Today, I’m unpacking gay longing.
If a significant part of your adolescence was spent pouring over Buzzfeed quizzes and questioning whether the rainbow was right for you, chances are you’re familiar with The Neighborhood’s bisexual anthem, “Sweater Weather.” Filled with nonsensical lyrics about California beaches and having feelings (couldn’t be me), the sweaters did weather. They survived winter and came out victorious, from their frayed little ends to loving shoulder stitches. But among this corrupted weather, the greatest good I can do for my community is break down exactly how to sweater up this weather and get laid.
“Let’s have an adventure,” the lead vocalist croons. Against all odds, this adventure will not be to the yarn store — it is, in fact, sexual in nature, if you can bear to believe it. The linking between plush, well-loved sweaters and sexuality says more about each of you than you may want to accept. From wild forrays to JOANN Fabrics and Crafts, to the careful stitch and purling of each line, sweaters are a labor of love. It’s no surprise that the touch-starved, the lonely, and the recently out have latched onto these cloth mysteries as the ultimate source of romance.
Sweaters are first and foremost intriguing because of the secrecy they hide beneath. The near shapeless form of a well-loved sweater can hide anything from a bodacious rack to thousands in stolen tips from your local frozen yogurt place kept alive by drug deals and the munchies. The point is, you’ll never know what’s underneath unless you sneak your hands inside.
To hold hands, obviously. Both of your hands. In the holes of my sweater, which some may take to be commentary on well-loved cloth and the passage of time, if you’re that insufferable. Subtext abounds in Sweater Weather, in the same way that yarn tends to also be there when you’re talking about sweaters. See, not a metaphor. Sometimes the curtains are just blue. Let people have nice things! Sweater Weather has less text than I have knitting abilities. If there can be any literal meaning, I won’t turn it down. Get this gift horse more oats.
As the song progresses and I put on more and more sweaters to get a glimpse into the bisexual mind, I am quite rudely informed that clothing was not, apparently, the aim of the occasion (“She knows what I think about//No shirt, No blouse”). Alright, tops shall be removed from the premises – wait! I’ve found it! The root of the national shortage!
The more I’m willing to believe, the stranger it gets. No shirts, minimum one sweater required for service. The service in question involves mouths, domesticity, and an address far up North. The master manipulator has purchased their joint home in a climate so inhabitable that their beloved must shelter for warmth with layers upon layers of sweaters, dividing the two such that only their hands can meet, or whatever.
Sweater weather, I must conclude, requires nothing, save for a sweater, some enthusiasm, and the willingness to pretend you’re cold. What a disappointment.