Confessions of a Sweater

17 Jul

Waiting in line sucks. Walking two miles through NYC to get to your bus home and waiting in line outside – during a heat wave – with six bags on your shoulder and a dress that keeps being blown up in the wind is just a hilarious joke. Hardy har har. It’s especially funny when you are so sweaty that your arms and legs could serve as water slides for tiny little ants… Ants in inner tubes. I look to my left and see a perfectly dry woman reading a book in line; I look to my right and see my sister saying “wow, it’s pretty hot” as she puts her dry hair in a ponytail and fans herself like a dainty little flower. People are staring at me the way a parent stares at his/her child when he/she brings home some kind of disgusting “science experiment” that reeks of homemade Play-Doh and spit up and leaves a trail of macaroni shells throughout the house.

My name is Sophie and I am a sweater.

Wait, that’s confusing… I don’t mean that I’m that article of clothing that you get for the holidays, pretend to love, and then feed to your dog. I mean that I sweat. A lot. Like, torrents and torrents of liquid coming out of my pores. Cute, right?

Waiting for the bus in NYC was an excruciatingly hot experience. This entire week has been an excruciatingly hot experience. If you’re reading this blog post from the comfort of your modern, central air-abundant, swimming pool-available home, just know that I hate you and am imagining peeing in your pool.

If you, like me, are the type of AC-deprived person who sweats more than you breathe, I am your friend and I would never pee in your pool. In fact, if I had a pool, I would allow you to swim in it… but only if you were wearing a rubber diaper. Sorry, but I can’t take any chances.

Before I knew how to read, I knew how to sweat. It was always something I just kind of knew I was good at. Like line dancing, or bingo, or synchronized swimming. (Apparently, I’m also good at being a 90-year-old woman.) But being a good sweater isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Sure, I’ll never need to use hair gel to get that “slicked back” look to my hair; and I’ll always be able to throw on some workout clothes and pretend to have done something really healthy and athletic, when really I was just eating bonbons and watching reruns of The Amanda Show… But sweating also has its downsides.

Sweating is dangerous. What if one day I’m hanging off a cliff, over a pit of alligators, and I slip off and fall straight to my doom on account of my over-active pores? Or what if I’m walking down Rodeo Drive and everyone starts running down the street because Matt Damon is shopping with his adorable children, but I can’t see him and his adorable children because there is SWEAT stinging my eyes and blinding me?

*For the record, the alligator pit is the better of these two scenarios. *

Despite its potential pros and cons, sweating is usually just embarrassing. Like any talent, it can be hard to be so good at something while attempting to blend among mere, dry mortals. No one likes a show off.

There have been several times in my life when I’ve been ashamed of my public sweating. If you’ve ever felt this way, I think I can help. Let me tell you about a few instances where I had to cope with and embrace my natural sweatiness.

Lacrosse camp, summer 2004: Age 12

Yes, I went through a brief stint where I thought I was a jock. If only I played lacrosse as well as I sweat… The camp fell on the HOTTEST week of the year and we were all miserable. (Except for during lunchtime. Lunch is basically the reason I went to camp. There’s something so exciting about eating your lunch in a new place.) Naturally, the sweating commenced the minute I got out of the car and walked onto the field. There was one day where things got really bad… I was DRENCHED. And, of course, everyone else just had a “shiny glow.” Full of resentment and rage, I asked for a “bathroom break” and headed to a nearby building. Think, Sophie, think. Hoping to distract my fellow campers from the fact that I was melting, I returned to the field and made a big stink about how “the stupid sprinklers caught me and sprayed me and ugh I’m drenched and oh my God can you BELIEVE that??!” They’ll never realize it’s all sweat, I thought triumphantly. One thing to keep in mind about this approach: water dries. It’s just pure science. So, unless your camp’s sprinklers spray an air-resistant type of water, this excuse only works in the short-term. You cannot pretend to be wet from sprinkler exposure all day long and into the next day.

Babysitting, Summer 2007: Age 14

It was my freshman year of high school and I was babysitting for a family with young-ish kids. This family must have missed the whole “video gaming” phenomenon because these kids were really active and imaginative and always wanted me to run around and play games with them. “Why can’t we just watch SpongeBob?” was a question I asked on a regular basis. To which they responded, “That’s not fun!” (I’m sorry, but what part of watching Squidward explode from overdosing on Crabby Patties is not an absolute blast?)

One day, we were playing tag in the front yard and I was huffing and puffing and trying not to cry when one of the kids said, “wow, you sweat a LOT. Are you okay?”

My imagined reaction: “Oh, so that’s what this stuff is! I thought I had some kind of weird disease or my freckles were crying or something.  Thank you for that astute observation! I’ll be sure to be a little bit less DISGUSTING the next time you force me to run a marathon on your lawn.

My actual reaction: “I’m fine! Just feeling hot, I guess!”

I forced them to watch SpongeBob for the rest of the afternoon… When questioned about your sweatiness, don’t be afraid to get passive aggressive.

BU Freshman Orientation, Summer 2011: Age 18

Freshman orientation is an awkward time of sweat, anxiety, and course planning. Or maybe your experience was fun and exciting and I’m the only one who feels this way – that’s usually how it goes. But let me tell you, it’s hard to play icebreakers and enjoy a freshman barbeque when you feel like you’re the one being grilled. What do you do if you’re at an orientation BBQ and your back is drenched in sweat, but you don’t want anyone to notice you’re drenched because you’re still trying to seem really approachable and cool and interesting? You take the free, long-sleeved BU shirt you received at orientation, quickly change in the bathroom, and re-emerge drier, happier, and ready to play five more hours of ice breakers! Way to go, now you can sweat your way out of a SECOND shirt and leave yourself shit outta luck in the middle of a sunny, smoke-filled, unbearably hot summer orientation barbeque. You’re welcome.

Despite all of these experiences, I’m proud to call myself a sweater. If you are also a sweater, just remember: non-sweaters are inferior beings. You have a talent, and you shouldn’t be afraid to flaunt it.

So go ahead and sweat it out, my friends! All the cool kids are doing it!

Unless Matt Damon is near… then you should invest in one of those water-spraying fans and cool the heck down. You can’t afford to take any chances.

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One Response to “Confessions of a Sweater”

  1. thisthatandtheotherthang August 23, 2013 at 12:52 am #

    Ugh. If you are a sweater, then I am long underwear stuffed inside a sweater smooshed inside a parka that just got out of the dryer. I sweat more than anyone I know. And I know a good handful of people. I guess I am just too hot for my own good. 😉

    But seriously. I think I may have a problem.
    A stinky, sweaty, problem.

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