The Courier-Mail

Give the office the cold shoulder


TO SOME, it was the story that vindicated their years of suffering. For me, it was just another indication that I’m so in touch with my feminine side that my personal theme song should be I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar.

While I’m as blokeyblok­e as the next Aussie bloke, if the next Aussie bloke’s idea of a good time is sitting back with a nice cup of tea and an audio book of historical fiction to rock away a Friday night, I find myself playing for the other side in the recent tale of misogynist­ic office culture that is played out as the real cold war.

The story, in case you missed it, was that Professor Boris Kingma, of Maastricht University, found that female office workers were left out in the cold when it comes to office airconditi­oning.

In short, he found that women have a lower metabolic rate than men, and hence find the normal office airconditi­oner temperatur­e of 22C too cold, whereas men find it just right. With nothing but respect for Professor Kingma, the research is either faulty or I am – and I’m hoping it’s the research.

Now I might be a guy who cries at the drop of a hat, lists Gilmore Girls as a favourite show and has a flair for cake decorating, but that doesn’t mean they’ve taken away my man card. At least, not yet.

But when it comes to feeling the cold in the office, I’m more chilled than the Snow Queen.

There is a period of several months where you will always find me at my desk wearing a sweater vest.

It’s like duck season but less fashionabl­e, and it’s not just a work thing.

The dashboard of our car is a battlefiel­d between my wife and me, as she prefers to keep the air at subzero levels while I opt for something closer to the feel of someone panting hot air on your neck. Fortunatel­y, when I take the train at peak hour, that’s exactly the experience.

There is an invisible line down our bed, with the toasty doona on one side and the dismal doona on the other.

I love the beach as much as the next Queensland­er, but there is only about one week of the year where it’s warm enough for me to swim. Some people have a puffy jacket. I have three, and sometimes wear them all at once looking like the Michelin Man, with my body temporaril­y selfinflat­ed as much as my ego.

The reason could be I have bad circulatio­n. Or that I’m a sensitive type.

If it’s chilly at the glass ceiling, then I’m feeling the force of a frustrated feminist.

It’s time to apply the heat and turn up those office dials to 25C. When it comes to the never-ending treadmill of office work, I need to be hot to trot.

To the women who read the work of Professor Kingma and thought, “I’ve been saying that for years”, I’m with you sister.

Sure, I’m just a man with cold hands to offset my warm heart, but when it comes to office politics, I’m the spy who wants to come in from the cold.

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