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Of mittens and men, and other wintertime considerations

Most Canadians do not consider mittens that are attached together by a string as the type of garment that an adult would or should wear.

There’s good reason for this, too.

After all, these were the things that your mother foisted upon you, until you proved that you were responsible enough to not lose mittens. Or at least what I tell her every time she calls.

Worse still, this style of mitten screams out, “I lose so many mittens that someone had to intervene and attach a string which I have to thread through both arms of my coat.” And while that’s cute on someone in second grade, it’s a little less flattering when you are in your 50s – especially when it’s true.

For the outdoorsman, however, mittens attached by a string can actually be a practical piece of kit. After all, there are times when you are in the outdoors in winter, such as when tying on an ice fishing lure, trying to ignite a lighter or un-attaching your tongue from a metal pole, when mittens have to come off temporarily so that nimble fingers can do the task or at least text a friend or EMT unit for help.

In these cases, mittens attached by a string are the perfect solution. That’s because the mitts are right there, hanging within inches of your hands. And when you are done with the job, no time is wasted getting them back on. That’s a plus when temperatures get cold.

Unfortunately, I do not know a single outdoorsman who wears mittens attached with strings. I suspect this is because of the stigma associated with them.

But, as I said, there are many good reasons why a fully grown outdoorsman could and should take advantage of benefits that mittens attached by strings provide. Yes, they create a perception that your mother dressed you, but again, this is not always disadvantageous.

For instance, if you wear mittens attached together with strings, no one is ever going to ask you to use a power auger or any other sharp tool. Nor will they get too angry when you accidentally step in their minnow bucket.

Even so, I know many outdoorsmen who would rather go bare-handed than wear their mittens in this manner – no matter how practical it is.

And, I will be honest here, I happen to be one of them.

Deep down, I know that this design prevents loss, is highly practical and ultimately more useful in keeping hands warm and dry. But every time I have taken my mittens attached by a string afield, some wise guy has made a comment or two that has made me feel a little more self-conscious than I’d prefer.

They’ll say things like, “You know you wouldn’t trip as much if you shortened the strings.”Or “You’d have far more mobility if you just wore those mitts on the right hands.” Or worst of all, “Why the heck would you ever lick a metal post?”

Stuff like that.

The point here is there are also plenty of good reasons to reject wearing mittens with strings – not the least of which, is that my mom is really good at knitting and no longer asks why I want three right-hand mittens.

Nor does she want anything in return. She just knits them. No strings attached.

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