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6 Ways to Beat the Heat Without Air Conditioning (Or Money)

#3. Looking Sloppy

The clothes that you wear can have a pretty dramatic effect on how warm you feel.

Wikimedia Commons
Also, for a brief period in the '90s, vice versa.

The essential tradeoff when dressing for heat control is between allowing air to circulate across your skin (i.e., less clothes) and protecting yourself directly from the sun's rays (i.e., more clothes). The most effective compromise apparently being long-sleeved but loose clothing, as seen on people who walk around in deserts regularly.

Wikimedia Commons
Strolling around in the sun in a T-shirt and cargo shorts is how I think these guys punish people.

How Well This Actually Works: Surprisingly Effective

After taking off the necktie that I wear to bed every night, I examined my wardrobe to see what loose, flowy garments I had.

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Which turned out to be an MC Hammer costume I wore for Halloween a few years back that I made out of four bedsheets.

Complementing that with a seersucker jacket I had from a Matlock costume, and looking like the world's sickest, fanciest hobo, I decided to brave the day's heat to go get some cold medicine. And believe it or not, the clothes seemed to work! While acknowledging the fact that I may have been experiencing a cold flash, I did feel quite a bit cooler as I made my way through town, and to judge by the catcalls I received, I may have even looked a bit cooler, too.

Siri Stafford/Photodisc/Getty Images
"Nope, that's a fever dream. Any time you feel socially accepted, that's probably your brain shutting down."

#2. Eating Sloppy

Some of the hottest climates in the world, like India, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean, are known for having some of the hottest foods in the world. And although that's more a function of where and how spicy plants grow (their spiciness is caused by proximity to the sun god Ra, as well as centripetal force from being on the equator), it also has some helpful side effects for the humans living there. Eating spicy foods makes you sweat (which is cooling) without greatly increasing your body temperature.

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Also, the "burning ring of fire" that comes later is purely in your head.

If spicy foods aren't feasible for you because of your soft, lambskin mouth, there's still other things you can do dietary-wise to keep yourself cool. Anything that keeps you hydrated, obviously, as well as cool meals that won't raise your body temperature, like salads and such. Also, eat less, and in smaller amounts throughout the day. Any type of eating will raise your body temperature via metabolism, so that entire ham you have for lunch every day is doing you no favors at all.

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Spread your entire ham across the day, like a normal person.

How Well This Actually Works: Not So Good

It seemed to me, with my possibly addled brain, that the ideal hot-weather food was something that was very cool to the touch, relatively hydrating, and incredibly, incredibly spicy. Which is how I ended up inventing a new drink by dumping a bottle of hot sauce into a Slurpee.

Alexsh via Wikimedia Commons
My original name, "Frank's Hot-Ass Slurpee," turned out to infringe on several trademarks, so I eventually settled on the "Fucking Mistake."

This was, as promised, thermodynamically cooling, so full marks there. It was also, as promised, chemically not. Beyond that, it was probably the single most unpleasant thing I've tasted since my last visit to a Turkish bath, and I can't in good conscience recommend it to anyone, especially anyone coming down with the worst cold in the world.

Alexsh via Wikimedia Commons
"That's the most snot I've ever seen come from one man's nose." -Helpful 7-Eleven Manager, who's presumably seen some shit in his day.

#1. Slopping Around

Finally, we get to perhaps the oldest method of fighting back Mother Nature's oppressive, suffocating heat: Taking shelter in her very own damp crevices, the oceans and lakes, and holy shit did I not intend for this to sound so disgusting.

Photos.com/Getty Images
Mother Nature, well-known owner of damp crevices. Deep ones, too.

Beaches and lakes and rivers provide nature's natural air conditioner, evaporative cooling writ large. But for those who find themselves without a beach or lake, whether because of geography, or pollution, or simply because they were all bought by rich people ...

Photos.com/Getty Images
"Ha!"

... there are still solutions. Obviously kiddie pools are a great way to turn $18 and a hose into an ankle-deep aquatic adventure. And most communities have some sort of public pool open to any and all. It might not help you sleep through the night (unless you can hold your breath a real long time), but a rec center pool can at least keep you cool during the day.

How Well This Actually Works: Fucking Elitist Jerks

If they even let you in, that is. Apparently, every pool in the city has consulted with experts who have advised them to prevent "gross dudes with snot flying out of every part of their face" from paddling around for awhile.

Siri Stafford/Photodisc/Getty Images
"The Hammer pants also made you look a little bit like a sexual predator."

On the plus side, it turns out that many municipalities have quite a few free resources available for dealing with disease-carrying sexual predators, and barely 15 minutes of screaming obscenities at pool employees had passed before some helpful men in blue came and took me away in an air-conditioned car.




Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and is never not sweating. Join him on Facebook or Twitter and marvel at how sticky everything there is.

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