I get a Snuggie! Then give it away!

It started innocently enough as a trip to Best Buy to pick up a few electronics gifts for my teenage son. By the time I left the store, I was equipped to conduct secretive raids on Taliban strongholds while enjoying hands-free comfort and warmth.

I impulse-bought a Snuggie while standing in line at the check-out. Not just any Snuggie, mind you, but one printed in a classic camouflage pattern.

Like the entire civilized world as well as several adjacent planets that get cable, I was familiar with “The Blanket That Has Sleeves!” from its ubiquitous and intentionally corny television advertisements. Long before I joined the trend Friday, more than 4 million Snuggies and another million or so “Slankets” — a bastard relative that you can wear without becoming dehydrated by excessive perspiration — had been sold. Marketing gurus who realized that combining a desire to stay toasty while making a kitschy fashion statement was a formula for success in these ironic times have made manufacturers millions of dollars since the product was introduced in 2008.

(It is important to note here that, while additional knock-offs go by the name “Snuggler,” “Toasty Wrap,” “Cuddlee” and “Freedom Blanket,” do not make the mistake of ordering a “Snugli.” This is a completely different product that also requires the purchase of an infant, who is hung on display from your chest. I suppose you could use the baby-hauling Snugli as a Snuggie for a small amount of warmth, but would not recommend vice-versa usage unless your baby is really tiny and can fit in the small Snuggie pocket reserved for the TV remote.)

For those of you trapped in a Chilean mine or holed up in an deep-woods lair for the past several years, the Snuggie is a body-length blanket with sleeves, usually made of fleece, and similar in design to a bathrobe except worn backwards. Models pictured on the box I bought show that you can enjoy a hand-held game, answer the phone or even play cards while wearing the Snuggie, tasks that would be otherwise impossible while wearing other cold-weather gear. More vigorous activity — rodeo events, scaling Mt. Everest, chairing the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee, or going to the kitchen for a drink — are not recommended, despite my above-stated desire to assist in the War on Terror.

Proclaimed the “ultimate kitsch gift” by the Associated Press, consumers have (wink-wink) fallen in love with the Snuggie. The cast and crew of NBC’s Today Show all donned the Snuggie for a segment in which they were described as looking like a gospel choir. Mass Snuggie-wearing has appeared in pub crawls and at large sporting events. Earlier this year, over 22,000 fans showed up at a Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game to claim the “world record for sleeved blanket wearing” (and they wonder why LeBron left), which was broken a month later when 40,000 spectators wore the outfit to a Los Angeles Angels baseball game. And just last week, the lame-duck session of Congress passed the massive tax-cut compromise while wearing Snuggies.

The display I selected my purchase from offered two designs: the camouflage print I chose and another version covered in pink and yellow peace signs. Seems both warmongers and peaceniks alike could make a statement about their politics and worldview, in addition to the statement that they are complete idiots for spending $19.99 on what is basically a slightly thicker, slightly furrier, slightly larger plastic dry-cleaning bag.

Later that evening, after I smuggled the Snuggie into my home past a spouse whose respect I had hoped to maintain, I began to feel a slight chill and wanted to try out my new purchase. I reminded Beth there were several items we needed at the grocery store and, as I watched her drive away, I broke open the box. The Snuggie was a massive swath of fleece (a.k.a. 100% polyester, according to the fine print in the corner of the box), measuring four-and-a-half-by-six-feet. I flung the piece about like a manic matador, trying to figure what was up, what was down, and what was that static crackling sound that was lighting up my bedroom like a late-summer thunderstorm?

I finally found the armholes and donned the garment. My first impulse was to break into a Gregorian chant, since I felt suddenly monk-y. The next impression I got was that I was in a military hospital and had just put on one of those backless hospital gowns. Drafts swirled up my back as I did my best to gather the voluminous drapery that hung from me on all sides. I cinched and tucked the fabric as best I could, and settled into a favorite TV-watching chair, just waiting for the bliss to kick in.

You may not be able to tell amidst all the camouflage, but it's me wearing a Snuggie!

What has made the Snuggie such a success is the fact that at first blush, it really is quite comfortable and warming. With just my head and hands protruding from the mound of camouflage I had become, I was a cozy camper, snug as a bug on a drug that gives you night sweats. But it only took a few minutes to realize the advantage of breathable fabrics versus the disadvantage of being virtually shrink-wrapped in plastic. What had started out as toasty comfort very quickly evolved into what I imagine yellow fever feels like.

I peeled the Snuggie off the front of my chest as it hissed in protest, and thought I might try wearing it like a conventional robe, with the opening in the front. Again, a few minutes of inviting comfort was quickly followed by a fast-forming prickly heat rash starting at the base of my neck and working its way toward my lower back. Pinning the synthetic fleece between my skin and a leatherette Barcalounger gave me a few ideas for possible  nuclear-fusion-inspired energy research but little in the way of relaxation.

By now on the verge of heat stroke, I stripped off the Snuggie, gasped for air and slung it over the back of a nearby chair, never to be worn by me again. I may keep it around in case I ever need to start a fire, as I imagine it’s as flammable as a pile of kindling. Or maybe I’ll toss it in the back of my car, in case I ever get that job as ice-road trucker I’ve always dreamed about. Or maybe I’ll hold onto it as an investment, in case world polyester prices spike and I can cash in on the ensuing bubble.

Or maybe I’ll give it to a friend at work. Arnie is an occasional hunter, and would probably appreciate the camouflage design. He’s also a big fan of taking advantage of recycled merchandise, from out-of-date foods at the local discount grocery store to half-disassembled hi-fi’s from the Goodwill shop. And, he told me once, he absolutely loves to sweat like a farm animal in the noon-time heat of a South Carolina August.

My Snuggie can provide all this and more …

These guys stay toasty while apparently joining each other on the can

You can also wear the camouflage version while fishing, though don't expect anyone to find your body if you slip off the bank and into the river

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3 Responses to “I get a Snuggie! Then give it away!”

  1. Mel Says:

    Camo while fishing, oh it makes so much sense! Wait, not really…

  2. Paul Dixon Says:

    O…M…G…!

    Not only did you buy an ugly Snuggie, but you just went and told the world about it.

    At this point, your best bet would be to pack it back up and send it to an Afghan soldier (who presumably won’t be wearing an Afghan). When the Taliban see it, they will die laughing.

    There ya go. A silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

  3. The Dude Says:

    Haha, I made the mistake of getting one of these travesties last Christmas. I wish mine was camoflage, maybe it would hide me from the governments tactical snuggie air-to-surface missile strikes. Instead, it was faded beige… A color reserved for old cows and cheap stucco. I completely understand the enveloping sauna minutes after putting the thing on. Imagine falling to sleep before you realize that falling asleep with it on is a bad idea. I woke up 8 lbs lighter, and my bed and surrounding floor was soaked with perspiration.

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