Hot or not? Discovering gender 
differences in heat tolerance no sweat

Whenever I see an excessive heat warning on the news, I assume they’re warning us about people who whine about the excessive heat.

It’s been my experience that the people that complain the loudest are the least eligible to do so. Rather than landscapers or patrolmen, the biggest complainers are usually the cubicle-dwellers whose only outdoor exposure is 30 seconds opening the door for the pizza delivery man. These typically are the same people who spent the winter whining about the cold — meaning there’s only a very small window in the year when they are somewhat content (April 7th, 3:32 p.m.)

My normally pleasant wife is miserable living in this heat. Or maybe she’s just miserable living with me. Let’s go with the heat on this one. She’s always been heat intolerant, to the point where I’m convinced she’d only be happy in a place where the most common line of work is being a Sherpa.

She’s hot-blooded, which, contrary to its name, means you love cold weather. Scientifically speaking, warm-blooded organisms are called “homeotherms,” and, as you may have heard, they have recently been granted the right by the Supreme Court to marry.

In addition to my spouse, many other animals are warm-blooded, such as great white sharks. Not that I’m comparing my wife to a great white shark. While both can frighten you and insist on eating seafood, a great white shark won’t make you go to a baby shower.

The last couple of summers she’s either been nursing or pregnant, so she’s had that built-in excuse. Pregnant women get all the breaks. They can eat as much as they want and complain about the heat and you, as a man, just have to sit there and listen, which is perfectly fine because you’ll take that over having to spend 18 painful grueling hours in what is, in essence, an 8-pound bowel movement.

A few years ago in July when Marie was pregnant and hot, I decided to be a good husband and took her to the mountains to cool down. At that point we had been together nine years, which is well past the point in a relationship where you’re afraid of hurting the other person’s feelings. She informed me that my plan was a dud and that she was still hot. “We’re at 10,000 feet,” I told her. “I can’t take you much higher. I don’t think they allow women who are seven months’ pregnant to summit Everest.”

“Well, they should,” she said.

And I just nodded, because I’ve learned that disagreeing even slightly with a hormonally charged pregnant woman is not beneficial to your physical well-being. (Just so we’re clear, I’m not saying that Marie assaulted me. In fact, all of the charges were dropped).

Her excuse for her heat intolerance is her upbringing. She reminded me about how her family was from Gunnison, and how she spent so much time there and how living in extremely cold weather makes one more sensitive to the heat. These are really good lines if you’re talking to someone from, say, Panama. However, I grew up in Granby. We would go to Gunnison to warm up.

Research on human thermoregulation says that women tend to sweat less than men due in equal parts to human evolution and a multi million-dollar marketing campaign from Secret deodorant.

This also makes them smarter. According to an article in Scientific Americana, the brain is an organ, and since it takes less energy for warm-blooded people to warm up, more energy is allocated to their brains. Meaning: People who like colder weather tend to be smarter. And I know this is probably true, because I couldn’t get past the word “organ” without giggling like a 13 year-old boy.

What I do know is that this extreme heat will pass, and it will get cool again.

At least, that’s what our Sherpa tells us.

Reach Steve at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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