Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Coat Dilemma

(image courtesy of someone's Tumblr page)

New England Winters rank somewhere between Dysentery and The General Disposition of Vince Sheahy in the Records of Unpleasantries. Most rationalize living here because they get to experience all four seasons, they have people they love around, and they get to participate in winter activities such as skiing and chain-drinking Irish coffee. Being a red-blooded American who prides himself on having exceptional circulation, the cold of winter doesn't bother me as much as the single-worst facet of urban winter living: dealing with coats at bars.

In general, I will wait until the weather gets below the freezing point of water before even considering wearing a coat out. The long-sleeved attire transition that takes place after Labor Day swiftly changes into a more flannel-and-sweater heavy line-up come late November. Now that the icy bite of December has arrived, every weekend night brings upon a terrible plight to middle-class white kids all around.

In a world of perfect information, the decision to wear a coat often boils down to knowing whether a bar has a coat check or not. Despite coat checks being a Goldmanian alternative revenue stream, I have no problem dishing over a few bucks as a temporary insurance policy for my coat. Holding a coat in one hand as you wash away your week's pay with the contents of the glass in your other hand is the physical embodiment of peasantry.

In early December and late March when I go to bars without coat checks, I'll get White Person Wild and go to bars without a jacket if the conditions allow it. These nights usually end with a few stiff closing rounds and an early exit to guarantee a cab. I hate that Boston is a city where "guarantee a cab" is even a concept.

I've kicked around the idea with friends of a Zip Car-like coat rental business. Pay a couple bucks, pick up a coat from a bin at a bar, wear it home, and drop it off next time you go out. I'll accept calls from any angels or VCs. Our main core competency resides in our homeless shelter supply chain, although a SWOT analysis showed that we had trouble dealing with vomit stains reeking of fortified wine and an excess of child-size Charlotte Hornets Starter jacket. 

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