This morning I sat in the Man Repeller offices—in the thick of Bad Summer—with the AC set to 76 degrees Fahrenheit. It was comfortable, but a tad chilly. I proceeded to unwrap a melty Reese’s cup I procured from the kitchen, which sits at a balmy 79 degrees, and scraped the peanut butter off the paper wrapping with my teeth because I’m *not* an animal just a woman who likes to finish the job.
Then I read this tweet, based on this report, which claims these temps are optimal for energy efficiency:
How cool do you keep your house?
New report our shows these as the recommended temps for energy efficiency:
• 78° F when you’re home
• 85° F when you’re at work or away
• 82° F when you’re sleeping pic.twitter.com/iNOSaqX35c
— Jennifer Titus (@jenntitus10) August 19, 2019
I have affection for a warm space, but I was QUAKING at how high that number looked. I imagined myself in a pool of my own sweat, a room surrounded by hellfire. But then I did the math: I like to sleep in temps around 76-77 degrees Fahrenheit. I like to exist in temps around 78-79 degrees Fahrenheit. That temperature range is my happy place. I can be cold in a breeze on a hot summer day. At family gatherings in southern California, I have a reserved space in front of the fireplace or space heater. TL;DR: I run cold.
My parents, meanwhile, run hot. On a recent trip to Maine, where the temps were largely cool and tranquil, my parents complained of roasting alive in their rooms at night, while I slept like a babe. Our shared space has always been a battle.
Even at the Man Repeller offices, the temperature is a war silently waged between those who are too chilled and those who are too toasty. I’ve watched the thermostat rise and fall in clandestine movements every day this summer. After dropping the above tweet into a Man Repeller Slack channel, Leandra wrote: “There are AC people in this world—mostly American—and not—mostly Euro. My brother in law needs to sleep in 62, it is incredibly offensive.” Gyan, our Australian managing editor chimed in saying, “Not one of my friends in Sydney has AC. I’d never had it until moving here.” Resident Brit, Jasmin, wrote, “I’m not a fan of AC either, only when really necessary.”
People. Have. Feelings! (About temperature.)
I look at this tweet and its subsequent responses (Anger! Frustration! Suspicion! Mockery! Lols!) as being indicative of the human condition: Temperature regulation is something humankind will never agree on. It’s something that is measured by an individual’s multitudes (genetics, culture, body, socioeconomic privilege, etc.), not to mention our collective relationship with the planet.
But it will always, always be a source of co-habitational strife.
Do you run hot or cold? Are you waging a temp war at home or at work? Are you an AC person or a no-AC person? These are the questions that keep me up (and perfectly regulated) at night.
Graphic by Dasha Faires.