If you ever think that writing articles around questions like “Why do so many men not seem to like hot drinks?” would be a piece of piss, think again. When doing call-outs for men to get in touch about this widespread phenomenon, all sorts of people crawl out of the woodwork. One reply, from @CumAsYouAreUK, tweets me that they “indeed hate hot drinks” and this is “one of the reasons people think I'm a sociopath”.
My personal guess would be that disliking a cuppa isn’t why they think @CumAsYouAreUK lacks human empathy, but rather because he thinks tweeting about hot drinks from a graphic adult sex parties account is reasonable behaviour.
Some answers were easily foiled:
Him: “Liquids shouldn’t be hot.”
Me: “What about baths?”
Him: “Ah, I forgot about baths.”
Others left me stumped:
“I don't like being given a time frame for when I can or can’t drink a drink,” one guy called Charlie tells me. “They're too hot when you get them, they're too cold if you leave them a bit and the time when they are good to drink is too small.”
As a person who deleted BeReal after a month because I hated being told what to do once a day, I fully empathise – but Charlie, I should add, also works as a barista. As a man surrounded by people enjoying the exact drinks he despises, does he ever feel left out?
“There’s a group of Greek guys who come and sit in the lane and drink freddo espressos and aesthetically that looks mint,” Charlie laments, but quickly backtracks that those that “can’t function without their morning coffee” are cringe – a statement that my mam’s extensive mug collection would have to disagree with.
Investment consultant Paul, 43, not only feels left out, but says that others specifically criticise his choice to not partake in teas and coffees. He tells me that he thinks other people definitely look down on him for not drinking hot beverages and he often gets told he is “not a real adult”.
Paddy – 35, motion designer – agrees with Paul, saying it’s especially awkward in family situations when he refuses a brew. “It always felt odd amongst my family, a group of people terminally addicted to tea. My Irish grandma was, and remains, drinking tea permanently.”
“People always found it baffling,” he adds. “[It] wasn't necessarily a ‘looking down at me’ thing – just a total incomprehension. Occasionally I'd say yes to my mum's offer just to feel like I wasn't offending her. I'd drink half the tea, half would go down the sink.”
Carly Webb, psychotherapist and the founder of Vitus Wellbeing, a personal therapy service, explains that hot drinks mean a lot more to people than simply an itch to scratch in the day to day monotony of life. “A cup of tea represents so much in our society – it isn’t a drink we consume in a rush but rather one we often take time to brew properly, offering tea to others in a group.”
“People open-up over a cup of tea; whether it’s because of the appreciation that’s felt when someone makes it for you, or because of its warmth and familiarity – but tea has become the beverage that accompanies heart-to-hearts and friendly reunions as well as the mundane every day.”
As Gemma Collins famously surmised once on Celebrity Big Brother, saying “Can I make you a tea?” is like saying “Can I give you a grand?” Webb doesn’t just limit the special space that cuppas occupy to the British public, either. “Coffee is also a sociable drink – we take a coffee break with colleagues or sit together in a café for our weekend caffeine fix and catch-up.”
Instead of choosing to be ostracised for their dislike of teas and coffees, she adds, maybe “those who refuse to try hot drinks are perhaps trying to push against the pressure to conform to societal norms or to bow to pressure to act and behave a certain way.”
In that sense, maybe the anti-hot drink lads aren’t that different to those who pretend they don’t know who the Kardashians are, would never admit to enjoying Love Island with the missus and religiously listen to Foo Fighters while saying pop music has no meaning. Many I spoke to admitted that, as much as they despise these beverages, they’d either never tried one or hadn’t partaken in them since they were children. As Will, 31, ribs: “The only hot drink I’d drink would be hot piss, if it was a choice between that and London tap water.”
That said, maybe it’s really not that deep. The anti-hot drink brigade might have just never developed a caffeine addiction like the rest of us, in which case the un-fairer sex might have a point. And making your “thing” hating warm beverages is almost certainly better than misogyny and craft beer.
Finally – and bear with me on this one – maybe the answer is that they just don’t like ‘em. If someone called me a childish weirdo for not liking a certain popular drink (I’m looking at you, Aperol Spritz brigade), I’d probably get super defensive, too.