Is it science or sense to hide beneath cinched hoodies?

Burt's Eye View

Forbes magazine recently asked, “Is there science behind why teens wear hoodies in the summer?”

You may not believe this, but I myself was once a teen. It’s true. I was.

I remember this one time when Georgie Washington, Tommy Jefferson, Benny Franklin and I were out playing tag behind the schoolhouse and Georgie kept trying to bum dollar coins off us to throw across the river. Georgie lived on the other side of the river and his plan was to collect all the coins after school …

But I digress. The point is that I once was an actual teenager and therefore can state unequivocally that there was absolutely no science behind anything we did. Silliness, stupidity or insanity, yes, but no science.

When I served time in junior high school, elephant bell bottoms were the thing to wear. If your platform shoes showed, your bells weren’t bulky enough. We could have sewed another full pair of peg-leg pants out of all the material that flowed around our calves, ankles and toes.

Never once did anyone suggest there was a science behind why we swept floors merely by walking down hallways. Mostly we heard adults muttering, “Kids — if they had brains, they’d be dangerous.”

Today, as a bona fide senior citizen, I often shake my head when I see teens strutting about in 90-degree weather with their hoods cinched around their faces. I hear myself muttering, “Kids — if they had brains …”

But I prefer kid logic to so-called adult sense any day. So I read the Forbes article to discover if there was, in fact, any science involved to summer hoodies. Author Marshall Shepherd — the dad of a 15-year-old hoodie wearer, a climate scientist and a known adult — claims that it is so.

The soft outer garments essentially act as weighted blankets that you wear, he wrote. The popularity of weighted blankets rose during the coronavirus pandemic because the deep-pressure therapy of the blanket elevates levels of the happy hormone serotonin and the relaxation hormone melatonin while reducing the stress hormone cortisol.

Teens cuddle into hoodies for emotional support, Shepherd asserts.

I suspect teens mostly wear hoodies to look cool. That’s what we thought elephant bells and platform shoes did for us.

By the time I got to college, bib overalls emerged as the cool thing to wear. “They’re so comfortable,” city kids cooed. “I feel so close to nature. Is this why you country folks wear them?”

A sniff back at the farm of my real overalls — splattered in tractor grease, cow snot and grain dust — would have dispelled that notion. We wore them for common sense. “Peel those things off outside,” Mom would holler. “You’re not tracking that gunk into the house.”

In January, we wore hoodies beneath our coveralls to keep our ears from freezing into lobes of ice and snapping off. Forget serotonin, melatonin and cortisol. It was the possibility of becoming a cryogenic experiment that bothered us.

Way back then, Georgie, Tommy, Bennie and I cinched hoods around our heads to prevent science from happening.

• Not only is Cole not a scientist, he’s never been accused of being a fashion maven either. Educate him at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or at www.burtonwcole.com.


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