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Jour 189: How to stay cool in the summer like in the olden days




So, it got slightly warmer than usual today in Sunny Saskatoon (tm - that's actually like, our city motto or something). I'm currently enjoying some sweat-wicking fabric in combination with two oscillating fans and a chocolate fro-yo popsicle. In other words, I'm doing OK.


I am not kidding. This is "Sunny," the official mascot of Saskatoon.
Does any other city have a mascot? SUNNY!

But you guys, electricity is a new thing, comparatively speaking. And I know there's global warming and whatnot, but surely it got really hot in the Olden Days and somehow our ancestors did OK then, too, as evidenced by... humanity not going extinct after the first summer.

I did some research, and here are some tips for how ladies and gents in the Olden Days kept their cool, despite having to wear all of those clothes they always used to wear (like Miley Cyrus, I'm so glad I live in the time period where tanktops and cutoffs are commonplace).

Miley, your choice of workout attire both perplexes and amuses.
Carry on.

Old Timey Tricks To Not Overheat in the Summer

1. Get someone to fan you with a palm frond

2. Lots of windows and high ceilings

Architecture used to have taller ceilings, thicker walls, and less well insulated structures. This would keep it from getting quite so hot inside. But probably wasn't so great in the winter.


3. Siesta!

Remember in Gone with the Wind when the other ladies are all napping, but Scarlett sneaks out to (unsuccessfully) confess her luuurve to Ashley? Naps used to be a thing and, in fact, are still a thing in hot countries like China and Italy. Back in the day, people would just head into their yurts or whatevs and catch a nap during the hottest part of the day. It's just in recent times when we're all running around 24/7 like crazy workaholics despite the temperature.

4) Ancient Egypt-style DIY A/C

The Ancient Egyptians used to hang damp mats and place water-filled pots in areas with warm, dry breezes. This would make the breeze cool and moist. This is like the most frugal method of air conditioning ever - provided you have a breeze where you're hanging out.



5. Consider your attire

On the hottest of hot days, all I want to wear is as little clothing as legally possible. You think about the pioneer ladies and their petticoats and layers and layers and layers and how is it any of them survived at all? The answer: cotton. Most of the inner layers were made of cotton, which absorbs sweat - and then cools you off when a cool breeze happens by. Also? The more covered up you are, the less heat your body takes in so go with a muumuu, rather than a bikini. Madras, cotton and seersucker are all well-known for being good fabrics on hot days.


6) Hot tea and spicy food

Both of these cause you to sweat without raising your body temperature, which helps you cool off (unless it's crazy humid, in which case the sweat doesn't evaporate and you're just gross). It's no coincidence that the cuisine of Latin America, India and Thailand is spicy - those are some of the hottest places in the world!

Honestly, though? I can maybe buy the hot food thing, but I can't think of anything worse than drinking hot tea on a hot day. Maybe having a hot shower or going into a hot tub on a hot day would be worse. Ugggh I'm cringing thinking of any of those things right now.


8) Sit in the shade!
(don't be like Dick & Jane here, but rather mimic their sensible parents)
This is similar to the siesta advice in #3, and can be tricky to accomplish now that many people have lifestyles that don't let you sit around/nap in the middle of the day. But in hot countries, people still take it easy when it's crazy hot - sit in the shade, have a nap, drink lots of water, and don't move unless an emergency situation. If something needs to get done, wait until the middle of the night to do it.


9) Dig a hole and sit in it.
(sit, I said sit. Don't be gross)
This is similar to how my cat splays out on the floor when it's hot - the ground is always cooler, and the earth is usually way cooler than pavement or anything else. Dig yourself a hidey hole and nestle in until it cools off.


10) Cool off in (or near) water!
Like these fancy ladies and gents from 1905

This is an obvious one, but well worth remembering. A cool lake would be more refreshing than hanging out on a sunny beach under the bright sun, but even running through a sprinkler once or twice can do the trick. Or, if you don't have any water sources nearby, pour cool water on your wrists - this will cool off your blood (apparently) or bring a hot water bottle filled with icy water with you.

Or... you know. Hang out inside with a/c. Eat ice cream. Whatever you like. :)

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