders yesterday because my top was sleeveless. The sun was shining and my shoulders were pretty warm back there. But I promise: I’m an adult. If I’m hot, I’ll figure it out. You don’t have to manage my body temperature. I love you!



  1. […] fail in my zip-lip approach and air a grievance. Remember how I said no one should ever ask anyone: “Aren’t you hot in that??” This is like […]

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