The great thing about blogging is that sometimes it forces you to look at a subject in a bit more detail and in this case helps to clear up a niggling unexplained difference between men and women.
All my life I have had a sense of being patronised for being just that bit colder than my male partner. Mostly this manifests itself when on daily walks for which I might don three or four layers to a male equivalent of one. Or on coming down from a few hours at the computer and shivering in the kitchen as I eat a meal. The ever present riposte about “learned response” - one jibe - or the non verbal eye rolling at the sight of the cardy. The sense that it is wimpishness or a “weakness” [my word] or even for some the female equivalent of “man flu”. It is so irritating. So what is going on here??
|male/female responses to temperature cartoon|
Perhaps if I had read more magazines in my life I might have picked up that this is a classic relationship battleground. I would have read that science offers a simple physiological explanation and that there is a well researched set of differences between men and women that affect the way we regulate our body temperatures. More than one factor is involved here:
· It seems that women conserve more heat around their core organs, which means less heat circulates throughout the rest of their body.
· Women generally have a higher percentage of fatty tissue than men, and although fat tends to preserve heat well this is offset by the fact that women are also generally less muscular than men. Muscle creates body heat during exercise.
· The blood vessels in women appear to constrict as a result of temperature sooner, and to a higher degree than men.
· Women’s temperature regulation fluctuates enormously during the menstrual cycle.
· Women are generally smaller than men. With a smaller size but a consequential larger surface area, women lose heat more quickly than men.
So I hope in my household I have put to bed the learned response theory and we can carry on with our individually regulated electric blankets and mismatched walking gear without further comment. Yes? Thought not!!