Rosie Green: My coldest ever hot date

I’m freezing my boyfriend out. I mean this literally, not metaphorically – we are in a cryotherapy chamber in a swanky spa and have just transitioned from the welcoming chamber (minus 60C) to the inner chamber (minus 110C).

We are sporting swimwear, fetching headbands, gloves, socks, slippers and mildly panicked expressions (OK, the last one is just me). The benefits of spending time in freezing temperatures are said to include increased circulation, mental clarity, muscle recovery and sleep quality. Oh, and it’s meant to tone and revitalise the skin.

Frankly, for this level of torture, I’d expect to emerge more glowy than Gwyneth Paltrow and sharper than Craig Revel Horwood’s tongue. Then we are locked in for three whole, toe-numbing minutes.

Is it romantic? Well, apparently challenges like this are bonding for a couple: they make joint memories and foster a sense of team.

And certainly if I’m going to be locked in a deep freezer with anyone, I’m glad it’s him. Mainly because of the next level enthusiasm he is displaying – the boyfriend is absolutely loving it.

He is convinced cryotherapy is going to erase his red wine hangover and ease the delayed onset muscle soreness he has developed courtesy of a hardcore gym session he did in anticipation of this ‘treatment’. I’ll just be grateful if I don’t lose any digits to frostbite.

Photo: David Venni. Styling Nicola Rose. Make-Up Caroline Barnes at Frank Agency. Hair Alex Szabo at Carol Hayes. Jacket: Wyse. Shoes: Jimmy Choo.

I watch his eyelashes frost up. Then my skin starts to tingle and my body feels weirdly numb. By minute two I am seriously considering pressing the escape button. He gives me a pep talk.

The whole experience gets me thinking about how cold is an issue in so many relationships.

Temperature incompatibility sounds minor, but it can be problematic. My ex-husband and I were opposite ends of the spectrum. He ran hotter than lava. He would be in a T-shirt on an aeroplane while I was swaddled in blankets and polonecks. He would open windows in mid-winter and start clawing at his collar and mouthing ‘so stuffy’ in the abode of anyone over 70. There were only two or three months when shorts were not worn.

The thermostat wars were constant. My ex was always turning it down surreptitiously. If I returned it to my preferred temperature, he would look askance and tell me to put another jumper on.

I would try to explain that feeling cold makes me properly miserable. That being shivery felt as bad to me as being ‘hangry’ did to him.

The cold is why I’m allergic to camping and I’m not fussed about going skiing.

My favourite feeling in the world is lying in the sun and feeling the warmth seep into my bones or climbing into a car heated by the sun. I’ll even enjoy opening a dishwasher (you’ve got to take the hits where you can).

And when tumble drying didn’t come with a load of eco guilt, a towel fresh from the dryer was ecstasy inducing.

One of the major plus points to having a boyfriend is access to all that body warmth.

And getting your bed preheated. (I obviously use delaying tactics to make sure he gets between the sheets first to warm them up.)

The boyfriend is accepting of my cold issues. He has invested in an electric blanket –a cleverly zoned one so I can have my side seriously hot. And his car even has heated seats.

His understanding bodes well for the future because I am going to be one of those old ladies in a coat and scarf on a boiling summer’s day.

Dealing with a cold phobic requires patience and saintly levels of empathy. He even allows me to warm my icy cold hands between his toasty thighs.

And that is what I call true love.


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