One of the most fundamental divides in humanity is clearly the one between “hot weather people” and “cold weather people”. As I sit, huddled under blankets with the heater going, gazing out at the howling winds and hail of this November day (as if summer wasn’t just a couple of weeks away, you know?), I can safely place myself in the hot weather-loving camp.
I know when I was growing up, my mum (definitely more of a cold weather lover) was always saying things like, “If it’s cold you can always throw more layers on, but when it’s hot there’s a limit to how much you can take off!” There may well be some who agree with this statement, but what I always found is that there’s absolutely a limit to how much you can put on in the winter. I absolutely hate waddling around on those nasty days in winter like a freaking penguin in about four different layers of undershirts, shirts, jumpers and coats. Not to mention that every time you step into a warm shop or train or something you immediately start soaking all your inner layers through with sweat (unless you want to start undressing in front of people and juggle your coat around with your bags?). Then there’s that every time you need to wash your hands, the 2–3 layers of simultaneous sleeves inevitably do not stay rolled up and you get wet sleeve ends feeling gross against your skin. And the fact that all these layers only insulate your top half anyway, and you need to very very carefully choose a pair of pants that won’t leave your lower legs feeling like icy poles, because almost nothing from any Australian brand will do it (the pants that were part of my high school uniform being the only exception in my experience).
Conversely, getting dressed in warm weather is suuuuper easy. It goes like this: wear any top you want, pair it with any pants you want. (Loose and light-fitting being better, admittedly.) Done. And you can wash your hands without cringing.
Now look, all adamance about my obvious correctness aside, I get that different individuals have different perceptions (some people feel the cold more than others, and I’m probably one of them), and also that environmental and structural factors play a big role. Like in Melbourne’s “dry heat” (people from northern Victoria would probably laugh at the idea that ours is a “dry heat”, but anyway…) 27 or 28° feels like perfectly fine walking weather so long as you’re not overdressed, while with high humidity I know that 30° in a city like Durban or Singapore can feel like hell. (Although I also think you acclimatise to it if you’re there all the time.)
The general lack of insulation in Australian houses also probably makes a difference, and the fact that generally keeping houses cool has always been a higher design priority than keeping them warm in the winter. (This, even though more Australians die from cold each year than in heatwaves.) I know in the flat I live in, it never even gets warm enough to need to turn a fan on until the temperature has reached 36°+ for a second day in a row, while its wintertime temperatures are consistently below 10° in every single room we’re not actively running a heater in. Naturally, this makes summer much more comfortable than winter for us inside (and our electricity bills go down to like a quarter of their winter heights, too). I’d also say I get SAD, in that winter every year feels like I’m shambling around in a torpor, until we reach those first sunny days of August and suddenly it’s like I’ve just woken up. I used to get this to a lesser extent before I lived here, I think, but this place’s poor resistance to winter weather definitely seems to make it worse.
So you know, I get why people in different climates, or with better-quality (insulated!) housing, might have a preference different from mine. But as far as Melbourne and Melbourne-quality housing goes, I’m sorry: hot weather is clearly better. And you’ve gotta know mine is the objectively correct opinion 😉