Tracy Lee Curtis

New report may thaw freezing women at work

I worked in the World Savings Building in Los Angeles – and I took a ski jacket to work. Do you really think anyone takes seriously a woman wearing a North Face Tahoe Down Hoodie over a sundress?
I worked in the World Savings Building in Los Angeles – and I took a ski jacket to work. Do you really think anyone takes seriously a woman wearing a North Face Tahoe Down Hoodie over a sundress? Staff Photographer

I’m watching MSNBC and Alex Wagner is doing a story on why our office buildings are so dang cold. A new report says optimum office temperature was formulated in the 1960s, and was based on the resting metabolic rate of a 154-pound, 40-year-old man.

Talk about office inequality. I’ve always thought the men were freezing out the women. Nothing melts a woman’s power faster than an arctic blast, leaving her quivering, shivering and dithering at her desk.

I worked in the World Savings Building in Los Angeles – and I took a ski jacket to work. Do you really think anyone takes seriously a woman wearing a North Face Tahoe Down Hoodie over a sundress? And why do I need to wear 700-fill goose down to type advertising copy when I work 4 miles from the beach?

Alex admits she has a blanket over her legs under the anchor desk and intentionally wore a dress made of scuba material. Hard to focus on her report about the Republican debate when I’m wondering how warm is a scuba dress, was it hard to put on, and does her boss make her get everybody coffee since she’s waterproof?

And productivity goes down. Do you know how hard it is to type an email in a thermal insulated lined glove? Spell-check thinks you’re typing in another language. And my gloves had fur at the cuffs that kept hitting the space bar. Every email I sent looked like secret coding for NASA.

And the men just take advantage of the situation. I remember one day we couldn’t decide where to go for lunch, so we cut a hole in the floor and ice fished out of the copy room. I caught a beautiful rainbow trout. And when my co-worker, Jim, walked by he asked if I wouldn’t mind pan-frying it. He didn’t even offer to gut it! Like I can do that myself – again, the gloves.

And then HR was all over us because they don’t want women dressing in a way that distracts the men. I can’t help it if my ski pants rustle when I walk, any more than Alex Wagner can help it if her dress squeaks when she sits. And I’m sorry if the sound of zipping is annoying, trust me, I would love to focus more on the writing and less on the layering. I would have been using my Snuggie, if it hadn’t gotten caught in the escalator.

But at least now we know. The temperature’s too low. Women are wearing goose down coats and scuba dresses to work. In August. So unless we want to permanently reduce women’s style options to walrus or seal, there’s just one thing to do. Call the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and have them reformulate the thermodynamic model.

Or open a window.

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