Monday, January 16, 2006

Below 22

It's been cold in Hong Kong recently. And I'm a real tropical chick i.e. I cease to function at arctic temperatures below 22 degrees (ok, maybe 21 if you give me a leather jacket).

I've also realised that they don't heat their buildings here - so often it’s as cold inside as it is outside. What a ridiculous concept. It's bad enough that I have Eskimo status forced upon me when I'm outdoors, but is one expected to rub noses under three layers of fur indoors as well?

This gives rise to the following dilemma, most commonly encountered in the weekend: You've been out the night before. And have predictably drunk a bit too much. You sleep fitfully because of the alcohol and wake up the next morning abnormally early i.e. pre-10 a.m. It is freezing in your apartment and there is nothing except your down duvet protecting you from contracting hypothermia. You are also insanely hungry and slightly hungover. And you know if you don't have a stack of pancakes and hot drink at some point, your acidic stomach juices might just eat your insides out. You live in Central and you know the shop round the corner serves great takeaway breakfast. What do you do?

Brave the elements and forage for food in SoHo? Yes. That is a given. The more important question is: What does one wear? Since it is so cold in your apartment, you are already sleeping in thermal sweatpants and a green sweater from Aunt Ginny, a possible re-gift from last Christmas. Surely no one will notice if you wore this particular outfit out on your 15-minute trek to the corner shop. And even if they saw you, surely no one would recognize you. You'll don your best oversized sunglasses to complete the look. Just to be safe.

So far, I've managed to make a few incognito journeys thus attired. However I don’t know how long my luck will hold. One of these days, I know someone will see me (and invariably it will be my hunky colleague / ex-fling with his new model-esque love interest) and I will lose all traces of dignity.

This whole temperate climate business is also having a 'chilling effect' on my behaviour in bed. Small concessions have taken on monumental significance in my futile effort to keep warm. Like, socks on / socks off? Never before have I encountered such a tricky predicament.

I've even had to barter sexual favours like a stingy housewife. I will give you a blowjob, but only if you let me stay under the covers.

And by the way, you're sleeping in the wet spot tonight. Snookums.

Needless to say, I am still navigating the territory between keeping alive and keeping men interested. So far, I've decided I shall be warm but asexual (read: bundled up like a pumpkin) during the week and cold but alluring (read: mini skirts with knee-high boots) during the weekends.

I would breed for free with the person who invented boots though. They're possibly the only article in my wardrobe that does double-duty in terms of keeping my tootsies toasty and exuding sex appeal at the same time. It must also make a pretty picture to have me bent over a chair stark-naked with nothing but my boots on because I've had requests (and each one thinks they're being dreadfully original) to adopt this particular stance often enough.

If I am alone, nothing beats the incomparable luxury of wearing a scanty silk robe and warming my privates within the 1-foot radius of my ceramic heater in the bedroom.

In fact, it was in one of these intimate little bedroom moments, that I had my latest epiphany about relationships: Relationships are God's consolation for winter. It's cold and miserable outside? Ok fine, enough with the candles and petitions. Here's something to keep you company indoors – your very own 36.5 degree internally-heated, hermetically-sealed human being to cuddle up with. All batteries and bits included. Keep small parts away from children.

Yes, relationships are the handiest little things to keep you from freezing your ass off. I knew that there must have been some sort of functional aspect to explain their popularity. In fact, this explains why I haven’t had a relationship for the past 4 years in Singapore. There's simply been no need. That's right, I blame the weather.

It is just so much easier to be someone's fantasy girl in the tropics. Sexy slips, low-cut dresses, bikinis, garters et al are too impractical in the cold. So much more convenient to have a boyfriend for a few months. Who cares if the sex is sporadic and lackluster? At least you get to keep your flannel bunny suit on and avoid frostbite.

I like the way these Hong Kong girls do it. With their beautiful knee-high leather boots, dyed-fur overcoats and Hermes scarves, they keep their favourite winter accessories hanging off their arm i.e. pinched-looking boyfriends who in turn are entrusted the important responsibility of carrying last season's LV handbag.

Now that's class. Take it from me, the arbiter of style in thermal sweatpants.