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I’ve been cold since 1983 | Column

by | October 5, 2019 5:00 pm

Last Updated: October 2, 2019 at 3:43 pm

I’ve been cold since 1983.

I’m cold in grocery stores. I’m cold at work. I’m cold at the gym. I’m cold in church. I’m cold at concerts, the movies and auto dealerships. I’m cold in banks, restaurants, taverns and all retail stores. Worst of all, I’m cold in my house.

Allow me to emphasize: COLD IN MY OWN HOUSE.

The one place on earth that everyone agrees should be a warm, comfortable refuge, is about as cozy as a crypt.

This is because my husband, Widdle Baby, has been hot since 1978. His hot trumps my cold for reasons he can’t quite explain, but are nonetheless valid. Not.

“I’m cold,” I whine.

“Get a blanket,” he replies. “Or eat some soup.” Because what I really want in August is a steaming bowl of chicken broth.

Make no mistake, men: You are the problem, you and your higher metabolism and bigger muscles.

Women always feel cold because we always ARE cold. Here’s why:

According to thelist.com, men’s metabolic rates are about 23 percent higher than women’s. This is totally unfair, akin to when guys lose 15 pounds by cutting out bread for three days.

Women have less blood in our extremities.  The body reacts to cold by constricting the blood vessels in your hands and feet to redirect blood (and heat) towards your core, keeping your vital organs toasty and your fingers frostbitten.

Women do have larger fat stores (thanks, estrogen), which can add warmth—but fat doesn’t insulate as well as muscle. And, surprise! Men have more muscle mass too.

I’ve always had low blood pressure—great for overall health, not so great for standing up fast. I’ve swooned in 47 states and Canada. It happens so often WIddle doesn’t bat an eye when I get up from the sofa, take a step and slump dramatically over a chair.

Low blood pressure is also not great for circulation, which means my hands and feet are always freezing. And by “freezing” I mean “mottled and numb.” It’s one of the reasons I’ve never had a pedicure: The nail tech would touch my toes and scream or start CPR.

There’s more: When you combine a tendency to be cold with a diagnosis of hypothyroidism (like moi), you get deep freeze, like your bones are made of ice.

At home, I want temps in the low 70s, but not Widdle. Several times daily he stages a thermostat coup, setting it on “icebox” or whatever temperature makes HIM comfortable. Is this fair? The man outweighs me by 90 pounds. Of course he’s going to sweat faster than me.

Still, it’s worse in public. When it’s 85 degrees outside, I go to work wearing a sweater, wool socks and boots. And it’s not just me. Every working woman I know keeps a sweater in her desk or on her chair.

That’s because office “thermal comfort models” are designed for clothing insulation levels, i.e., men wearing suits.  Suits are warm. Women’s blouses, skirts, and slacks generally are not. Guys, this is what all the shivering is about. This is why we have heaters under desks, scarves stashed in drawers, and use hand warmers made for duck hunters. (OK, maybe that’s just me.)

But there may be hope, at least on the home front.

Just when I’d resigned myself to being frozen forever, a miracle happened. Last night Widdle was huddled on the sofa, staring at me.

“What?”

He blinked and swallowed. “I feel…. cold,” he said.

Y’all, it’s karma. Or else the apocalypse is nigh.

Julie R. Smith, who walks around her house with a blanket, can be reached at widdleswife@aol.com.

 

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