Thermostats up, seats down
Nov. 22, 2010
by Ivan Raconteur

I finally broke down and turned on the heat in the bachelor pad last week.

I consider it a victory when I can make it to mid-November without paying for heat. It is a bit like beating the system, at least temporarily.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not some sort of cold-loving freak. To me, the ideal temperature range is that which we experience in Minnesota in mid-September – most years. Warm afternoons and cool evenings are perfect.

However, I have to balance some of that comfort with balancing the old checkbook. If I can save a few shekels on heating bills, I will have that much more to spend on other things that are likely to be a lot more fun.

By dressing in layers, I can be quite comfortable down to a fairly brisk temperature. Fabrics such as fleece and Smartwool make it easy to stay toasty warm, even in chilly temperatures.

Not only can one save money on heating bills, but there are other benefits, as well.

For example, one can save a fortune on ice cubes. They melt much more slowly if one keeps the thermostat in check. One can have a few cocktails or beverages of one’s choice, rinse the ice, and if one promptly pops the beaker back into the ice box, the ice cubes will be good as new the next time. I once went a whole winter on one set of ice cubes.

In the end, as is so often the case, it was a woman who was my downfall.

She came to visit, you see, and in preparation for her arrival, I was forced to turn the heat up so she would be comfortable (I am frugal, not stupid).

We had a grand old time, but my ice cubes didn’t survive the campaign. I had to start a new set the next day.

It makes me chuckle when I think of how innocent I once was.

There was a time when I actually speculated that keeping my flat cool might make girls want to cozy up to a guy to keep warm.

As it turned out, that was one of those ideas that make sense in theory, but didn’t work out so well in practice.

The chill factor might inspire some girls to thoughts of coziness some of the time, but mostly it just makes them cranky.

A cool house is almost certain to derail any thoughts of canoodling one may have been harboring.

That brings us to another observation. The only reason I am able to keep the heat as low as I do, saving money and the environment along the way, is that I live alone.

Face it fellows, no guy, committed though he may be, is going to win the battle of the thermostat if he is living with a woman.

It is like that whole toilet seat thing. I would call it a toilet seat debate, but that would imply some chance of success. The odds of prevailing in the toilet seat and thermostat discussions are about the same as Davy Crocket and his pals had at the Alamo, and we all know how that worked out.

I am not suggesting that members of the fairer sex are weaker or less responsible, but generally speaking, they do not seem to be built to thrive in cooler climates. They like to be comfortable, and that includes keeping things balmy. I am not making a judgement here, simply an observation.

Now, a guy can try to turn the thermostat down if he is feeling brave, but if he is living with a lady, it will pop back up before he can say Jack Frost, with probably a few extra degrees added for emphasis.

That is why they make those locking female-foiling cages that fit over thermostats in offices and other public places.

There might be 99 guys working there who would never think of turning up the heat, but if there is one woman on board, up is where that thermostat is going to go, any time it is left unprotected.

One has noticed that men get a bad rap when it comes to things like remote controls. Some women say we aren’t happy unless we have control of the remote, and some have implied that we abuse this privilege.

Well, whether or not this is true, the charge is certainly true when it comes to women and thermostats. They (the women) are either too hot or too cold, and sometimes, they are inexplicably both at once.

A guy will put on another shirt if he is cold, or take one off if he is warm. A woman may do that, too, but if she has a choice, she will try to control the whole environment.

I finally caved and turned the heat on, but it is set at 60 degrees when I am home, and lower when I am not.

I could go lower than that, if it weren’t for my fingers. I spend a lot of my time typing, and I have never got the knack of typing with gloves on.

When the temperature drops below a certain point, the old phalanges quit working properly, and no quantity of extra shirts will change that. There is no alternative but to fire up the heat to keep things moving.

One hates to have to live in an artificial environment all winter, but spring will come eventually, so we have that going for us.

And, for the record, regarding the toilet seat thing, in the bachelor pad, the lid stays down. I was married for nearly 20 years, and there is some conditioning from which one never quite recovers.

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