Thursday, October 05, 2006
My dad is a rugged outdoorsman trapped in a life where he rarely, if ever, needs to eat blubber to stay alive. He is brimming with survival know-how and has few outlets for it, so, like a good rugged outdoorsman, he makes do. Usually this means getting a little too excited about the prospect of and preparation for some major disaster and the subsequent living off the land (although all my friends claim as soon as they hear the word "apocolypse" or "nuclear winter" on the news they are heading straight to my family's house), but it also means that we are perenially involved in the great Fashion vs. Function debate. Raingear is the classic example.
You see, "waterproof," to my father, means that the wearer could experience a monsoon, in a sinking boat, and come home to dinner later saying, "It rained? Really? I didn't notice." Not an ounce of moisture should be able to penetrate a jacket that makes such a highfalutin' claim as "waterproof."
"Waterproof," to me, means not suede.
This difference of opinion came to a head when I went to outdoor school in sixth grade. I'd gotten one of those awesome raincoats from the Gap that folds up into a matching little bag and I was stoked to strut my stuff at camp. As soon as my dad saw this coat, however, he deemed it unacceptable, took it from my suitcase, and waterproofed it. I still don't know what the process entails exactly, but soon every seam of my new jacket was covered with white goo--sixth grade fashion suicide. When it rained at outdoor school, I hid the jacket under my cot and used one of those garbage bag ponchos they give to the poor kids.
As I get older, and start spending more money on stylish but maybe not completely waterproof jackets, I have learned to embrace having a dad who's so interesting and able to find food when the bird flu hits. I've also learned to hide my outerwear.
Jacket: WESC, $138, amazon.com