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kara_t's avatar

Do anglo-saxon women have a special gene that makes their legs & feet immune to freezing weather?

Asked by kara_t (139 points ) February 10th, 2012

Since this seems such a great site for interactive q&a (just posted my first question here today and it got a great discussion going) let me ask a second question on a totally different (and happier topic).

Last week I was in London throughout the weekend (I’m not from there but was staying at some friends) and as some of you may know there was a huge cold wave spreading all across europe last weekend with snow and freezing temperatures. On Saturday I had a really long walk with my friends to Westminester, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham, Oxford Street and after it snowed for a good part of saturday night, on Sunday morning around 8:30am I went out for a quick run in the fresh snow and freezing weather from Tower Bridge to Tate Modern on Thames’ south bank, then across the foot bridge at Tate towards Saint Paul and then back to Tower Bridge (my friends live nearby). What I’ve seen during my journeys:

1. On Saturday, while walking, I saw at least 3 or 4 girls walking in the freezing weather wearing jeans and nice warm jackets, scarves and gloves and…low cut flats on their bare feet… while their boyfriends were bundled up in thick jackets and winter boots. At least it was dry (didn’t snow yet).

2. On the footbridge near Tate Modern on Sunday morning (is it called Millenium Bridge?) a couple in what looked like clubbing clothes were rushing in the fresh snow which noone started to shovel yet, probably home from a long night of partying. The guy properly dressed, the girl with a REALLY short skirt, boots and, of course, bare legs. At least she did have boots on.

3. Once I got accross the bridge and went towards Saint Paul to take a look at the Occupy London tent city, guess what: another couple, guy properly dressed, girl with jeans and…you guessed…grey flats and bare feet. She was clearly not coming from a party as she was quite casually dressed so they must have left home for an early walk that morning. She was holding her boyfriend’s arm as she walked like on egg shells through the snow trying to not get too much snow on her feet. I couldn’t help but wonder, what was her thinking process (if any) when she left home that morning and saw the snow on the street.

4. Finally, in Liverpool street station later that same day, two girls took the two seats I was heading towards while waiting for my train. As I was watching them with envy (there were no other free seats in the station), one took off her backpack, got a pair of flats out of it, took of her winter boots and socks and put them in the backpack and put the flats on instead. Then her and her friend got up (to my great relief as I took their seat) and headed to the Liverpool street tube station. So is riding the tube such a fancy event that you need to change your shoes for it and cannot just go wearing the boots you wore outside?

I’m half spanish and always freezing in the winter so I cannot help but wonder, do english women feel no cold at all ?

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13 Answers

Pandora's avatar

Nope, I think some people are willing to do anything for fashions sake. When I was younger and would go clubbing I use to wear skirts in the dead of winter with open toes in 3 inch heels. Yes I froze my legs and toes but after a few drinks you really didn’t notice a thing.
Now, I wear boots and thick socks with jeans to walk my dog and I can’t help but want to hurry in doors. My dog goes out in only his birthday suit and he’s fine. Rain or shine or cold. ( He draws the line at ice and snow.)

chyna's avatar

I think they are probably cold but want to look sexy or nice in a cute short dress. Young girls want to look nice and young guys don’t seem to care what they wear as long as they are comfortable.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I think those women sacrifice comfort for looks. No one could be comfortable getting cold snow all over their feet or bare legs. It would seem that they just want to dress sexy/cute, no matter the discomfort they suffer for it.

kara_t's avatar

I understand wanting to look cute for clubbing and being willing to sacrifice comfort for looks and I always wear my flats with bare feet as well (but where I live it doesn’t get that cold). But is there anything sexy in wearing flats with bare legs in fresh snow on a sunday morning when streets are mostly empty and you’re just taking a morning walk to shake away the sleepiness?

saint's avatar

Yes. In my opinion Anglo Saxon people in general are tolerant, even occasionally appreciative, of the cold. By the same token they are not particularly tolerant of high temperatures.

auhsojsa's avatar

Pale skinned humans thrived in cold conditions. As a matter of fact, that’s the reason pale skin exists, because of thousands of years of living through cold climate environments. It allowed for protection in the cold whilst being able to soak in sunlight to get that good old vitamin d. Whilst on the other hand, we find that humans along the regions of the equator produce more melanin for sun protection.

Studied from Dr. Browder along this textbook

But to answer the latter part of your question I think it’s strictly environmental. Spaniards are also pale skinned, what is your other half out of curiosity?

janbb's avatar

It is a very curious phenomenon but true.

kara_t's avatar

@auhsojsa I’m half Spanish and half Filipino.

wildpotato's avatar

I have asked that very question of my roommate, who goes out like this all the time in Manhattan. She says it’s unfortunate, but it’s simply that it’s the in look for both professional young women in large cities and for the night life of the same. She affirmed that yes, she hates it, and yes, she freezes.

jonsblond's avatar

It’s not just women who don’t dress appropriately for the winter weather. I often see men (usually young college guys) walking around the grocery store wearing shorts and tennis shoes with a temperature below freezing outside. Just today I noticed a male college student wearing shorts, it was snowing outside with a temp near 15F. How do these guys do it? I never see women that do this, it’s always men.

mattbrowne's avatar

No.

The feeling is subjective and depends on conditioning.

MilkyWay's avatar

I don’t think so, I think they just get used to it. I’m brown skinned and I love the cold, and don’t like to go out in the sun for long periods of time, as it irritates my skin :/
I also find that if you do not have any hair on any part your body, your sensitivity in that area weakens, which may be a reason for them not feeling the cold as much.

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