The Magic Hoodies

I have this hoodie. It is navy blue, old and grotty. I bought it for ten pounds back in 2004. That was the Year of Voluntary Poverty, when Rhiannon and I worked seven days a week and ate Tesco Value beans to fund our travels.

I had never worn a hoodie before and at first I marvelled at its mid-season practicality. If I was walking to the bus stop and suddenly attacked by a Spring shower, I could just flip the hood and prevent my hair from exploding into its usual revolting orange cloud.

Later on that year we went to Russia and despite being summer it was bloody chilly so I had to get the hoodie out. While our fellow Contiki tourers were also backpacker types, they’d had the good sense to be accountants or computer programmers in London instead of administrative losers in Edinburgh, so they had posh, stylish jackets. Worse still, Rhiannon had accidentally brought the exact same hoodie as me.

We’d meant to get different jackets before the trip but we’d run out of time and dosh. So we felt like right dickheads sitting on that tour bus for three weeks, all matched up.

“Are youse two twins?” an Aussie girl shouted from the back seat, the first of twenty-five people to ask this question.

“NO WE ARE NOT,” we said in unison. “It was an unfortunate purchasing coincidence!”

“How thick are these people?” Rhiannon hissed, “Twins, just because we have the same stupid jacket.”



I think Rhiannon ceremoniously burned her hoodie after that trip, but since I am lazy and not half as stylish I clung on to mine. And on and on. It makes me look like a bum, about to shuffle off to place a bet on some greyhounds. But my commute involves so much walking and this is Scotland, there’s hair-wrecking downpour lurking round every corner.

What sucks is Gareth has a hoodie too, and seems surgically attached to it. He was wearing one the fateful day we met, and he would have worn it down the aisle had it not been so hot in Vegas. But as previously reported, the good Doctor has nae hair, so a hoodie is handy when there’s a sudden chill in the air.

He recently replaced a hood he’d had for about twenty years, and what do you know, it’s navy fucking blue. If we go for a walk we have to argue over who gets to wear theirs, because I was scarred by Russia and refuse to walk around all Mrs and Mrs Hoodie. What’s next, matching white trainers and bum bags? So it’s a fierce battle between the Baldy Head and the Risk-Of -Frizz Ginger. I fantasise that one day we’ll just wake up and simultaneously declare, “Let’s stop dressing like middle aged students and go out and buy some proper jackets!”. But it never happens.

Recently I was behooded and half-asleep on the train, heading home from work. A young lad got on, juggling an armful of books, a guitar, and a huge bunch of flowers. He was dressed in black and smiling, a sharp contrast to us dour corporate slaves. He reminded me of one of those guys at high school that chicks would obsess over, assuming he was Deep and Mysterious because he had long hair and a faraway expression.

He arranged his goods on the luggage rack then plopped down beside me. As the train pulled away he started scrawling funny squiggles on a piece of paper.

“I’m learning Arabic,” he said after a few minutes, catching me looking.

I sat up straight, shocked. This was the first time a stranger had spoken to me on the train. Normally it’s just grim silence, everyone absorbed in their iPods and Dan Browns.

“Nice!” I croaked.

“I’m really loving it.” His voice was soft and dreamy, “It looks like art, don’t you think?”

“Sure!” I decided to have a stab at conversation, since this was such a rare event. “You know, I remember when I did Japanese, I always liked drawing the squiggles more than I did learning how to say anything.”

“Japanese! That is so cool!”

We started chatting about the two languages and it was such a hoot because he was so earnest and completely uncynical, his lust for life not yet destroyed by working in a call centre.

“I have this big bag of henna at home,” he said suddenly, “Someday I’m going to invite round a whole bunch of naked girls and paint poems all over them in Arabic. Yeah. Love poems!”

“Oh… brilliant! This is my stop.”

“It’s mine too. That’s cool.”

As the doors opened he gestured for me to go first and said the magic words, “So you’re a student too, then?”

A student! A student! Have you ever heard anything sweeter, a decade after you’d last set foot in a place of learning?

We parted company and I walked home in the warm glow of the mildly flattered. It was a good ten minutes before I figured why he’d thought I was a student. It wasn’t my youthful complexion or quality banter. It was because I was dressed like a slob. That bloody hoodie!

“You wouldn’t believe what happened to me and my hoodie today,” I told Gareth later. “It’s going in the bin.”

“No!” Gareth yelped, “You can’t put a hoodie in the bin! Wait til you hear what happened to me and my hoodie today!”

He had spent the day canoeing down the River Spey today with two pals. They got caught in a crazy current and hit a huge log. The canoe capsized. The other two were flung out but Gareth got trapped underneath! He almost died!

Well, he was certainly under there long enough to start thinking of the tragic headline, Fife Lad Drooned In The Spey. Luckily his mate swooped in … and hauled him out by his hoodie.

“You see, hoodies are magic,” he declared, “They keep you looking youthful AND they save your life.”

“Right on.”

“I am never taking this off again!”

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

Find out more about me and how we can work together – I’m now booking for January 2022.

