MN Nice Advice: Battling Heat and Culture Bubbles

Thermostat woes and how to step outside of your cultural bubble

An illustration of a woman laying in bed without the covers and holding a fan as her husband sleeps soundly next to her.

illustration by darren gygi

Q: My husband cranks the thermostat until I’m sweating. Are we doomed to battle all winter?

A: Dude has to suit up. Bunny slippers, balaclava—whatever it takes. Using less energy is better for the environment, but also there’s something anemic about guys who wear shorts all winter, watching golf on TV in overheated man caves. This is Minnesota, not Myrtle Beach.


Q: Like most Minnesotans, I’m white, work in a mostly white office, and live in an overwhelmingly white neighborhood. The same is true for my friends. How can I spend more time outside my bubble?

A: You’re not alone: Three-fourths of white Americans have no friends of color, according to one analysis. To break out of my pale jail, I was advised by a diversity expert to invite myself to black and Hmong funerals, to see the way different communities mourn—a kind of cultural spectatorship that shows how desperate we are to encounter one another on meaningful terms (not that I followed the advice). Another expert suggests doing something that aligns with your interests. If you enjoy books, go to readings where you’re likely to meet people of color; if you’re a foodie, go to restaurants with diverse clientele. You get the idea. Also: You are allowed to move.