Happy March to you all. This is a transition month for me. The seasons are beginning to change, I’m getting used to the idea that we’re now well into 2016, and by the end of March I will be in Scandinavia. The trip will be both a holiday and a way to visit some of my family – Brother: Jon, Cousin: Dom, Cousin Dom’s Girlfriend/My Friend: Nikki – who are all living in London at the moment but who will also be joining Holly and I in Scandinavia for two weeks.
The weather in Iceland and Norway, where we’ll be visiting, is currently around the zero degree mark or slightly below (as Holly tells me in her nightly weather check) and so I’ve had to start deciding now what clothes I’m going to bring, mostly to ensure I actually own the correct winter clothing, and if not, have the time to buy what I need. It’s been fun, I’ve already bought a couple of pairs of long johns off the internet. While buying long johns is something I’ve never needed to do before – thanks to my very manly ability to ignore the cold and the fact that I live in Australia – I assumed purchasing them would be easy. I was right, to a degree. Finding long johns to buy on the internet was easy, deciding which ones to buy was not. A quick search of ‘men’s long johns’ on aliexpress (my internet shopping site of choice) came back with five thousand and three results. That’s a lot of long johns.
Being an amateur in the long johns buying department this mountain of them was overwhelming. It created a lot of questions. Which one’s were the right ones? Did I want to opt for comfort or design? Just how warm did they need to be? What was a good price to pay for a pair of long johns? How did they get the name long johns? By the time I scrolled through the metaphorical mountain, checking each pair for a description and reviews, I was exhausted. I was fatigued. Which isn’t actually all that uncommon. Decision fatigue is the psychological term given to a weakening of your willpower to make decisions after a heavy decision making workout. The mental equivalent of your arms refusing to work after doing weights. For people who live in this modern world (i.e. us) where we have so many options about everything, even a pair of long johns, decision fatigue can affect us daily. It’s why at the end of the day it can be so hard to answer the question “what do you want for dinner?’ In fact a study by the National Academy of Sciences found that Judges were less likely to make favourable rulings later in the day because of decision fatigue! Meaning if you ever have to go to court make sure you get a slot in the morning.
The good news is you can do things to lower your decision fatigue; basically, make less decisions. Albert Einstein famously had multiple pairs of the same outfit so he wouldn’t have to make decisions about his wardrobe. Similarly Obama only wears two kinds of suits and Mark Zuckerberg only wears grey t-shirts. I’d heard this fact before and quite like the idea; there’s a logic to it that is very attractive, and I Iove me some hot logic. I haven’t actually got to the point of buying multiple copies of identical clothes – I’ve been tempted but I feel that if I did I would have to continually explain the system to those around me for fear of them thinking I just never to laundry – but I do have a basic outfit that I wear most days in most situations, t-shirt and jeans. Admittedly I have multiple colours of jeans and own more t-shirts than any one man needs, and so a decision of what to wear each day is still very much in effect. I guess even my minimal fashion sense still overrides the hot logic.
I do think I manage to avoid decision fatigue however when it comes to my hair. Basically, I try to have as little as possible. When I was young deciding what to do with my hair wasn’t an issue as my Mum would decide for me. This led to some bowl cuts so perfectly bowl like you could put a bushel of fruit in them if my head wasn’t in the way, but it didn’t lead to any decision fatigue (it would also lead to a pretty wicked undercut, shared by Jonathan and myself, which in fairness to my Mum I think Jon and I unwisely requested).
When the burden of what to do to my hair fell to me things did not go well. First I refused to use any hair product whatsoever, giving me the stylized messy look, except with all the mess and none of the style. Then puberty hit, and with it the onus of caring what girls thought about my appearance, so I used too much hair gel, leaving my hair rock hard and looking like a lego mans. In the years that followed my hairstyle was somewhere in between these two extremes, too lazy to go to any effort with it but still too proud to not at least try a little.
Now, with a girlfriend who likes my hair short both for the look and the feel, I happily shave it. All the time, effort, and decision making that goes into what to do with the top of my head is gone, and in it’s place is all that sweet hairdresser money I’m swimming in by shaving it myself.
If only I could be brave enough to apply the same logic to long johns.