Ten Sure Signs that Winter’s Here

It’s November, guys. I know this isn’t a news flash to most people considering it’s the 13th, but I’m still kind of boggled. When I lived on the West coast, November was simply another wet month, indistinguishable from any of the others. But now that I live out east I have come to the frigid conclusion that elsewhere in the world, winter is a Thing That Happens.

I love fall aka autumn aka Festive Fucking Gourd Season, so I’m pretty bummed to see it go. I know I can start celebrating fall’s arrival once the leaves change their hues, but how can you tell it’s over? Is it winter or is just a really blustery day? Is that guy wearing a Santa beard or did you just miss a memo on the current facial hair trend? I used to differentiate between the seasons by looking at my surroundings, but I’m pretty sure my neighbours have twinkle lights up year round and the retailers put out their Christmas decorations in August.

I am not applauding.

Sadly I have a few tells that make me concede defeat to mother nature’s wintry grasp and resign myself to spending a paycheque on a pair of Sorrels.

1. Three words: Frozen. Nose. Hairs.
2. Losing the ability to differentiate between 5am and 5pm.
3. Your initial observation that your city is overrun with smoking hot bois bundled in down jackets is sadly corrected once you hit on a disturbing number of underage boys.
4. Hibernation patterns + UHauling means your girlfriend is the only person you’ve seen in weeks.
5. The Alternative Lifestyle Haircut du jour is no longer the Undercut, Fro or Bieber, but the Toque.
6. All of your neighbours have traded in their fixies for skis.
7. The farmers’ market sole offering is kale, kale and more kale (which I’m okay with).
8. Everyone is completely tapped out of pumpkin beer.
9. The constant need for hand hydration unless you enjoy the sensation of fingerbanging with 50 grit sandpaper.
10. Five minutes of finger defrosting foreplay becomes a standard party of sexy times, along with the parka striptease.

What makes you admit defeat and embrace Jack Frost? I plan on drinking a ridiculous amount of mulled wine, hot toddies and blueberry tea and/or hibernate until A-Camp.

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Hailing from Vancouver, Kristen's still trying to figure out how to survive Montreal's Real Legitimate Canadian Winter. So far she's discovered that warm socks, giant toques and Tabby kittens all play a role in her survival. Her ultimate goal is to rank higher than KStew in the "Kristen + Autostraddle" Google Search competition.

Kristen has written 138 articles for us.


  1. Yes, this list is perfect. I hate winter too. And it is definitely winter here in Denver :(

    Best money ever spent: Mattress Warmer (it is like an electric blanket in the form of a fitted sheet).

    That only helps with the indoor chill. Nothing seems to help with the frozen nose hairs or the differentiation of possible dates from underage boys.

    • a) oh, man. i need a mattress warmer. that 18 degree morning i woke up to yesterday in denver was unpleasant in my lonely little bed.
      b) wool socks. smartwool is and must be part of every. single. outfit.
      c) honestly? i’m kind of looking forward to the super-cold days of colorado winters that necessitate wearing either underarmour, leggings, or tights underneath every pair of pants.

      • “i’m kind of looking forward to the super-cold days of colorado winters that necessitate wearing either underarmour, leggings, or tights underneath every pair of pants.”

        WHAT? You are craaaaazy.

        But yes to mattress warmers and smartwool and snuggly kitties. My cat just avoided me this entire summer because it was too warm and now she’s a super cuddler because it’s chilly and the heat in my apartment sucks.

          • I am firmly in your camp when it comes to near nudity. My motto is definitely short shorts or bust.

            I feel like I should probably follow your lead when it comes to electric mattress warmers, but I think my eight-year old self is still getting over her fear of blanket-induced electrical fires. I think my mom told me too many tales of terror.

          • they are much much safer now. They have made many advancements in electrical devices you know. Seriously, you should get one.

            I actually own a few vintage muumuu’s that I cut off into mini dresses. They are the BEST. Fabric is only touching your shoulders, that’s it. It’s the closest I can get to nudity in public without being arrested.

