Then there are the societal expectations around “what it means to be a man.”
“Umbrellas are for protection,” Klapow says. “Men often interpret protection from the weather as a subtle sign of weakness. Social norms dictate that men shouldn’t be afraid of getting wet, should embrace the elements, and don’t need protection. As antiquated as this may sound, it still rings true for many men. ‘Real men don’t need an umbrella, because real men aren’t afraid of the rain.’”
This belief can be seen in the US Marine policy that didn’t allow male Marines to carry umbrellas — but did let female Marines carry them — until November 2019. The official reasoning was that an umbrella could hinder the Marine’s ability to salute. But the fact that they allowed women to carry umbrellas, as long as it was carried in their left hand, hints at a deeper societal belief that men don’t need protection but women do.
Which brings us back to the under-umbrella cuddle. Cute? Yes. But also annoying? For sure. And if you’re a man and you’re refusing to use an umbrella, Klapow says you don’t get an umbrella. Period.