Image: Flickr

The dregs of March are upon us; April, with its promise of spring showers, warmer weather, and allergy season, is waiting in the wings. The air is cold, but sometimes humid. Sun breaks through the grey clouds every now and again, only to be replaced by three feet of wet snow. If you live in the north, getting dressed to leave your house is an logistical nightmare. Welcome, my friends, to the Ugly Time.

Fashion magazines and websites will tell you that the end of March and the beginning of April is “spring,” a season that portends sunnier weather, boozy sunsets, and tans. Even though it is 45 degrees and grey, clothing stores are full of sundresses and linen things, stymieing shoppers who would be glad to find a sweater to replace That One Sweater—grey, shapeless, stained with mustard—that they reach for again and again.

Getting dressed for “spring” means existing in a state of permanent discomfort—it is prime Katy Perry weather (hot, and then cold)—and so deciding how to clothe one’s body in a way that is comfortable and attractive is an onerous task. At this point in the year, we are about three to four weeks out from the Horny Time, that beautiful slice of weather when the air doesn’t yet smell like hot garbage or the exhaust from window AC units, and everyone is relishing in the feel of sun on bare skin. What makes the Horny Time so goddamn horny is that we are all emerging from under the dark cloud that was the Ugly Time, dressed in shapeless rags, jeans that smell weird, and shoes without socks. The winter coat you were so excited about back in October is now a hideous reminder of the sweet relief you felt as the oppressive heat of the summer gave way to crisp nights and sweater weather. Eschewing said coat in favor of say, a denim jacket that is not warm enough for whatever is happening outside your front door is an optimistic move that will only end in heartbreak.

A day that is 55 degrees at lunchtime will turn to 34 degrees and freezing by nightfall. Had you decided to optimistically leave your home with bare ankles and an exposed clavicle area, you will find yourself pawing through the racks at the Gap down the street, looking for a length of knitted fabric to drape around your body lest you freeze to death. It is impossible to get dressed! Warm weather hasn’t yet caught up with the longer days, so the alluring sunshine you see striking the sidewalks at 6 PM doesn’t mean that it’s warm outside—it just means that it’s still light. For those who desire the ease and comfort of putting on one to two items of clothing and leaving the house unencumbered by burdensome layers, hats, muffs, and jumpers, the Ugly Time is a stressful time; those who love layering or who have spent much time in the Pacific Northwest or San Francisco thrive.

Yes, this happens every year, but that doesn’t mean it matters any less. (If anything it matters more.) Spring is a lie, “early spring” even more so, and the only truth that exists in this world is that the Ugly Time is real.