          • and god, that makes me sound so pathetic and i’m actually not even all that single anymore, but. i’m morally opposed to snuggies and leggings + pants + layers of warm clothes is the other best way to get snuggly and cozy.

      • 18 is nothing!! Thats like…What? -7 celsius? Last week it was already -20 celsius (-4 farenheit)with a foot of snow in Calgary AB.

        If only there was somewhere in Canada that was warm during the winter…

  2. Winter last for about a week in Texas, but when it does come I usually stay inside protesting against it by wearing tank tops and booty shorts (because that will make it go away yeah?) and staring out the window like a confused puppy. My mind cannot comprehend cold air.

  3. Since I’m in the NW I try to ignore winter and just wear a jacket and a t-shirt for as long as possible. Some years I pretty much make it to spring with no major hangups other years not so good.
    The other way is that my muscle cars don’t really like ice/snow/rain/slush or anything other than clear dry summer roads, but I drive them year round and once I start to slide or spin I know the seasons have changed :(

  4. “The constant need for hand hydration unless you enjoy the sensation of fingerbanging with 50 grit sandpaper.”

    UGH. Yes. My hands get so dry that normal lotion makes them upset and bust out in hives which is real sexy let me tell you, so I have to use a combination of vaseline on parts and hardcore hand cream on other parts EVERY NIGHT. Ughhhhhh. Fucking dry winter.

  5. “9. The constant need for hand hydration unless you enjoy the sensation of fingerbanging with 50 grit sandpaper.”

    That is the funniest/truest/saddest thing I have read all day. I live in western MA (NoHo, specifically) and it is clearly winter here when my down vest is not an option, and I have to let my car heat up before I can drive it.

  6. I am eagerly awaiting winter, I need an excuse to break out the glögg early, but nope, the weather seems to be thoroughly stuck in Mild Autumn. I even took precautions and brought out the winter coat and boots after we got early snow last week! And then November decides to disappoint. I mean, my winter clothes are totally awesome and all, but somehow lose their appeal when I feel like I’m melting after even the lightest exercise.

  7. I live in the northeast, so I know it’s winter when it gets to be fucking cold outside. Some years this happens earlier than others. Also when my friends start posting photos of Starbucks red cups on every social media platform. (I personally don’t really like Starbucks coffee, it always tastes burnt to me, but some people get super excited over those red cups.)

  8. Winter is so brief here in Georgia so we don’t really get to enjoy it. It’s actually in the upper/mid 60s right now so I’m still rockin’ shorts and Chacos to go with my oh-so-fashionable knee-brace.

    The closest we get to winter is random cold snaps. In fact, last year was the first year we’d had snow on Christmas since the Civil War.

  9. I’ve been adding rum or bourbon to all of my drinks. ALL OF THEM. This is how I cope with the fact that it’s basically pitch-black outside and it’s freaking 4:15 pm. Unacceptable. On the plus side, I’m buying all kinds of cute, brightly-colored hats. So. There’s that. *slurps rum-cider drearily*

  10. 2. Losing the ability to differentiate between 5am and 5pm.

    Oh my goodness, this JUST happened on Friday. I took a nap at 2 PM and when I woke up at 5, it was so dark that I wasn’t sure which 5:00 it was (thankfully, it was 5 PM).

  11. Having just moved back to the west coast, I’m so happy I don’t have to deal with the frozen temperatures and snow anymore. But, I gotta say, I’m starting to miss that thing where you occasionally see the sun. Vancouver is starting to seem mighty gloomy.
    Anyways, toques for life!

  12. So I am currently sitting on my back porch in my boxers enjoying another beautiful night in Florida. Looking forward to a high of 85 tomorrow but this article make me miss the Colorado winters of my childhood…just a little bit.

  13. Speaking as a somewhat butch lesbian, I am glad for the chance to bust out my charming sweaters and my dashing peacoat and my boots and be mistaken for an underage boy. Winterwear is my favorite!

    Though London has not been that cold, I’d have to say, and this is coming from a Californian import who usually thinks winter indicates a time to wear closed toed shoes and a light jacket.

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