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The Non-Expert

Dreams and How to Dress for Them

Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. This week we help analyze your dreams, or maybe just his own, and offer a handy chart that tells you what to wear depending on the temperature. Yes: “handy.”

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is updated on Fridays, and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.


Question: I recently got engaged, and I had a dream a few nights ago in which I had sex with my ex-girlfriend. Do you think I should be worried? —Tim

Answer: Not at all. In fact, Tim, after doing some research online I see lots of people dream about having sex with your ex-girlfriend. Ha! Ba-dum-bum.

Really, though, the content of our dreams can mean as little or as much as we want it to. You could pay somebody to figure it out, but does it really matter what some high-priced society headshrinker thinks of your deepest, most intimate thoughts? No—which is why you asked us for help instead. Lucky for you, I’ve been studying some of my “weirdest”—or, as that professional analyst would say, “most significant”—dreams over the past few weeks, and I believe I’ve arrived at a few conclusions about myself because of it. Here’s what I’ve found.

My dream: I am back at college, and I’m in class, about to take an exam for which I haven’t studied. I am also completely naked.

My analysis: It’s a good thing I studied for all my tests—because that naked guy failed out freshman year.


My dream: It’s a normal day, I’m living my life as I currently know it—yet my dog, who I had all while I was growing up, and who died ten years ago, is alive and well and living with me.

My analysis: The dog represents the lost dreams of my childhood, my hopefulness and youthful ambition. Without a dog, I am doomed to fail. But with a cat…could I rule the world?


My dream: I’m flying—without aid of any technology—over a beautiful landscape.

My analysis: This is a remarkable improvement over the dream where I keep falling… and falling… and falling…


My dream: I am playing gin rummy with Abraham Lincoln.

My analysis: I’ve been over at Sarah Vowell’s game night way too much lately.


My dream: My teeth are falling out.

My analysis: Because I have a latent fear of flossing.


My dream: I am walking through the forest, along a narrow footpath, and I arrive at a river. I wade through the river and get out on the other side. I continue, across an open field, until I reach a wall. I climb over the wall and continue until I reach a house. I walk up to the door; it is unlocked. I enter.

My analysis: Not sure yet.


My dream: I am at a publishing party and my mother is there. She begins beating me with that week’s issue of the New Yorker and force-feeding me Tic-Tacs.

My analysis: Actually, this is based on a real incident.


My dream: I am in an abandoned city. I soon discover that I am the last person alive on Earth.

My analysis: My new workout routine must be right on the money.


My dream: I’m in a red-curtained room with Kyle MacLachlan and the dwarf from Twin Peaks.

My analysis: I thought they’d be much taller in person.


My dream: I am having sex with Tim’s ex-girlfriend.

My analysis: Just kidding. Ba-dum-bum.


Question: This is driving me crazy. One day it’s hot and the next it’s kind of cold. So my question is: Should I bring a jacket or not?—Laura

Answer: Don’t go crazy. Instead: Go compulsive. After all, how often have we left the house thinking it was colder than it really was, only to be trapped, drenched in sweat, in a thick wool outerthings? Or thought it was warmer than it really was, only to have that same aforementioned sweat freeze to our backs? The answer—just about every day. But no more! Because now every morning when we look in our closet and try to decide what to wear that day, we’ll instead turn to this chart we’ve worked up (which is actually useful, or at least on the same level as those gripper devices that get tight lids off jars).

Note: All temperatures are in Fahrenheit, because the Ford administration figured we didn’t know any better. As it turns out, they were right.

The Non-Expert’s Guide to Dressing Yourself

Outside it’s… Remove… Add…
90° and up nothing short pants, T-shirt, sandals
89°–75° sandals, short pants jeans/trousers, socks, shoes
74°–65° T-shirt long-sleeved cotton shirt
64°–55° nothing cotton jacket
54°–45° cotton jacket wool jacket
44°–40° nothing wool sweater
39°–30° wool jacket wool overcoat, scarf, gloves, hat
29°–20° wool overcoat down-filled coat
19°–10° shoes insulated boots
9°–0° nothing thermal underwear top
Below 0° nothing thermal underwear bottoms
0°–9° thermal underwear bottoms nothing
10°–19° thermal underwear top nothing
20°–29° insulated boots shoes
30°–39° down-filled coat wool overcoat
40°–44° wool overcoat, scarf, gloves, hat wool jacket
45°–54° wool sweater nothing
55°–64° wool jacket cotton jacket
65°–74° cotton jacket nothing
75°–89° long-sleeved cotton shirt T-shirt
90° and up jeans/trousers, socks, shoes sandals, short pants




Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack