I am a Very Cold Person. Not emotionally, you understand, (in fact I’m prone to outbursts more befitting one from a Mediterranean upbringing than the stiff-upper-lipped Home Counties) I’m just always freezing. Perversely I love the winter, when it is totally acceptable to don layer upon layer of knitted garments and wear a hat indoors. I silently freeze through spring and summer months.
I haven’t always been this cold. It’s crept up on me over the years, like my diminishing memory and lack of elasticity. I worry that it’s only a matter of time before I start buying clothes based on their tog-value. My bedtime attire has slowly attained Michelin Man proportions. Gone are the itsy bitsy baby-doll dresses I favoured in my early twenties. Gone is the raunchy tight pants-and-vest combo which replaced them. Gone, thankfully, are the ghastly nursing nightdresses I lived in for two years, complete with milk stains. Shudder. As for sleeping naked – a thing of the past.
At bedtime I reluctantly peel off my clothes and leap as quickly as possible into toasty pyjamas, thick fluffy bedsocks and an enormous sweatshirt. Occasionally I add a woolly scarf, and perhaps some mittens. My husband despairs of the great woollen walrus beside him; any spontaneous ardour is somewhat dampened by the half hour it takes to unwind me from the extra duvet I’ve snuck into bed. He complains it is impossible to distinguish any potential shudders of pleasure from my shivers of cold. I’ve told him that on balance, it’s more likely to be the latter.
Last week he came home with a gift for me. The sort of gift one would normally consider suitable for Great Aunty Enid ensconced in the Memory Lane nursing home. The sort of gift – I suspect – which would in other homes be responsible for sparking threats of divorce proceedings.
He bought me an electric underblanket.
I was enraptured. No longer would I freeze between the sheets. No more would my teeth chatter as I counted sheep in pursuit of sleep. I threw my arms around my husband in delight and gratitude. Such a thoughtful gesture. Such unselfishness on his part, to seek out a gift solely for my comfort. I turned on the blanket ten minutes before I slipped into bed and sunk into its cosy warmth. Such bliss!
“You won’t be needing those pyjamas now, then, will you?” My husband said, as he fumbled at my waistband.
Ah. I see. Not such a selfless present after all.