I believe that your ability to tolerate certain climates is based overwhelmingly on where you were born and raised. This conclusion is backed by empirical evidence. I am a Belorussian Bear who has no issue with freezing temperatures, loves bundling up in sweaters and scarves, and feels positively spritely in the frosty air. The cold tightens pores and flushes cheeks. It’s like a natural face lift. Additionally, all your organs huddle together for warmth and your fat reserves work on overdrive to keep your body temperature up, so cold weather has a slimming effect.
Warm weather reverses this. In 75+ degree weather, I start to expand and alarmingly morph into Jabba the Hutt. The once tightened pores turn into face craters, cheeks go from flushed to greasy, and the once huddled organs throw themselves against opposite sides of your body to get some air. Expose me to 80+ degree weather with 80+% humidity and the sweat I produce rivals California’s annual precipitation.
This Belorussian Bear was not meant for the Southeast Asian climate. From Vietnam to the Philippines, for the past two weeks I have been in a perpetual state of clamminess. While Michael was buttoning up his long-sleeved shirt, putting on his jeans, and lacing up his sneakers, I broke a sweat just by putting on my bra. The natural conclusion to this unfortunate situation was to forsake the bra. Forget actually putting on any clothes. What went on dry turned damp in five minutes flat and I began getting dressed in front of the fan, set to the highest setting, underneath the air-conditioning unit, set to the coolest setting.
Applying makeup was another challenge. By the time I slathered on my BB cream and started on my eye makeup, beads of sweat broke out on my forehead and ran down the sides of my face, washing away the BB cream in little sweat rivers. With this unintentional but quite impressive camo effect, I was ready to hide in the jungles of Vietnam.
Despite my valiant effort to stay cool and dry, I still managed to break out in a heat rash on the first day. Michael, the man in long pants and long-sleeved shirt, was stupefied. Wasn’t I wearing a summer dress and sandals and so was fairly ventilated? Did I know that the temperature was only in the 80s and generally breezy? Did I see the locals we passed on the street who rode scooters in wool pants and leather jackets under the blistering sun without issue? Yes to all of that. But this Belorussian Bear and her invisible fur is simply not meant for this climate. Take me back to the tundra where I can hibernate in sweat-free peace.