It is warm in here?

Robert Roe

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Robert Roe was unable to submit a column this week so we are rerunning one of his previous columns.)

When one thinks of history’s great sky battles, the Battle of Britain, Mig Alley and Operation Linebacker II come to mind. Yet the Big Blue Yonder is not the only place where air skirmishes occur. Mine happens to take place in the office.

I’m cool. No, not in the Steve McQueen-Marlon Brando-Fonzi sort of way. I mean I currently have the office temperature at a comfortable level. To me, at least. And only for the moment. In a world full of wars, this one might not be on a scale of the ones that really matter. Yet it is one that I know a lot of you fight. Every. Single. Day.

Personally, I like to have the thermostat at home and at work set to seventy degrees or lower. The cooler, the better. Which often puts me at odds with many members of the opposite sex, who apparently like the atmosphere to be just a degree below boiling.

Reminiscent of the days of the Romans, my gladiatorial prize is control of the thermostat. Those of us in the office are like cubicle – bound combatants racing around, akin to warriors in chariots, fighting for the lead in a race that, in the end, has no victor.

My camp’s side is Team Ice. In our group, a cozy chill permeates the air. The Opposition is Team Blast Furnace. Not exactly Hell, but you can see it from there.

On the local battlefield, moves are made surreptitiously. A notch up of the thermostat here, two ticks down there…a climatic stalemate where, like in global matters, peace is elusive.

I imagine this war of the sexes is a holdover from caveman days, when Grog and Cro-Magda fought over the comfort level of the cave. After kicking Grog out (where he was promptly eaten by a dinosaur), Cro-Magda kicked up the fire, living out her days in toasty relaxation.

However, thanks to science, the barometrical mystery has been solved. And, to no ones surprise, the fault lies in man. Not mankind, but the male of the species.

According to the journal Nature Climate Change, blame can be placed squarely in the lap of guys. Gotta take a quick detour and tell this joke one more time. If a man says something in the forest and his wife isn’t around to hear him, is he still wrong? Now back to the story.

Thanks to a formula devised a half century ago, women are getting the short end of the mercury. The study showed temperatures in a lot of office buildings are based on an equation developed in the 1960s that employs the resting metabolic rate of 154-pound, 40-year-old man.

I invite you to do a face palm when you learn that same formula holds true in a lot of workplaces today, although the male-to-female ratio has changed dramatically. Women comprise half of today’s workforce-and air space.

According to the study, females like the average temperature at home and in the office to be 77 degrees, compared to 71.6 degrees for men. And I thought the fight between paper or plastic was a chasm too wide to bridge.

Is there a solution to this tempest in a thermometer? Probably not. Perhaps the only way to keep the battle from heating up is to stay cool.

Robert Roe