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Thermostat Wars

Thermostat Wars

A few years ago, when Valentine’s Day fell on a Saturday, I decided to host a dinner party to rescue a few friends from restaurant ridiculousness on the annual dining-out-is-mandatory night.

I set a table with red plates and a heart-shaped centerpiece. As a classy touch I sprinkled conversation heart candies on the tablecloth. Then I prepared one of the few dishes I can manage without poisoning guests: Salmon.

I thought everything was going swimmingly during the cocktail hour. The novelty drinks - Cosmos probably, I can’t remember - were a hit. Hors d’oeuvres were being passed and inhaled.  

So I quietly retreated to the kitchen to do last-minute food prep. 

That’s when my best buddy came in and pulled me aside.

“Don’t get mad,” she whispered, "but do you think you could turn the thermostat up a notch?"

“I knew to wear long underwear, but the rest of your guests are huddled around the fireplace.”

I peeked into the living room and sure enough, the women were warming their hands over the gas logs and men were standing with their derrieres pointed at the hearth.

Geez, bundle up. It’s February, I thought to myself. Who wears sleeveless dresses in the dead of winter?

Then I remembered that I was the hostess. It was my job to make sure my guests were comfy even if I was swimming in sweat. I nudged the temperature up a degree or two - to 70 - and just like that, everyone moved away from the flames.

It was a reminder that not everyone likes to chill. 

Funny, I love summer with all its heat and humidity. I exercise in the middle of the day. I go to the beach and stretch out in the noonday sun. I sit on my screened porch and drink iced tea even when it’s 90 in the shade. 

But inside my house? I like it just north of Anchorage.  

I read somewhere - or one of my friends told me - that the perfect sleeping temperature is 64 degrees. As a lover of science, I try to keep my house in the 65-68 range. Summer and winter.

Unfortunately, the lizards I live with are constantly playing with the thermostat. I set it at 68. They secretly move it to 71. Or an unbearable 72. Or, if I go away for a few days, 74.

There ought to be a rule that the person who likes the climate the coolest gets to control the indoor temperature.

After all, everyone can add layers. You can only strip down so far.

What made me think of this? Seems thermostat wars are not confined to families and married couples. 

Actress Cynthia Nixon, who’s challenging Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic nomination for governor of New York in September, is worried that the incumbent is going to freeze her out at their one and only debate, scheduled for tonight at Hofstra University.

The New York Times got hold of a stern email sent by one of Nixon’s advisors that accuses Cuomo of favoring “notoriously sexist” room temperatures.

“…in a pre-emptive strike, Rebecca Katz, a top strategist for Ms. Nixon, asked WCBS-TV in an email last week that the debate hall be warmed to 76 degrees," reported the Times.

“Ms. Katz wrote that working conditions are ‘notoriously sexist when it comes to room temperature, so we just want to make sure we’re all on the same page here'."

SEVENTY SIX degrees? That's not a debate hall. That's a sauna.

This woman is 52. Has she never heard of hot flashes? In my experience, it’s middle-aged females who like to keep cool. It’s guys who want to be toasty. 

Learning that Governor America-Was-Never-That-Great Cuomo likes a refrigerated room endeared him to me. It may be the only thing we agree on.

Memo to Ms. Nixon: There’s nothing sexist about not wanting to debate while dripping in perspiration. 

If you’re cold, toss on a sweater.

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