blog banner romeo juliet
blog banner romeo juliet

The SparkNotes Blog

Homework help made hilarious.

Auntie SparkNotes: My Boyfriend’s House Is Too Hot

Hi Auntie SparkNotes,

So summer is just around the corner, and I have something of a predicament. I have a bladder condition called interstitial cystitis (basically a chronic bladder infection with no bacterial culture). It’s pretty well controlled with the meds I’m on, but if there’s one thing that makes it flare up, it’s heat. Like, I don’t even mean extreme heat; an inescapable 75 F is enough to cause a flare-up. I live in the Southeast US, so it gets really hot in the summer. I survive summers solely on air conditioning. The problem is, my boyfriend’s family doesn’t really *do* air conditioning.

Either for money reasons or personal preference, his folks don’t really turn on the AC until it gets like, 90 degrees out, preferring to just open the windows and let the breeze in. I love him, and I love his folks, but it’s already getting to 78 degrees *inside* of his house, and I am melting. My bladder is flaring up nearly every time I’m over there for more than a few hours, and that puts me out of commission in terrible pain for the rest of the day. For comparison, my parents have kept our house between 68 and 70 degrees my whole life; I’m accustomed to life in a walk-in fridge, basically.

I don’t know what to do. I’ve broached the topic with him already and he’s sympathetic, but can’t really do anything about it, which means that I’m going to need to talk to his parents about it or something. How do I do this? I don’t know if it’s a money issue or not, but if it is, do I like… offer to pay part of the AC bill? Do I just need to avoid his house in the summer?

Well, that’s certainly one solution—and a simple one, if you’d prefer to take the path of least resistance (not to mention avoid discussing your urinary tract with more people than strictly necessary). But at the same time, there’s another solution that’s almost as simple, and I can’t for the life of me understand why it’s not an option.

Which is to say: your boyfriend can’t do anything about this? Really? He can’t, oh, approach his parents at an opportune moment and say, “Mom and Dad, my girlfriend has a painful medical condition that is exacerbated by heat, so can we turn on the AC when she’s coming over?”

Maybe I’m missing something, darling, but… I think he could do that. I really do. Not only that, I think he should, and I think you should ask him to. They’re his parents; running interference with them is, generally speaking, a thing he ought to be able to do on your behalf.

That said, if for some reason he refuses to talk to his folks for the sake of you being able to visit his house without your bladder erupting in flames, then…um, why are you dating him, again? But of course, you can bring it up yourself! Just be polite and gracious if you do, since you’re asking for a favor (and because apart from the potential expense involved, thermostat settings are just one of those things that people can be bizarrely rigid about). Your best bet is to position this as a weird, unfortunate bodily quirk for you (ex: “I basically need to be refrigerated for medical reasons”) without throwing shade on their personal (tropical) preferences vis-a-vis the temperature of their home.

Considering your good relationship with Boyfriend’s family, the odds are certainly in favor of them doing what they can to make you comfortable (unless they have a similarly compelling reason why they need to avoid running the AC). But if that doesn’t work out, then do your poor inflamed bladder a favor and keep your dates confined to comfortably climate-controlled places like movie theaters, grocery stores, and an iceberg in the middle of the Arctic sea.

Got something to say? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at
Want more info about how this column works? Check out the Auntie SparkNotes FAQ.