I don’t know. This question is one I ask often. Yesterday we had heavy rains. I had to go shopping and was trying to manage packages, purse, shopping cart, and umbrella — more or less successfully. But before leaving the shelter of an overhang I just stopped for a moment to listen to the rain and feel its perfect sound.
As I looked out at the edge of the woods that border the parking lot, other women were coming in, all but two of them using umbrellas and those two were running for their life. None of the men arriving were using umbrellas. Not one.
They looked strange, most not even running to the entrance. Their hair was plastered to their heads, their shirts already getting soaked. This was no drizzle, no light morning mist. It was a washout downpour that obscured sight of the far end of the lot!
But I stayed watching for a few minutes, puzzled, trying to compute what those men must be thinking. I failed. It would no more occur to me to voluntarily step outside in such a heavy rain without an umbrella than it would occur to me to walk in a snowstorm in sandals. Yet clearly, men do this very thing, in the rain, at least in America.
So what is it about? A friend suggested they feel macho by not using an umbrella even when the rain is relentless. I dispute that. If they want to look good and manly, then hair plastered to their head, fast eye-blinking, and a bedraggled, rain-soaked shirt aren’t doing the job very well. That can’t be the reason.
Perhaps they feel the weather is a challenge of some kind, that entering the elements with the protective covering of an umbrella would take away from their sense of personal power, of conquering and winning the foray. Again, their appearance leaves much to be desired, but I can see how they might think that way, though the image of Don Quixote comes to mind faster than that of a medieval knight.
It could be the risk involved, health-wise. Being wet from rain and going into an air-conditioned store (it is summer here) is a possible formula for a chill that turns into a cold. This may be another challenge men want to vanquish.
Alas, I still do not have an answer, though I have come up with other possible reasons in addition. In the end, I just can’t fathom it.
However, I can say without hesitation that I love using an umbrella and in my point of view, staying as dry as I can when it’s raining is heaven.