News / Opinion / Columns
It’s long been known that men are winning the workplace heating and cooling battle.
Office temperatures are routinely set for (and by!) the average 40-year-old man in a suit, and have been thus since the benchmark was decided in 1966.
Even if you ignore the heaps of research, simply ask any female employee who has ever gone outside to defrost herself on a summer’s day, or hunkered down in winter with a blanket and a hot water bottle, like a Dickens character as she types wearing fingerless gloves. Like I am right now, because it’s gone decidedly wintery here in Dublin. And yet I live with a snowman who fears melting if the house gets at all warm.
He insists it’s not cold (it’s currently 6O°C at midday). Travelling with him in the early days of our relationship one sticky New York summer, I caught a cold.
It was 34 degrees outside, while in our hotel the aircon was set at 16. He wiggled the in-room thermostat, not to make it warmer, but because 16 was as low as it went, which wasn’t cold enough. You want it cold? He wants it colder. Still, he owns no shorts, no flip-flops, no sensible summer clothes.
On Christmas in Benoni he puts on a waistcoat along with leather boots, denims and a long-sleeved shirt. Then he complains about the heat. It’s funny … until it’s not.
Now the controller on the heater in our lounge has been broken off, and the only reason I can see for this mysterious damage is radiator rage, vehemently denied, but I have witnessed the frowning and the angry adjusting too often not to suspect otherwise. Happily it’s been broken so it’s permanently switched on and the lounge is toasty.
Home temperatures are routinely decided by men, and family car aircon too. Women, who feel colder faster, are expected to suck it up. However, it’s not just our comfort that’s at stake, women are proven to perform better in warmer temperatures. And ultimately, if everyone’s wearing light clothing and not physically active, the difference in optimal temperature is only a matter of degrees, 22 for men, and 25 for women.
Yet men prevail.
“Put on a jersey,” they say.
What, on top of the three I’m already wearing?
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