The Luv Doc: Frozen
Plenty of people love a good schvitz!
Dear Luv Doc,
Since my company made the switch to remote officing a few years ago, I have been working from home 3-4 days a week. At first I wasn't sure I would like the isolation, but after a while, I got very comfortable with making my own hours, dressing however I wanted, and designing my ideal workspace. Then the pandemic hit and my husband also started telecommuting. I have adjusted to the new situation well. Thankfully we both have separate rooms, and we can have privacy if we need it. There is one really big problem though, and I don't know how to solve it. He likes to keep the house freezing cold because he is a big, sweaty guy, which means I am constantly shivering all day. When I complain, he tells me to put on more clothes – which I do, but then I feel stuffy and uncomfortable. It seems silly and wasteful for me to have to buy a space heater to counteract my husband's thermostat setting, so I asked him to meet me halfway, but he won't even consider it. Even though it seems trivial, his refusal to budge on this is making me resentful. What's your advice? Is he being unreasonable or am I?
I'm on your side, Frozen. At some point your husband has to start taking responsibility for his own thermoregulation. Ceding control of the thermostat to a sweaty person is madness. Where does it end? I'll tell you where it ends: a group of horrified paramedics chiseling you out of a layer of home office permafrost saying, "If we could have gotten to her a few months ago, the skin wouldn't look so leathery and dessicated." You don't want to become some crystallized trail marker/waypoint that your husband's next wife uses to locate the closet full of air conditioning filters – like green boots on Mt. Everest. It's time to put your foot down, climatologically speaking, before you lose it to frostbite.
Yes, you can bundle up and deploy a megawatt array of space heaters around your workspace, but it would be equally easy for your husband to buy a Borat slingshot thong, an industrialized mister fan, and a few hundred square feet of 5-mil plastic sheeting (you know, to catch sweat or fainters). If he complains, remind him that you have already logged a few thousand hours of martyrdom and it's time for him to catch up. It's not like you're asking him to suffer anyway. Plenty of people love a good schvitz! Ever see a cold room at your local gym? Of course not! Gyms have maybe five rooms total, and temperaturewise, coldest to hottest, they rank like this: 1) air-conditioned weight room, 2) air-conditioned spin class, 3) steam room, 4) sauna, 5) gym day care center (universally referred to by epidemiologists as "The Hot Zone"). So, at a place devoted to good health, only two out of the five rooms even have air-conditioning. If that doesn't convince your husband of the benefits of a warm environment, I don't know what will. Maybe Sun City? Nobody ever retires to Ice City. Let that sink in.
That said, before you start giving your husband the cold shoulder, remember that the cornerstone of all good relationships is compromise, so make an effort to be patient while your husband compromises on the thermostat settings. Maybe ease him into the land of the living slowly by dialing the thermostat up to, say, 72, and then see if his movements become torporous and lethargic. You might also suggest that he back off the bacon, steaks, bugers, bourbon, and butter coffee for a hot sec to see if his overheating might have dietary origins. If you want a truly healthy relationship, you're going to have to leave no stone unturned. Besides, bad things hide under stones: snakes, spiders, scorpions, corpses. Flip those rocks and watch the critters scurry! Let the sunshine in and the heat will follow!