Sleeves of Secrets

I am a lover of all things Friends. I own a Friends soup mug, a special commemorative Friends book, and even a Friends board game, which I unfortunately have never been able to play, because I don’t know enough people (who know enough about the show) to survive a round with me.

In previous posts, I’ve analyzed which Friend works the most, I’ve made a word cloud of Phoebe’s music, and I’ve even done the impossible by sticking up for the pedantic critter that is Ross.

When I’m 108, I may no longer remember my name or what year it is – but I’ll probably still be able to rattle off a Chandler quote or two.

Dear God, this parachute is a knapsack! *Paws frantically at back.*

During one of my many Friends marathons, I started to notice something peculiar about the show, particularly in regards to the styles of clothes that the characters wear. In the wonderful, coffee-filled world of Friends-land, seasons and/or weather don’t appear to exist.

Take this scene from the final episode, for example. (I know, it hurts me, too.) Ross and Chandler are both wearing warm pullovers, and Monica and Phoebe are similarly dressed in jackets and high boots. Given these clothing items, one might assume that the weather outside is somewhat chilly.

But then these two jokers are dressed like it’s December in Texas. In other words, as though it’s 90 degrees outside.



I was going to show you more examples of the weather inappropriateness, but I stumbled upon another weird observation, and then my focus for this post shifted a little.

Observation #2: Ross wears a lot of long-sleeved shirts.


Like, a lot.

And just like that, the subject  of this post moved from the friends’ inability to dress for the seasons, to the curious monotony that is Ross’ wardrobe.

Sure, many of his clothes are simply appropriate for his line of work – after all, blazers and button-downs are a respectable look for a professor. But not all of his long-sleeved outfits can be considered…er…formal.


Now, I’m not trying to say that Ross NEVER wears short-sleeved shirts, because he does every now and then. But trust me when I say that his warmer stuff is seen much, much more often. If you have the show on Netflix or DVD, go back and watch five episodes of any season. I guarantee you he’s wearing long sleeves in 4 ½ of them.

The question is, WHY? Obviously, long sleeves are to be expected in the cooler months of the year. But Ross seems to wear them year-round, even when others are sporting more summery things.

What are you hiding, Ross Geller?

After some brainstorming, I’ve come up with a few theories to answer that question:

Theory 1: Ross is unusually sensitive to the cold
Perhaps our favorite paleontologist simply has poor blood circulation and is more susceptible to getting chilled. He needs the sleeves and layers to keep him all cozy and warm, like a baby bear. Granted, circulatory issues are seen more often in elderly folk than in young people, but maybe that explains why Ross and his high school librarian got along so well back in the day. Wink.

Further evidence for this theory: Ross’ reasoning for hating ice cream.


Theory 2: Ross is hiding some kind of skin abnormality
Something evil may be lurking under those sleeves. Maybe it’s eczema. Maybe it’s warts or boils. Maybe Ross is part reptile, and is shedding. Whatever it is, it probably embarrasses him, which is why he self-consciously hides under the pullovers.  It’s okay, Ross. Let us see your disgustingness. We want to see it.

Further evidence for this theory: Ross has a documented history of weird skin things.

“Just as I suspected – it’s a kundis.”

Theory 3: Ross takes his skin care routine very seriously
It’s possible that Ross is simply concerned about the health of his skin, and has chosen to protect his pasty white arms from the harsh rays of the sun. Of course, I’m not sure how much direct sunlight New Yorkers even get in the first place, but perhaps he wants to be extra cautious.

Further evidence for this theory: Ross has been known to use moisturizer on his face, and chooses spray tans over tanning booths.


Theory 4: Ross is hiding a regrettable tattoo
I know what you’re thinking – Ross doesn’t seem like the type of guy to get a tattoo, and there is that one episode where he slightly judges Phoebe and Rachel for getting them. The tattoo theory is probably the least likely of the four, BUT let’s not forget that Ross makes terrible decisions while drunk. He once let Rachel draw all over his face in marker, so it’s not a stretch to think that he might get himself more permanently inked – if he’d had enough to drink.

If Ross did get a tattoo, these would be the designs he’d most likely consider:

  1. A realistic-looking velociraptor, perhaps accompanied by the caption, “Dinos rule!”
  2. Two little lobsters holding claws
  3. “We were on a break” written in cursive script

Unfortunately, we may never know why Ross chooses to cover up his arms so often. If the writers and actors ever decide to do a reunion (which I sort of hope they don’t), perhaps they’ll address this important and confusing question for all of us.

11 thoughts on “Sleeves of Secrets

  1. Tyler

    Interesting theories but there are a few episodes (TOW Paul’s the Man & TOW spray tan) that we see Ross in a Tank top and then completely topless and he doesn’t have a tattoo or skin abnormality. I think it was just his character build ; he dressed for work and mostly wore suits and seemed to be a fan of button down long sleeve casual shirts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The tattoo theory was definitely the weakest, but still a fun concept haha. I didn’t include this in the post, but with the skin abnormality theory, I figured the issue might be something that can come and go, based on his habits, stress levels, etc. (kind of like acne does.)

      It’s definitely in Ross’ character to dress more professionally than the others – I just hadn’t realized short sleeves were THAT infrequent for him!


  2. Ross hits me as the kind of guy who is *always cold.* The kind who always wears more layers than everyone around him.

    Haha, too bad I can’t play your Friends game with you! I could probably hold my own. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ok first WHAT game???? We have Friends Scene It and I rule at it of course. No one ever wants to play it with me. 😦

    You should look for the game Quiz Up. I play it on my phone and there is a Friends category. You play it against people all over the world. It’s amazing how this show is loved everywhere!

    I thought for a long time that maybe he was a little chubby…or boney…the layers…ya know? Used to conceal some flaw. But that’s not the case given the spray tan episode and the one with the Frankie T-shirt. I guess we’ll never know.

    LOVED this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, I feel your pain! I would love to play something Friends-related with you, because it’d definitely be a showdown! 😀 The one I have is called Friends Trivia, and the board itself is of all of their apartments. I’m definitely going to look up Quiz Up! Thanks for the tip!

      Yeah, those long, thick sweaters definitely make it seem like he’s hiding a less-than-toned body, but the episodes where we see him shirtless, he’s not too shabby. Maybe if he DID have a skin issue, it’s just one that can come and go – like acne or something. Haha.


  4. Pingback: 6 Skin Care Mistakes You're Making That's Making Your Acne Worse

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