28 thoughts on “The Magic Hoodies

  1. I live in Ontario, Canada where they are known to one and everyone as “hoodies”.

    However, in Saskatchewan, Canada — where I grew up, we call them “bunnyhugs”. I have received many a strange look after asking my friends something along the lines of, “Are you cold? Can I get you a bunnyhug?”

  2. I’m a buyer for a sportswear company that has salespeople in Saskatchewan, so I can verify the “bunnyhug” thing. Took me forever to figure out what they meant.

    I buy them all day long, but I only own one. Tall girls with linebacker shoulders don’t need extra fabric on their backs.

  3. I own a couple hoodies… but I credit my mud soap from New Zealand for my youthful skin!

    I’m sure you can find a way to get Gareth out of it… πŸ˜‰ at least once in awhile for a wash!!

  4. I’m going to print this out and send it to T. Blair. Westminster need to rethink their hoodie ban!

    Cracking post, as usual πŸ™‚

  5. Ah, suddenly I feel so much better about hanging onto my hoodie from the good ol’ days… it’s black, polar fleece, and on a bad day has an awful lot of cat fur imbedded in it, but I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of it.

    Since it’s clearly the answer to long life and youth, it can stay πŸ˜‰

  6. I’m a die hard hoodie fan.
    I have been through quite a few hoodies, infact right now I’m wearing a my green o’neil hoodie with the arm slightly stuck together (my kids decided to throw a whole big bottle of fabric glue in the clean washing pile to see what would happen and therefore I now own quite a few stiff, slighty stuck together, items of clothing).
    I struggle to dress anything even approaching smart and really just adore the ease and comfort of a good hoodie.

  7. I’m with Vicky! – send this blog to Westminster and have the all media revisit their take on the beloved hoodie! I didn’t even realise they had a bad rep in the UK until I got here and people started making comments about mine when I wore it! Now they are the fools for I am saved!

    And I am glad that Gareth was too! Phew!

  8. I wore my first hoodie as school girl in the 7o’s. They were called “Kangaroo Jackets” then, I guess due the front pocket .

  9. Shauna, isn’t this a case for your Amazon wish list (surely they sell jackets of some sort there?)?

    Speaking of which, where’s it gone? We can’t suck up to you any more!

    Scott πŸ™‚

  10. Kangaroo jackets! We should revive that term!

    Scott, howdy tiger! Yeah it’s gone, people were so generous with the wedding pressies methinks it would be far too whoreish to put it up ever again πŸ™‚

  11. Never really have happened upon my own personal uber-hoodie, until I stopped in some central coast oppie and found a sleeveless Billabong hoodie, that just has *something* going for it. And yes – it’s navy blue.

  12. Now I am jealous…I don’t own a ‘hoodie’ aka ‘kangaroo jacket’ aka ‘bunnyhug’ πŸ™

    Must buy one this weekend! LOL

  13. No worries – not all hoodies are evil! (The Good Doctor is proof). Now for my hoodie…

    My sister and brother-in-law own a local tavern and my hoodie is from there. Picture it…a dark blue hoodie with the tavern’s name plastered across the front in large red letters: BOOZ’IN!

    I’m 35 years old, a mother and not a big drinker…but I feel like one of the local drunks every time I wear that hoodie! But on cold rainy days it gets the job done! πŸ™‚

  14. You can never be too whor….enterprising!

    That’s what the readers are for!

    Scott πŸ˜‰

  15. I am wearing a hoodie as I type this. A fitted, girlie hoodie. It’s black, though, not navy.

    I laughed at your sisterhoodies, because L and I bought matching hooded jumpers back at the dawn of our teen years (I think it was 1993). They were boldly checked, mine in blue and white, hers in grey and white, and enormously baggy (1993…).

    I totally adored mine and wore it all the time, with the result that after a few months, mine was showing plenty of wear while L’s still looked utterly pristine. Because, obviously, she couldn’t wear the same as me for fear of social death. These things matter when you’re eleven.

    I’ve still got mine, but I think hers was quietly disposed of some years ago…

  16. Why have none of your other readers commented on your companions naked-girls thing? Speaking as a mother, my opinion of his sweet harmlessness was a bit shaken at that point. Cling to your hoodie, I’d say, and keep it zipped up on that train…

  17. Agghh! I missed out the apostrophe!!! I meant, of course, “your companion’s”. Please put this down to my anxiety for your safety. This sort of thing always goes for people’s punctuation.

  18. i thank god every day that i no longer live in canada where hoodies are a necessary means of survival. now, people can identify my gender.

    arabic poems on girls, eh? strange how my knowlede of arabic has never gotten me any nookie. oh wait, i have that boyfriend. he’s learning arabic too.

  19. I accidentally gave away my old, and in need of repair, hoodie to the op shop because I had been carrying it in the op shop bag for convenience. I was tempted to go and buy it back πŸ˜›

    I too was also struck by the ‘invite a lot of naked girls over’ from your travelling companion, as opposed to ‘get a girlfriend and write love poetry all over her’ or something sweet like that [shrug]

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