The Politics of Being Cold

It’s been a long winter. Then again, any winter that lasts beyond, say, January 10 seems long to me. This season I was quite the trooper, if I do say so myself. Every snowfall, I had to admit, looked exquisite. I conceded that winter was just a necessary part of the cycle, and I had a measure of acceptance.

Yesterday it was supposed to have been in the low 60’s (Fahrenheit). I went out with a light car coat, no hat, no gloves. I did wear a light scarf around my neck, a color to match the coat so it wouldn’t be as obvious. Why? Because I knew nearly everyone else would be walking around with a sweater or light windbreaker, possibly shorts. I didn’t want to look like the total weather wuss that I am, unable to keep warm if the thermometer dips below 70 degrees.

I’ve noticed an oddity in American work places. Those in positions of authority (and those aspiring to such positions) tend to profess to being hot even in a 65 degree room. They make a point of drawing it to everyone’s attention, complaining about the heat, fanning themselves, throwing open the windows or blasting the air conditioning.

Being cold is just not cool. It implies weakness, a lack of prowess, an inability to withstand daily pressures. If you want to look tough in the workplace, it is strictly forbidden to complain about the cold. Complain about the heat all you want; that shows you’re a vibrant, hot-blooded leader. But don’t you dare whimper about being cold.

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