Yes, I know: We women often experience thermal dissatisfaction. Men, you see, not only enjoy dining in 67 degrees Fahrenheit, but crank it up—which is to say down—to colder if there is a remote control handy. It’s the male metabolism or body fat or their apparel. Suits and jackets keep them warm. Studies have shown that it may be only our perception and our cold hands, not actual body temperature, that makes us complain. But I don’t care. It’s cold outside, and this is not a morgue, so why refrigerate me?
Mid-to-high 60s makes for a lovely ambient temperature out of doors, but requires a wrap for we of the chillier sex. I don’t always remember to bring one when dining out, especially when it’s torrid weather outside. And in this transitional, temperate autumn, it’s too easy to think that the indoor (restaurant/movie theater/bus/train/lecture hall/museum/dairy aisle) will remember to make adjustments as the weather is cooler.
Fine-tuning seems to take a directive from on high, from management, to turn off the A.C. Sometimes, while asking a waitperson if he or she could adjust the temperature to livable, I say very nicely, “Ordinarily I’d have white wine with my filet of sole, but it’s a little cold in here so I’ll have red. Or hot tea.”
Sometimes I appeal to the visual clues: “Have you noticed that almost all the women are eating with their coats on?”
They have not noticed. But many waiters are not only male but in motion and thus are comfortable in their frigid work environment. And then there’s is the universal thermostatic belief that hosts and hostesses embrace: “When the room fills up,” counsels the manager or owner or event coordinator, “it’ll be warmer.” Yes, and I will be, too, after I borrow a sweater.
And how about your friends’ cars? There are two of them up front, happily ignoring the digital readout of 63 degrees, fan at full throttle. Luckily, it’s a station wagon, so my suitcase is reachable and I’ve packed something woolen.
I once froze, sitting in the balcony, to see a play (Urinetown: The Musical, winner of three Tony awards)—so cold that I considered running back to my hotel to get a sweater. I must have so internalized the chill that a few nights later, I dreamed that I ran back to my hotel to get a sweater. I mentioned this to a playwright friend of mine, and he said matter-of-factly, “Cold for comedy.”
“Huh?” I asked.
“You won’t laugh as much if you’re warm and drowsy,” he explained.
Wanna bet? I can be warm and wide awake; I can give a Tony to a play that lets me leave the shawl at home.
And may I raise my climate concerns? Environment 360 reports that “an air conditioner causes more greenhouse emissions when pushing heat out of a house than does a furnace when putting the same quantity of heat into a house.”
Are you going to remind me of the perspiring middle-aged ladies, desperately fanning themselves a few rows ahead of you? Okay, we have those moments, too.
But may I move to another table? I’m right next to the vent and the overhead fan that is also unnecessary in October. Could we make it a little toastier in here?
And while you’re at it, could you turn down the music?