Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

Great Word: friolera


ES → friolero, -ra — Muy sensible al frío. [Very sensitive to cold.]

Friolera is a good word. One of the things I like about it is that the English equivalent doesn’t do it justice. You could say “temperature-sensitive” or “a wimp about cold” which are close, but friolera has a dose of “always complaining about the weather and/or temperature” in the word too. It’s not a compliment or a neutral adjective by any means. It’s the nice way of expressing that someone is a pain in the ass, temp-wise.

I am friolera; hear me shiver!

I am friolera; hear me shiver!

I am friolera of a special caliber, “special” in the Spanish sense which is yet another way of saying “pain in the ass.” On the Fahrenheit scale, I am comfortable between 74 and 78 degrees (23-26 C°). It’s not a very big range, but anything above that leads to me sweating profusely, getting over-heated and eventually Hulking out, rage-wise. Below that and I start doing things like wearing fleece hats and scarves indoors and sometimes I’ll get a chill up my back which will park itself along my spine and I’ll shiver sporadically and not be comfortable all day.

In early November, I was talking to my mother about the weather locally where she lives in Spain compared with mine and I told her that I was already sleeping with the fleece blanket under the duvet and wearing long sleeves and pants and socks to bed. She said something dismissive like, “You always did get cold easier than everyone else” but I didn’t take it personally. My mother is Spanish and I think we’ve clearly established that Spaniards are assholes, just by their nature. (I am not exempt from this rule.)

The weather has gotten nice enough that I’ve moved the fleece blanket from inside to outside my duvet, but I’m still in that window of time where I am regularly wearing a hat, scarf and gloves while the lunatics around me are in shorts. I get a lot of strange looks from people but I just smile at them and walk on because I know something they clearly don’t: adults look like idiots in shorts.

For the record

You can call someone friolera in French too: frileux, frileuseQui témoigne d’une grande sensibilité au froid. [One who claims a great sensitivity to cold.]


Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

5 thoughts on “Great Word: friolera

  1. I love this word! Now I just need more Spanish -speaking friends to use it with…

    • Happy you like it, but sad that you think you need Spanish speakers to use it. Inject some foreign words into the spice of everyone’s life (it makes life more fun). Plus, eventually, we’ll all be speaking a big language mash-up; best to get started early.

  2. Well, I am not be as “frileuse” than you but I much prefer the warm weather though my range is a bit wider, especially in the upper limit. We are just back from Israel where the temperature went up to 37C and it was heaven though I did sweat profusely. (Suzanne)

    • Even though I’m frilora, I will ALWAYS choose cold over hot weather. It’s easy to get warm/comfortable, but cooling down from being hot can take me hours. Plus, even I find that I’m incredibly unpleasant to be around when I sweat. So far, rain excepted, I think the weather this far north is quite pleasant. It was hot maybe three days last summer but still cool in the shade. (My trip to Petra must be carefully planned as being in the desert is something I will surely not like.)

      • As for Petra, you could chose to go in the winter. It can get pretty cold in the desert at that time and it probably wouldn’t have as many tourists. I would certainly not recommend you go from April to September if you don’t tolerate heat. We were lucky as the temperature didn’t rise above 34C in Petra when it could have been almost 40C when we went!

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