Today in Sweatiquette, our summer advice column, we get another spate of air conditioning debates — dividing the bill with an A.C.-happy roommate; saying no to sex when there's no A.C. — plus, how to work a sweater in the summer; and how to handle first-date sweat.
Air Conditioning Round Two
My roommate and I have air conditioners in each of our rooms. She works from home and uses hers all the time; I barely use mine. I've asked her to be careful but it doesn't seem to change anything. We got the bill this week, and it's double what it usually is. What can I do? —Broke and Hot
This is rough, but know, at least, that you're not alone. Tons of people are bound to face exactly this problem in these wild and crazy urban roommate situations we embrace! But having a roommate ideally means you should end up with less of a financial burden, not more of one. If it's costing you more money to live with someone else than it would for you to live alone, that's a sign you've got something untenable going on. First, take a look at how you guys split other bills. Is it pretty even-steven, down the middle? Do you or your roommate end up taking on more than her share of things, i.e., usually buying toilet paper or communal groceries or lightbulbs or whatever? The A.C. issue is one thing but it's temporary—you've got another month or two of it to deal with. If there's an overall inequity that this highlights, however, you have bigger problems to contend with and you should ask her (nicely) to help you come up with a plan for splitting things in a way that feels more fairly divided. You can also explain you're on a budget—the bottom line talks, sometimes, when diplomacy doesn't.
If it's just the A.C. thing bugging you and you feel like otherwise she's pulling her weight, you should still talk, though if she pulls more than her weight, maybe you let it go entirely? But, look: Both of you have the right to live in the comfort of the air conditioning level you prefer, and it's not your roommate's fault that she works from home or maybe has a lower tolerance for heat. That said, she also may be playing the "ignorance is bliss" card a little bit, hoping you just won't address the issue, or she may not even be aware of how you feel. Either way, you should say something direct as opposed to letting it fester and then blowing up one night after too many vodka tonics. Figure out a good time to talk—not while you're hot and cranky or rushing to get out the door in the morning—and bring up the bill and say you were blown away by how much it was. Don't snipe at her for using the A.C. too much, but instead tell her what your financial situation is and say you think you should figure out a way to divide the bill according to use as opposed to just splitting it. It's kind of an honor system. She should ultimately either acknowledge that she does use hers more and offer to pay a bit more as is commensurate, or she should agree to minimize her use and therefore the bill. If she argues with this or tells you you're being selfish or rude or just wrong, you might want to think about whether it's time to get a place of your own.
I am notorious for this and I don't think I'm alone: I refuse to have sex on extremely hot, humid days without air conditioning. Yes I know people did it before without air conditioning but I don't want to. Is this unreasonable? —@LilEsBella
Nothing you decide to do with another willing and appropriate party with regard to sex is unreasonable; I'm pretty free-love that way. Said party should also respect your wishes (and you should return the favor) with regard to what you don't want to do. (Adam peeing on Hannah Horvath in the shower in that episode of Girls is an example of how to do this the wrong way.) If your desire for sex is killed by too much heat, well, that's your preference and that's just fine and dandy and should not be dubbed unreasonable by anyone, especially not by the person you'd otherwise be sleeping with. But I'd invest in a good air conditioner, obviously, and urge your preferred sex partner(s) to do the same. If you're using the A.C. as an excuse not to sleep with the person for other reasons, though, you should probably face the fact that that relationship has had its day in the sun and find someone with A.C.
Work Sweat and Date Sweat
What should you do about excessive sweating when you come into work? What's the protocol for sweating on a first date? —A Dainty Sweater
Head to the bathroom first thing upon your arrival to the office in the a.m., wash your hands, and check your sweat situation. You should be washing your hands anyway to eradicate any subway/commuting germs. Make it part of your routine. And you can freshen up a little if need be while you're there. A little splash of water to the face and wrists can do wonders, as can patting your face with some paper towels and if necessary re-applying your deodorant.
As for date sweat...This is sort of like the question of garlic, right? If you both eat it, it's cool? Unfortunately, you can't really change your sweat level. You can employ the bathroom trick, though, and/or keep a compact to check how sweaty you are and wipe away excess perspiration on the street before you head into wherever you're meeting your date, and also dress appropriately—light breathable fabrics, as they say. For the first date, I'd do that, because first impressions are kinda important. Six dates in may be another story. Also, never forget to wear deodorant when you're going on a date: Smell is a far worse offender (and really a hindrance to getting to know someone better) than sweat. And! When your date is sweating uncomfortably, don't announce the fact of his or her sweat to the world. He or she is fully aware, trust me. But you can ask a date if he or she would be comfortable elsewhere, or let 'em sit closer to the A.C. or fan. That's just gentlepersonly.
How to Wear a Sweater in the Summer Without Looking Like a Weirdo
"I always want to wear sweaters or some kind of overshirt thing in the summer — I think a sweater really complements an outfit — but I always feel a) silly and b) really hot. Is there anyway to get around this? —Fashionably Overheated
The shrug, remember the shrug? Finally, it appears, its true purpose is revealed! But really, no, don't do a shrug, or a bolero, or a capelet, unless you work at a theme park or are a professional bullfighter. I like a summer sweater too, mostly because it's often so cold in these offices we work in in the summers, it's nice to have the backup option of layers. Just choose the right fabric for your needs. Pick light and sheer and cotton and you've got sun protection and your "sweater look" without the heat of, say, some bulky wool thing that's just going to make you feel and look uncomfortable.
Image via Shutterstock by Kzenon.